"The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli."
- George, in "The Marine Biologist"
Yesterday was my second trip into the Atlantic Ocean as a Penguin Plunger. Our school had a team of 13 teachers, administrators and various family members. We had a small party at one of our headmaster's houses and then took a bus to the beach. The bus ride was entertaining to say the least. Once we got within site of the beach, everyone was amazed. The waves were pretty big (I think someone mentioned body surfing) so there were several joking comments made (including the quote above from Seinfeld). Everyone was pretty pumped and ready to go. It is hard to tell if it is nervousness about losing a body part to frostbite (or shrinkage, LOL), the alcohol, or the party atmosphere that makes it so much fun. I don't drink alcohol but still manage to have a great time (Yes I voluntarily do this sober).
Anyway, we changed in the heated tent on the beach and then headed out to wait for them to send us in. It was about 45 degrees out with a chilly breeze. It had been raining earlier in the day so it was still slightly overcast and the air was wet. We stood out in our bathing suits waiting for about 10 minutes. We decided as a group to let the other people in our wave go first and then to conga down the beach to the water as a team. We broke up about 10 feet from the water and then waded in. I went out to my just above waist and chickened out of going under the water. (Last year I tripped and fell down in the water and then couldn't get my footing and had to be helped up by one of the rescue divers who was nice enough to walk me back to the beach. I won't go through the whole excuse that I usually use. This year I just kept remembering how it felt to totally lose your breath when you go under in water that cold.) They said the water temperature was 41 degrees. Several of my teammates dove into the water. Then within a few minutes we were out of the water and headed back to the tent. Everyone congratulated each other on another great plunge and talked about how it wasn't bad at all. Two years ago the wind chill was 20 below and it was snowing. It was actually warmer in the water. That was the year before I moved here.
It is a great time and the money goes to a great charity (Special Olympics). My "little" team of 13 raised $7,577. I managed to pester enough people that I was able to bypass my goal by $150 dollars and get the free bathrobe (HAHAHA). In total the event raised over $108,000.