The 2016 Marrowstone Island polar bear plunge drew 87 people. (Peninsula Daily News)

The 2016 Marrowstone Island polar bear plunge drew 87 people. (Peninsula Daily News)

Are you in or out? Polar bear dips set today across Peninsula

Today is the day, the moment of truth. Either you jump in or you don’t.

Polar bear dips are planned in four North Olympic Peninsula communities.

And the water will be cold.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Centers for Environmental Information, the water along the Peninsula between the West End and Port Townsend averages 44 to 45 degrees in January.

One year at the Lake Pleasant plunge, ice had to be broken on the lake before participants could take the plunge.

Those willing to brave the cold of the first day of the year have several choices.

Port Angeles

The Polar Bear Dip set for 10 a.m. Monday at Hollywood Beach will double as a fundraiser for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County.

The hospice group asks the community to “challenge” one another to raise funds, either via official challenge forms or informal agreements.

The challenger offers a dollar amount for a participant to take the dip, and pays off if the participant makes good. Or, the participant can offer up a donation to avoid taking part in the dip.

Donations are tax-deductible.

Challenge forms can be picked up at the Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County office at 540 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles, at or on the hospice Facebook site.

Volunteers will be on site at 9 a.m. prior to the event with complimentary warm beverages.

Swain’s General Store is offering T-shirts — proclaiming “I did it!” or “I didn’t do it!” — for $15, with proceeds going to fund hospice services.

Red Lion, an event co-sponsor, is offering a New Year’s Day brunch coupon with 10 percent of proceeds donated to Volunteer Hospice.

The Polar Bear Dip draws hundreds of participants each year. One founder, Dan Welden, has participated in each dip.

Call Welden at 360-477-2586 for more information.


Nordland General Store will once again sponsor its polar bear dip at about noon today.

Participants will jump off the dock across from the store at 7180 Flagler Road.

Participants are asked to sign a waiver at the dock before entering the water.

Lake Pleasant

Polar bear plungers will gather at the Lake Pleasant Community Beach, a county park on Lake Pleasant Park Road, about 10 miles north of Forks at 10 a.m. today, according to organizer Carin Hirsch.

They enter the lake from the beach shoreline and run out.

Sonja Hirsch is credited with starting the Lake Pleasant plunge on New Year’s Day about 10 years ago. Now Carin, her mother, runs things although she admits she no longer takes that cold dip in the lake.

The Lake Pleasant plunge brought out about a dozen stalwarts last year, she said.

Neah Bay

Annual organizer June Williams has set the time of this year’s Neah Bay Polar Bear Plunge for “high noon” today in front of the Seniors Building at 341 Bayview Ave.

Williams, who organized the dip in 2001 — saying that because she had health issues, she had nothing to lose — said this will be her last year as organizer.

“At age 70, I don’t need to prove anything anymore, especially to myself,” she said.

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