One of the many fun things about living in the South Padre Island area is the abundance of activities you find during the holidays. For the past 3 years I have wanted to go to the New Year's Day Polar Bear Dip...and never made it until this year! I know most people above the 26th North latitude line might not consider this a "real" Polar Bear Dip. My husband says if you aren't breaking ice to get into the water, it's not a real Polar Bear Dip....but he's from Indiana and has a different perspective. Since the teen is the only one of our family who actually got in the water....he strongly disagrees with his Dad!
There were a lot of people and I was waiting with the towel...we all three got separated by the crowd...and it took a long 3 or 4 shivery minutes after the teen exited the water, for him to find me with the minimal warmth of his cozy beach towel.
I'm glad we fueled up before the event with a big New Year's morning breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and some homemade apple-pear butter...because I believe we all burned off some calories that morning! The crowds were huge and parking slightly challenging...so we had a good hike to get to Boomerang Billy's, where the activities took place. We barely made it, they were announcing 5 minutes until the high noon hour dip when we hit the beach. Dad and the teen took off to join the dipping crowd (Dad was in charge of holding the hearing equipment while the teen made the mad dash) and I positioned myself surf-side to try to get photos. That's how we all got separated. Try to imagine finding people in the crowd below...and that's just a small portion of the folks involved. It looked like "thousands" were on the beach!
So, they did the count-down...played some of the theme from Jaws (the beginning sound effects) and moved into a compilation of rockin' tunes, including Elvis Presley's Jail House Rock. The teen loves Elvis...so having to be completely deaf while making the run was a bummer for him when he found out. His first words, after I told him, were "I wish they had water proof cochlear implants!" Me too, son, me too. He's fairly prosaic about his deafness and quickly moved on - especially when his Dad said "Really? I couldn't hear it either". He was in crowds of screaming, running Polar Bear Dippers! All he heard were the primal yells of people stampeding towards 66 degree pounding surf!
After the "dip" when we all re-connected with each other, I tried to get the boys to position themselves behind Sandy Feet's "Sand Man" but they just wanted to get the heck out of Dodge...so I snapped other happy people standing there instead...and we began slogging through the sand and crowds to head back to the condo.
Overall, it was a fun experience, despite being sand-blasted by the fierce winds, and being chilly on the beachfront. The walk back to the car was sunny, warm, and the wind was being blocked by the beachfront condos...or had died down some...because by the time we got back to the car, my hubby and I had worked up a sweat and were ready to turn on the a/c. The teen had brought a change of clothes and did a duck and change in the back seat...he said he'd never been so cold in his life. Really??? Not even snow tubing in Colorado last year...because I swear he told me then "I've never been so cold in my life". Not much life experience in being cold, I'm thinking!
Fun, fun, fun to be part of this. Live streaming cam coverage was provided by the intrepid Wilsons, once again, and here's their link to the youtube of the actual "dip". You can see me and the teen at about the 5:03 to 5:40 minute mark standing down-sand of the people passing by the camera (blue towel for him, blue shirt for me and white shorts...lots of flying hair - at the right edge of the frame and then "full frame" - but way behind the dippers...we were looking for the husband ;-p).
It's good to live in an area where flowers bloom all winter, the sun shines so warm on January 1st that you have to have the a/c running, and you can wear flipflops and shorts to the Polar Bear Dip! Living la vida isla... it's definitely a good thing :-)