A Resident’s Perspective – Polar Bear Plunge

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2015

Where did the holidays go? We are finding, here at Panorama, with all there is to do, time is just galloping along! We have enjoyed our second Christmas here and heading into the New Year.

This engendered a fun ritual that I have for ringing in the New Year. For sixteen years, I have celebrated with a hearty group of N. Californians, in our previous home along the Pacific coast, by jumping into the ocean on New Year’s Day. It was our version of The Polar Bear Plunge that is enjoyed around the world. I have a polar bear watch cap that marks the event.

It was delightful to find (last year and this year) that the City of Lacey holds its own Polar Bear Plunge in Long Lake! Last year was cold, this year was colder! The water temperature was 42 degrees and the air temperature was 38 degrees! Mind you, along the Pacific Ocean there is a moderating effect of the current so that ocean temperatures there were in the low 50s. I know, it sounds cold no matter…but trust me, Long Lake was very cold. And now I have two buttons from Lacey, Long Lake plunge pinned on my watch cap.

Two youngsters were chipping sheets of ice that had formed along the beach to get them out of the way of us waders. Yes, waders. No way would I jump into 42 Degree water and think I’d live through it! However, about 500 souls DID jump off the pier. The organizers kept the number at 200 at a time, leaping at 1 PM. The second 200 jumped at 1:10 PM and the third phalanx of 100 jumped at 1:20 PM so as not to break down the pier due to weight. I noticed the number was about 100 less than last year! Sad that the sun was so very bright across the lake, and we were beneath lovely old, big trees, which effectively kept us in the cold!

Polar Plunge (1)I managed to talk a friend from Panorama into joining me, though of course this isn’t a Panorama sponsored event. Our guys held the towels and warm clothes. Neither of them do cold nor wet!!!!!! And someone needed to document this event. The local radio station D.J. was spinning songs at a level louder than you could talk over. The EMTs and fire department were out monitoring all of the crazy folks. Fire pits were burning to help warm a radius of folks clustered around them. Cans were collected for the food bank and donations for lunch programs were accepted when you signed the waiver for being foolish. Hot chocolate and hot cider were also available for donations.

The costumes that folks wore certainly added to the frivolity.

Polar Plunge (2)And we all had a great time. There were as many watchers as plungers or waders. Yes, it was cold, but only 20 blocks from warmth of home here at Panorama.

We are still exploring the areas around our new home and loving the diversity of things you can get yourself into!! I recall a previous blog by Mike T., about rituals being things that you remember always. This one is a special one for me.

Sandy Bio

2 thoughts on “A Resident’s Perspective – Polar Bear Plunge

  1. i have to say in your heart you must be younger than 55! That’s my age and that’s to big of a challenge for me! You go girl!

  2. Sandy,

    I know you are a fun neighbor here at Panorama, but had NO IDEA you were into that much dedicated what you call fun.

    Loved your story. Good thing we don’t need to try to outdo each other here, especially on wild and wacky things like you do. Keep it up, girl!

    Mary Jo

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