We went to Alki around 10 am to check on two polar bear-themed events:

That’s Polar Bear Swim organizer Mark Ufkes, relaxing between countdown requests. As announced earlier this week, no all-at-once plunge this year but he encouraged people to come down in small groups. He said the early going – starting around 9 am – totaled around 100 people, some requesting a countdown, some not. Nobody while we were there but via Twitter, Bill Schrier caught a few:

Further west, by Alki Bathhouse, the (unrelated) West Seattle Polar Bear Challenge drop-off food drive was going well:

If you missed the dropoff, check the WSPBC map for a display with a food bin near you – today’s the official last day – or go here to see how to support the West Seattle Food Bank year-round.

25 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE NEW YEAR'S DAY: Seen at Alki"

  • Lisa January 1, 2021 (11:30 am)

    Wahoo!!! I did my Polar Dip at Lowman. I saw a few people come before and after. We appeared to be scattered around the peninsula this morning. :-) 

  • heartless January 1, 2021 (12:37 pm)

    And no coverage at all of the large group of conservative Pro-Trump demonstrators that showed up.

    Typical media bias!

    • WSB January 1, 2021 (1:01 pm)

      If demonstrators of any political persuasion showed up, they weren’t there when we were, sorry…

    • StopCuttingDownTrees January 1, 2021 (2:00 pm)

      Too bad I missed the Trump rally. Sounds like a great crowd. I had my own Polar Bear Plunge when I accidentally turned the cold water knob in the shower last night.

    • Guy January 1, 2021 (2:05 pm)

      Right, because pro-trump protesters never get any media coverage. What world are you living in, again?

    • LiouxLioux January 1, 2021 (4:44 pm)

      Sounds like you should bootstrap your own media channel!

    • HappyOnAlki January 1, 2021 (8:14 pm)

      Media bias at WSB?  Get a grip, Heartless.

      • WSB January 1, 2021 (8:45 pm)

        Minus any other reports/corroborations of a “demonstration” (generally we’d get multiple tips on something like that) and given Heartless’s comment history, I suspect s/he was/they were being facetious, perhaps in response to another commenter who earlier this week claimed they’d “heard” there would be some sort of protest.

        • heartless January 2, 2021 (10:10 am)

          Yes, sorry.  Lapse of judgment, forgot that on the internet no one can hear you sarcasm. 

  • payattention January 1, 2021 (2:09 pm)

    Was out walking at 7:30. Were quite a few people doing their polar plunge. 

  • payattention January 1, 2021 (2:11 pm)

    Heartless. Did see a bunch of ostriches

  • Pessoa January 1, 2021 (2:21 pm)

    I think there was an attempt at sarcasm here, and it went – swoosh! – right over everyone’s head.  Come on, I’m from optimistic Los Angeles where bitter sarcasm is likely to get you a befuddled stare, I’m supposed to be the one who can’t recognize it ;)   

    • heartless January 2, 2021 (10:11 am)

      Oh, great, YOU are the one who picked up on it?  Sigh. 

      • Pessoa January 2, 2021 (11:03 am)

         Yes, I’m adjusting to the PNW where nothing, and no one, is quite what they appear to be.  It’s sort of the “anti-WYSIWYG” city, to use a computer term. But the odd social ecosystem of the PNW is a subject for a legion of sociologists to untangle, not me.  

        • heartless January 2, 2021 (6:39 pm)

          It takes some getting used to, and I’m not sure I’m there just yet.  For a place that is so inhabited by outsiders (I’m from SF, Tracy (the WSB) is from San Diego, etc., etc.) it certainly has a unique, as you put it, social ecosystem.

          • Pessoa January 2, 2021 (10:22 pm)

            Interesting.  We almost moved from to Piedmont (cool neighborhood) in the Bay Area but it fell through and we landed here.  

  • Guy Olson January 1, 2021 (2:38 pm)

    Are they going to pick up all the stakes they put on the beach?

    • WSB January 1, 2021 (3:41 pm)

      Mark is a remarkably responsible person (has been a Scoutmaster, raised Eagle Scouts, among other things), so I would be shocked if not.

  • Mark L Ufkes January 1, 2021 (3:40 pm)

    We had about 300 folks between 8 and noon, all of them respectful and very nice, spread out all along Alki beach.  And from Lisa’s report, it sounds like folks also spread out all around the West Seattle peninsula as well; all of us intent on getting our New Years Day Polar Bear Swim done in a Covid-safe manner.    Yeah!    Everyone at Alki helped by wearing a mask, and so many shared  positive and encouraging comments.  We had lots of requests for countdown support.  And what a surprise, we had several groups of kids dragging their reluctant adults down to watch and film the kids as they did their first Polar Bear Swim.  Several of these family efforts were led by young girls who clearly, were focused on their goal, without any coaching from the adults.  It was so cute. For anyone who has been following the Polar Bear Announcement comments over the years knows,   I wear pink to express my view that we need more women and people of color in government and especially, in public office.   This morning, it was clear that these girls will be spectacular women someday, and I hope, will help take over Congress.  Just imagine if 50% of our U.S. Senators were women?   We’d be a fundamentally different, and much stronger country.   Also, as things got started today, a flock of about 40 rare Brandt geese landed just off the center of the beach, floated over to the lapping waves, and together, walked up onto the sand. They then looked around, scolded us a bit with their honking, and then casually walked back into the water and floated away.   It was hilarious and couldn’t have been scripted any better.  We also had a very nice young couple, with a beautiful shepherd-dog, who walked the entire length of the beach picking up trash.  We agreed that we never understood why people litter.   They filled a huge bag too.    If I knew how to add a heart emoji , I’d add it here for them. Our pandemic skies are clearing, just keep doing your part.  Be strong and be fit in 2021.  We’ll see everyone next year when we return to our 10:00 am sharp event.   For me, so many of you today reminded me again of why I love living in Seattle and White Center so  much. Have a great year everybody.  Mark Ufkes, (Optimist)    

    • Seabruce January 1, 2021 (11:44 pm)

      We could get a 50% female US Senate after the next election if states would legislate the election of one male and one female senator

  • Mark L Ufkes January 1, 2021 (3:44 pm)

    We’ll get the stakes later today.

  • JYB January 1, 2021 (4:24 pm)

    Mark, thank you for keeping this tradition going! And, making accommodations to keep people safe. We had a blast!We look forward to this every year and loved seeing people participating in spite of COVID. Thank you so much!

  • Ben Lattin January 1, 2021 (4:58 pm)

    Agreed, thank you so much Mark! Next year will be #10 for me!

  • Keri January 1, 2021 (9:41 pm)

    Mark, Thank you for arranging this.  We’ve been extremely cautious over the year but really didn’t want to miss the plunge, even if it meant a different beach elsewhere.  But, as I drove by around noon on my way to another spot, I was sooo impressed with the distancing and yes. yes. yes.  the huge numbers of kids and girls.  My family found a space very removed from others and dunked twice.  Everyone we saw was wearing a mask to and from and cheering each other on from afar.  A very positive event much needed in a time like this.   Your post highlighted the whole experience.  Thank you. 

Sorry, comment time is over.