In Friday’s Seattle Times there was a brief mention of the
Polar Bears‘ annual plunge into the chilly waters around Puget Sound. Since I’m a bachelor this week, I figured why the heck not and casually mentioned this to a coworker who offered to come take pictures of the nuttiness my wife would be missing.
Had I remembered last night, I wouldn’t have stayed up so late watching the the 11:00 – 12:00 and 12:00 – 1:00 episodes of the first season of 24. Naturally, I woke up late, then futzed around making my dad’s pasta sauce recipe. (I’ll post this later, when I complete dad’s meatball recipe to complement it.) About 11:30, I realized the PBP was going on at noon. Crikey!
Expecting all of the public restrooms would be closed (they were), I put my swimsuit on, grabbed a pile of dry cothes, and drove to Clarke Beach on Mercer Island. Although it’s geographically the closest official point mentioned, snaking down East Mercer Island Way would have been just as fast on a bicycle. I arrived at 12:04 to a moderately full parking lot where some other stragglers were walking in. I parked then ran down to the beach part. Most everyone had already done it and was toweling off. Since I came that far, I might as go all the way, so I took off my shirt and shoes and walked towards the water.
The first foot in wasn’t that bad. The second was. The uneven, rocky bottom may have been to my, uh, advantage as I concentrated more on staying upright. Next thing I knew, I had waded into thigh-deep water. So far, so good. The wind was picking up a little bit and, I’m convinced, pushed an extra big and cold wave up onto my nether regions. Fully committed, I jumped forward.
The water on my head felt great. Water on my torso… not so great. A reflexive shaking started up suddenly, almost alarming me. I made sure total submersion was achieved, then stood up to some applause. As I walked back, I realized my feet were numb. I toweled off, appreciating how much warmer it was outside now. There was only one answer to the older woman who asked how my swim was: great.
Hauoli Makahiki Hou Jim and to everyone here, from balmy Hawaii 🙂 Aloha, Michael
Way to go! I always have great admiration for the Polar Bear Club. 🙂
You know, flying more regularly will probably cure this affliction you seem to have developed!
What, and lose my natural insulation?
If you are truly serious, come down here to the Denied Territories and chop holes the ice for your dip. I suggest a romp in Cache county, affectionately known as Little Alaska. Mid-winter, it’s often the coldest spot in the lower 48 at -40 or better.
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