Sea Ranch New Years Day 2018 was kicked off by residents and guests alike charging into the chilly waters of the Pacific. The 19th Annual Sea Ranch Polar Bear Plunge was held once again at the south end of Shell Beach. But this year’s plunge was unique in two ways.
A Great Interim Leader of the Charge
First our traditional leader of the “popsicled” brigade into the Pacific, Sea Rancher John Nelson, was unavailable to lead the charge with the clanging of his cowbell. Thankfully he entrusted the starting bell to Sea Rancher, Bonnie Plakos. Through her great organization the event went off without a hitch.
Super Moon with King Tides
Secondly, the year’s first Super Moon occuring on New Year’s Day made this Sea Ranch New Years Day event even more unique. In fact, the first Super Moon of the year was the closest it would ever be in all of 2018. It also resulted in King Tides across the Pacific.
Tides are the movement of water across Earth’s surface caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon, Sun, and the rotation of Earth which cause the local rise and fall of sea levels. However, King Tides describe an especially high tide event, when there is alignment of the gravitational pull between sun and moon. When King Tides occur during cyclones, floods or storms, water levels can rise to higher levels and have the potential to cause great damage to property.
Boonie’s judicious eye on the tide tables determined this Sea Ranch New Years Day safest starting time would be at 2:00 p.m.
Polar Freeze Missed Sea Ranch New Years Day
That the Polar Bear Plunge occurred at The Sea Ranch was ideal. New Years Day was also one of the coldest days on record for much of the continental United States! Eight degrees. That was the predicted average low temperature for the lower 48 States on New Year’s Day. In fact, it was so bitterly cold it even froze the Niagara River in place!
A Balmy Sea Ranch New Years Day- Well Almost
Meanwhile, back in The Sea Ranch, the weather warmed up to a balmy 64 degrees. Compared to the east coast waters, checking in at a frigid 30 degrees or less, our corner of the Pacific came in at “toasty” 54 degrees. Actually it was so cold, some areas, including Chicago, had to cancel their plunge event.
With thanks to John Lovelass here are this year’s brave souls who took to the waters at Sea Ranch’s Shell Beach:
Cool Facts about Participating in a New Year’s Polar Bear Plunge
Are you up to doing something as wacky and wild as this next New Years Day at Sea Ranch? They say there actually are health benefits to freezing your tutu off by swimming in freezing water.
Get Your Doctor’s Ok First
Before you do first be sure you get the okay from your doctor. Jumping into frigid water in the winter can be a shock to your system—your heart, to be more precise.
Cold Water Boosts Your Immunity
TheNextChallenge.org states that cold water swimming can actually be beneficial to your health. After staying in frigid waters for more than an hour causes significant increases in white blood cell counts and several other factors relating to the immune system.
Of course most Polar Bear participants just charge forward into the water for a few seconds then run like hell right back out screaming for their warmed towel.
Forget the Pot – Get a Cold Water High Instead
Another notable event this first day of January 2018 was the legalization of recreational cannabis in California.
But who needs pot when you have frozen your private parts by jumping into freezing water without a wetsuit! Outdoor Swimming Society explains this can lead to what’s known as a “cold water high,” which the source describes as “the pure exhilaration and rush of endorphins that you get from getting in.”
You Meet the Nicest People
The Sea Ranch New Years Day event is a community social activity. By doing a Polar Bear Plunge you meet some great people…who are as crazy as you. Who knows that person you’re high-fiving may turn out to be the love of your life!
Often Polar Bear Plunges also support various charities, including the Special Olympics.
You’ll Want a Towel(s) -STAT!
Getting in the water will be a great shock to your system. But getting out of the ice bath will be even worse, especially if there is any breeze that will further chill you.
You’ll want to be sure you have available many dry and if possible warm towels as you step back onto dry land. Dry off quickly before the water freezes to your skin and you become a human popsicle. Drying off helps your body restore its core temperature. Bring a thick dressing gown, warm puffy coat, or some other snuggly clothes that are easy to slip into with shaking hands. Also don’t forget to cover your head with a cap or scarf.
It’s a Great Hangover Cure- Or Is It?
Odds are you toasted in the New Years with a glass or two or more the night before. Now you’re thinking you’d rather keep your fog brained self in your warm bed and take a couple of aspirin to relieve the thumping in your head.
However, according to some, the Polar Plunge is actually more effective way to survive the morning of the night before. Perhaps it’s the rush of adrenaline that comes when you first stick your foot into the frigid water. Studies suggest the physical activity is beneficial for the brain as it is for the body. Releasing endorphins has a positive feeling and cold water immersion is one way to achieve it.
Cold Water Will Boost Your Libido
Remember when I mentioned above that you might meet someone special at a Polar Bear Plunge? It turns out that you may actually feel more than a shared feeling of freezing to death. You might subconsciously (or consciously) be feeling more amorous after jumping into cold water reports Activebeat.co
Their source cites a study that found participants subjects to cold baths had more production of testosterone (men) and estrogen (women). This not only boosts drive, but also apparently increases fertility in both genders, adds the source.
Ready for Sea Ranch New Years Day Polar Bear Plunge?
If after all this you are ready to take the plunge next New Year’s Day then by all means give us a call! We’ll be happy to make your arrangements for a great vacation experience.
But don’t feel compelled to have to freeze for fun. You could also be a member of cheering squad or available to hand out a warmed towel to the Sea Ranch New Years Day bather.
Then when you return home to Abalone Bay you and/or your swimming partner can warm up under our rain shower in the Roman tub.
Or better yet, relive the experience as you thaw out in our hot tub.