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ODP Immersion Day 2017

19 March 2017
Hannah R, Mackenzie ’18; Photo by Joe Krysl, Whittall '16
In anticipation of the warm waters of Spring Break destinations, the third term ODP group practiced swimming on the last day of sport before the holiday. Snow drifted gently down as a bus full of apprehensive students and neoprene wetsuits made its way to Skutz Falls: the location on the local Cowichan River where the ODP white water paddling group will launch for its weekly river runs next term. Why were we swimming in the snow? Immersion Day, ODP’s annual river safety training module, is a day some students look forward to with much excitement and others dread. It involves taking the plunge (as many as three times) into the river, usually in March and often in inclement weather. Wearing wetsuits, PFDs, and white water helmets, students float a short distance downstream until they are ‘rescued’ by group members who stand on the bank, ready with throw ropes. In the event that the ropes do not reach the swimmer and he or she is unable to self-rescue by swimming to shore, our assistant paddling instructor and members of ODP who are experienced in white water paddling wait downstream, in kayaks. But we don’t just sit around twiddling our increasingly numb thumbs and waiting for students to drift past: Immersion Day is an excellent opportunity for those students who have paddled on the river before to recall and practice skills, have some fun, and get excited for the white water season! After one obligatory jump is complete, of course. Chilled and soaked, but exhilarated, the students bussed back to school to hang up wetsuits and take hot showers. Despite occasional grumblings about the crazy things we do in ODP, the supportive, close-knit, and constantly entertaining group of students and fantastic leaders must make up for it: many never seem to want to leave… Click here to watch a short video about this year’s Immersion Day, assembled by Mr. Norman. Hannah R, Mackenzie ’18 

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