The air was 38 degrees, the water was 46 degrees, and the politics were intermittent at this year’s Alki Beach Polar Bear Plunge.
This was just the west end of the swim. Stretched for blocks! pic.twitter.com/uBY89zwpzD
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 1, 2018
We mention politics because in case you missed the original announcement, which almost made it onto the WSB Most-Commented-On Stories of 2017 list, longtime organizer Mark Ufkes included a statement that he planned to wear pink into the water in support of, among other things, electing women.
In the ensuing triple-digit comment thread, Mark also made the point that the swim was of course open to all, as always, whatever your politics. But at this morning’s swim, no speeches – just the traditional countdown, followed by a quick en-masse, shrieking run into the water and, for most, a quick run out. Swimmers wore a variety of outfits, from pink, to red-white-and-blue, to sports-fan gear, and more – here’s a sample:
Side note – Organizer Mark also brought corkscrews, free to anybody who wanted one – he explained that he had bid on a batch of unclaimed corkscrews confiscated by the TSA – he thought he was getting 100 but instead received 1,000. (He also bid on Swiss Army-type knives that he obtained and gave to Boy Scouts – he’s a longtime Scoutmaster and parent of Eagle Scouts.) Here’s his pre-swim photo of the corkscrews:
Other sightings at the Polar Bear Swim – offshore spectators:
And just as we got ready to publish this report – two photos from Bob Spears (the second, showing someone who really did plunge rather than run):
(Added) From Bailey – The spirit of Christmas (and more) lingered into New Year’s for this trio:
(Added) Turns out that Alki open-water swimmer Andrew Malinak was in the boat shown a few photos up. We thought we heard sea-lion barking when we arrived at the beach, and one of his photos caught two of the five sea lions he reports counting:
Here are two of his photos from just before, and during, the plunge:
ADDED TUESDAY: From Erik Bell:
Any favorite photos/video to share? email@example.com – thanks!