boite à outils

The last dip of the year: a chilly outing that’ll send shivers down your spine!

A revitalising little dip in the sea at the end of December: sound tempting?

In Carantec, this is a festive tradition that takes place every year between Christmas and the New Year, with much laughter all round!

Let’s take a look back at what happened in 2012....

They’ve done it! A hundred or more courageous people threw themselves into the icy-cold water of Kelenn Beach in Carantec, for the last swim of the year.

A bit daft - or terribly daring?

’’ Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the 28th of December 2012 and we’re heading towards Carantec, a seaside town famous for its beautiful turquoise waters. We’re just a few metres from Tahiti beach where the outside temperature is at a magnificent 13° and the water temperature is at 10°. We wish you an invigorating and bracing swim!’’

baignade d'hiver à Carantec, Finistère, Bretagne

For the third year running, this rather chilly ritual managed to strike a chord with a courageous crowd. Three restaurateurs on Kelenn Beach formed an association (Rest’O Kélenn) that started up this unusual event - and an impressive 120 brave bathers headed into the sea for the last dip of the year. It’s certainly a fine way to bring in the New Year - with a good shiver of anticipation!

Last December, then, everyone gathered at 3pm, the sun present but hidden by cloud, as a 500-strong crowd of curious onlookers stood smiling on the sand. Was it the beauty of the winter sea that had drawn them here? The stunning seascapes, the tempting scent of hot wine? Certainly, these things helped, but the crowd was really there to witness the valiant souls who dared to take a swim in the sea on such a day - all in an atmosphere of delight and amusement!

baignade d'hiver à Carantec, Finistère, Bretagne

This is a time when anything goes as far as the outfits are concerned. The more hardened swimmers braved it out in their summer bathing suits while the more timid were covered top-to-toe in neoprene wetsuits. And what can be said of the penguin outfits, exotic Polynesian dresses and Father Christmas costumes...?

1, 2, 3… and they’re off! Some dive right in, others are more tentative, but they all soon find their rhythm, spurred on by shouts of encouragement coming from the onlookers safe on shore.

And of course, the heros should have a heroic welcome! The swimmers are offered a hot wine from the Kelenn restaurants so they can warm up after their exertion, while others grab the souvenir posters for posterity - these posters have become collectible mementos of this unusual event. Better still, all the profits from the sales of posters go toward the local lifeboat funds!

So - are you tempted, having read all about last year’s escapade? If you’d like to have a go (or perhaps just watch) head to Kelenn Beach in Carantec on the 27th of December 2013 at 3pm - and wrap up warm!