West Seattle, Washington
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!
10:25 AM: Thanks to Alisa and Kersti for the tip – if you look westward across the Sound, you might see orcas. Orca Network had a report of northbound whales headed toward Blake Island, along the west side of Vashon, as of an hour ago. We are at Constellation Park but without binocs. Let us know if you see orcas!
11:15 AM: Update – they were most recently seen passing Restoration Point on Bainbridge Island [map], which means they might be in view looking north from the west end of Alki.
(Yellow-rumped Warbler, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Happy 2018! Here’s information you might find helpful on this New Year’s Day:
NEW YEAR’S DAY COFFEE: We don’t usually have a list on this final holiday but if you’re looking for a guaranteed-to-be-open coffee shop, official WSB coffee sponsor C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW) will be open 8 am-1 pm.
NEW YEAR’S DAY WALKS: Emerald City Wanderers is hosting 5- and 10-kilometer walks today, sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association, different routes from last night, non-competitive and no fee, again with “hot soup and snacks to chase away the chills.” Start any time between 9 am and noon from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. (3050 California SW)
NEW YEAR’S DAY ALKI POLAR BEAR PLUNGE: 10 am sharp on the beach across from Duke’s, as announced in mid-December. (57th SW/Alki SW)
NEW YEAR’S DAY NIA CLASS: From the new Move2Center Studio:
A group of Nia teachers from what was formerly known as The Center for Movement & Healing are hosting a New Year’s Day class in our new space, Move2Center Studio, located at 3618 SW Alaska St in the lower level of the West Seattle Veterans building. That’s the red building with the cannon out front on Alaska Street. The entrance to the studio is on 37th Ave. SW. Our celebration begins at 10 am and offers a terrific way to dance in the New Year with plenty of positive energy.
Drop-in fee $10 plus tax.
RESTAURANTS THAT TOLD US THEY WOULD BE OPEN TODAY: Here’s our list – with the annual caveat that some establishments may have changed their plan since we did the research, so if you notice a discrepancy, please let us know – thank you!
TRANSIT/TRANSPORTATION: Sunday schedule for Metro … Water Taxi is not in service … Sound Transit Route 560 is also not in service … Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run is on a regular weekday schedule … Street parking is free in neighborhoods where the city has pay stations/
TRASH/RECYCLING: No pickup today, and everyone’s schedule slides a day again this week, like last week.
SEATTLE PARKS FACILITIES: Here’s the what’s-closed-what’s-open list.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND OTHER INFO FOR TODAY/TONIGHT … find it in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.
1:01 AM: Welcome, 2018! And big thanks to David Hutchinson for the first photo of the Space Needle fireworks as seen from West Seattle – Alki, to be specific.
7:42 AM: And thanks to Robert Spears for sharing two views in the WSB Flickr group.