PEI

'Really invigorating': P.E.I. man swims until river ices over

When most people are hanging up their beach towels, David Daughton is going for a near-daily dip in a nearby river - even though the water is ice cold.

'Some people seem to think that it's a crazy thing to do,' says Mermaid resident of his near-daily dips

David Daughton lives in the community of Mermaid, on the Hillsborough River, where he swims until the water freezes over. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

When most people are hanging up their beach towels, David Daughton is still going for near-daily dips in a nearby river — even though the water is ice cold.

Daughton, who also goes by his nickname Lobie, lives in Mermaid, P.E.I., and swims in the Hillsborough River in front of his property. 

I find that if I don't get in the river, my health seems to suffer.—  David Daughton

"I swim most days," he told CBC on Thanksgiving Monday as he prepared to get in the water.

"I'm swimming now because it's a nice refreshing time to go for a swim and because the tide is high."

Daughton said he likes to swim anywhere and prefers to take two dips a day. 

"It's just a great way to perk up my day."

'Really invigorating'

Ice forms in the water in January and doesn't leave until March, but Daughton will swim until the ice is too thick and close to shore for him to get in. 

Daughton prepares to go for a refreshing dip in the Hillsborough River. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"I used to go in occasionally through holes in the ice but I don't do that anymore because you get cut on the ice," he said. 

The earliest he's been in the water is Feb. 29, in a leap year.

Those first swims of the year are "really invigorating," he said with a chuckle. 

"I just get immersed and come out and enjoy the fact that the outdoor air feels warmer than it did a few minutes ago," he said. 

'Washing the cares away'

Daughton believes the practice, along with a regime of healthy eating, helps him stave off colds and flu.

'I used to go in occasionally through holes in the ice but I don't do that anymore,' said Daughton. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"I find that if I don't get in the river, my health seems to suffer," he said. 

His wife sometimes joins him, Daughton said, but "when it's really cold, it's just me." 

What do the neighbours think? 

"Some people seem to think that it's a crazy thing to do and other people appreciate that it might be enjoyable and refreshing," he said. 

He enjoys the weightlessness of swimming and the feeling that he's "washing the cares away," he said. 

'It's just a great way to perk up my day,' said Daughton, towelling off on shore. (Tom Steepe/CBC)