Sunday we hit the boards in Rehoboth for the Lewes Polar Plunge. Last year I arrived very early and watched the festivities come alive, from setting up, to hitting the surf. This year we were delayed by a number of things, and the Black Pearl was not able to make the trip. That changed the day up fast, and I apologize to all who missed out on that ride. We still managed to raise a decent amount of money for DSF team captain Devin Stark to plunge. We said if we hit $1,000 the adults would go in as well. Madell Stark and Kristen Kemper went in anyway, I was holding the gear (I still had my cold, not a good idea to plunge). I had Devin wear the Go Pro Hero 2 for his plunge, and we filmed a little footage of the crowd. Everyone was bundled up to the max, and it was definitely cold … air was 30 water was 38. Brrrrrrrr and it snowed the night before, perfect plunging weather. Last year I spent most of my day taking pictures and meeting people, this year was a bit different.
When Alan and I arrived the boards were packed shoulder to shoulder near the announcer’s stand. Which is usually the case, but this year the boards were packed on each end, and the establishments were stuffed. Madell and her kids hit a restaurant to keep warm and eat. Later they will figure out that was a bad idea, stay outside, get used to the cold. The beach already had people gathering, and claiming their spots with flags and banners. Then a Coast Guard boat showed up, then the State police boats. They didn’t have a helicopter this year, so no bear in the air. I saw and recognized a lot of people whom were plunging, and shot a few pictures. People kept stopping and asking … “Hey aren’t you the guy from last year with that cool fishing site?” … “Yup” … I ran into many people I met last year, but just did not have the time to talk to everyone, things were moving fast. Now we had more boats out front, and divers were getting ready to head down to the surf. We had to go find our spots, and the rest of the crew. We spent most of the time looking for people we were supposed to meet. Sorry gang we all got a tad separated from the bus mix up (my fault). We finally ran into Kristen and headed to the beach. Madell, Lexie, and DSF plunge team captain Devin Stark popped up as well, and just in time.
We found a nice spot out of the way as much as possible, to give everyone some running space.. Last year the fringes were not as crowded, and it was easy to maneuver in the crowd. When I hit the surf to take pictures, and the tide was just at the slack of the incoming, I could not believe what I saw. There were people from the surf to the dunes thick, all the way down the beach, it looked like twice as many people as last year. Well at 3500 people it was very close to that. I have seen some crowded beaches during the most popular holidays. This topped those numbers. The beach looked like a sea of half naked blue people wearing ski jackets. Devin was all wrapped up, but ready to go. I had the Go Pro Hero 2 all set up, and it was almost time. Everyone rushed in at one time, slowly, and not chaotic. You can always tell when someone first hits the water, that is when the hysterical shrill OMG it is cold screaming starts. That is definitely entertaining to experience, in and of itself. After everyone ran back to the towels and blankets. Devin decided he wanted to jump in again, so off he went. I have to hand it to the kid, he is good people, and an example many should follow. We had a great time on Sunday, though rushed as we felt, it was still good times. This year’s totals for the plunge .. from Jon Buzby … “3,500 people participated in the 2013 Lewes Polar Bear Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Delaware. The event, which is sponsored by Wawa and Comcast and was held Feb. 3 at Rehoboth Beach, raised $652,000. In 22 years, more than $6.8 million has been raised. ” … DSF will be much more organized for next year, this winter has not been easy. Thank you everyone who donated and came out to help. Like we always say in fishing, we will get them next time.