Photos by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group

Photos by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group

A cold opening

On a surprisingly sunny New Year’s Day, South Enders waded into the waiting waters of Double Bluff Beach at noon. Some quickly waded back out of the frigid water. The Polar Bear Dive, a yearly tradition, saw a turnout of 167 officially registered participants. About two times as many people were there as support crew members or as spectators enjoying the adventure from the shore. Young and old alike took the plunge into the icy waters. While most of those participating preferred a quick dip, others lingered in the water longer to enjoy the temperate day. “The Macarena,” “YMCA” and other dance songs could be heard blasting from the shore, as volunteers handed out hot chocolate, coffee, apple cider and bagels to the dripping masses on their way home. A dog with a plastic shark fin was one of several dogs that ran around the beach, happily greeting participants.

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