Vic West resident Caleb Kennedy (centre), his son Cairo, and daughter Autumn by the Gorge Waterway near Banfield Park. Kennedy has been swimming in the Gorge for the past 395 days. Kendra Wong/Victoria News

Vic West resident finds Gorge Waterway a calming influence

Sunday’s Gorge Swim Fest will mark 400 straight swim days for Caleb Kennedy

Standing on a dock at the edge of Banfield Park, it’s easy to see why Caleb Kennedy enjoys swimming in the Gorge Waterway.

On this Tuesday afternoon he and his children Cairo, 15, and Autumn, 18, and some half a dozen others are gathered at water’s edge. The sun beats down on them and the smell of salt water is calming.

It’s a feeling Kennedy has become used to having swam in the Gorge for the past 395 straight days.

“When I go swimming I feel great. If you’ve had a stressed-out day, you’re grumpy, you go for a swim and it feels a little better,” said the Vic West resident. He’s raising awareness of the waterway as a clean place to swim as part of this Sunday’s (July 30) sixth annual Gorge Swim Fest.

“I love that you can swim out there and look out and there’s trees on the Gorge; harbour ferries pass by and wave at you. It feels like I could be in Mexico or Costa Rica, but here I am in my hometown.”

Having grown up next to a river, Kennedy developed a passion for swimming. It but it wasn’t last summer when he decided to do something he hadn’t done since childhood: go for a swim every single day. He walked down to the dock every afternoon and dove in, often paddling out to the middle of the Gorge.

As the weather grew cooler, Cairo bet his dad he couldn’t go for a swim every day until New Years – a bet Kennedy gladly accepted. Living so close to the Gorge, there was no excuse not to go for a swim every day.

“I felt great so I thought, ‘why not keep going?’” he said, adding he often sees seals and heron on his swims. “I thought why not go a year, and now a year has passed and I’m not going to stop now. It’s become routine for us (his family).”

Kennedy is one of many advocates bringing attention to the Gorge Waterway and the importance of protecting the ecosystem as part of the Swim Fest.

The event is open to anyone and includes live music, food trucks, historical presentations and crafts for kids.

“It’s the cleanest water, it’s the warmest water and it’s the closest water for most people. We want people to come down and see what a jewel it is and help protect it,” said Gorge Swim Fest Society president Jack Meredith, who has swam here for the past decade.

To give swimmers up-to-date conditions, thermometers have been installed to monitor water temperatures at Banfield Park, the St. Michaels University School Rowing Centre and the Gorge Nature House in Esquimalt. The numbers are posted hourly at gorgeswimfest.ca.

The Gorge Swim Fest takes place at Banfield Park from noon to 4 p.m. Check the website for more information.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Chef struck by car on Gorge Road dies in hospital

Khushal Singh Rana leaves behind a wife, four-year-old son and unborn twins

Young conductor to premiere new composition at Celebrate Canada concert Monday in Victoria

“Spirit of the True North” the latest musical accomplishment for View Royal’s Jared Richardson

Saanich Peninsula businesses recognized during annual Crystal Awards

Chamber of Commerce hosts 11th annual business excellence awards

Former Peninsula News Review carrier crowned Miss Teen Canada Globe

Anna Serogyna, a Grade 11 student at Stelly’s Secondary, did not intend… Continue reading

Rebels season over after loss in Cullen Cup Final

Westshore had won ten straight games prior to championship game

Sooke fudge company on Dragon’s Den Nov. 2

Fudge in A Round appearance on Dragon’s Den celebrated with a viewing party at the local Legion Nov. 2

String of collisions in James Bay, downtown Victoria, linked to suspected impaired driver

City man faces up to four MVA charges after vehicles hit, pedestrians almost hit

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Council to hold public hearing on EDPA report Oct. 28

Saanich residents will finally get a chance to comment on a long-awaited… Continue reading

Book recycling program helps Peninsula families

It has been 12 years since Daphne Macnaughton was principal of Saanichton… Continue reading

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

Pumpkins’ versatility goes beyond Halloween

Linda Geggie For the Saanich News Get this. My 13-year-old just came… Continue reading

Most Read