Adventure seekers interested in swimming the 14 km stretch of ocean between New Brunswick and PEI are encouraged to attend an information session in Halifax next week.
The third annual Big Swim happens this summer, and the event is expected to attract so many that organizers will likely have to limit the number of participants.
The Big Swim is a fundraiser for Brigadoon Village and Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Last year, nine participants raised more than $50,000.
This year, organizers expect about 30 swimmers to brave the waters of the Northumberland Strait along the path of the Confederation Bridge to raise even more money.
"At the end of last year's swim we had an abundance of interest," said The Big Swim's project manager Heather McGrath. "We had to cap the number of swimmers and set a minimum fundraising amount and a registration fee this year."
With 30 swimmers expected, McGrath said the registration fee will likely cover the accommodation expenses for the 30 swimmers, the 30 volunteer paddlers accompanying them, and the five people driving across the Confederation Bridge supporting the cause.
Every other penny raised will go to Brigadoon or CF, depending on which of the two causes swimmers chooses to support.
The first Big Swim in 2011 involved three swimmers, Todd McDonald, Chris Dobbin and Peter McCormack. McDonald is one of the founders of the GIVETOLIVE organization that raises funds primarily for children's cancer-related groups.
That organization is supporting The Big Swim.
"He (McDonald) came up with the idea to swim from New Brunswick to PEI, and Chris's four year old suddenly passed away. Chris and Todd connected through business," McGrath said.
"Chris had never swum in his life. He said he was going to learn to do it and he did it in honour of Jack... He started swimming in 2010, got a trainer, and learned how to swim."
While most participants have a very personal reason for swimming, some are up for the challenge and eager to help raise money for a good cause while doing it. Depending on tides and water patterns, it has taken past participants between four and seven hours to complete the watery journey.
"The night before we have a safety meeting and at that point people get up and share their personal motivations as to why they're doing it. Most if not all are connected through Brigadoon or Cystic Fibrosis and are swimming for somebody," McGrath said.
"Last year, Todd said to remember when you are exhausted and half way out there and you're swallowing salt water and thinking ‘I can't do this,' just remember all the kids that count on you.' It was very emotional."
The Big Swim information session takes place Feb. 6 at the Garrison Brewery at 7 p.m. Please email McGrath your intention to attend at email@example.com and join their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SwimForKids .