Tom Rose and Jerry Goetz stand on the dock set up for the Polar Bear Dip in Nordland where over 100 people are expected to welcome the new year. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Tom Rose and Jerry Goetz stand on the dock set up for the Polar Bear Dip in Nordland where over 100 people are expected to welcome the new year. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

More than 100 expected cold plunge in Nordland

NORDLAND — More than 100 people are expected to welcome in the New Year with a chilly dip off the dock in Nordland for the annual Polar Bear Dip on Sunday.

A tradition started by Nordland General Store owner Tom Rose in 1995, the annual New Year’s Day event has seen up to 200 people willing to take the plunge.

The event kicks off just before noon at the dock across from the Nordland General Store at 7180 Flagler Road on Marrowstone Island. All are welcome.

Rose said he got the idea after seeing his cousins pictured on the front page of The Seattle Times while participating in the 1994 Polar Bear Plunge in Seattle.

He figured it would be a fun tradition and, with a dock right in front of the store he’d just purchased, easy to coordinate.

The first year, 1995, Rose said 36 people jumped from the dock.

The event grew quickly from there.

“I think for the millennium we had something like 200 people,” said Jerry Goetz, a friend of Rose and annual event participant.

Rose said the turnout does tend to depend on the weather but, regardless, people always show up.

“We jump around noon-ish,” Rose said. “We’re on island time out here, but no one will be here and then all of a sudden, a quarter till, everyone will be here.”

Goetz said people often dress in costume for the event and those who jump are occasionally awarded with a beer afterward.

“Last year, we had a keg brought it by boat,” Rose said. “We’ll see if that’ll be the case this year.”

Rose said it’s best to talk people into doing the jump on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s pretty easy then,” said Rose, “and all you have to do is jump in and jump out — though some people jump in and swim to shore, others swim around and I’m not sure why.”

Rose said the dock was scraped clean of muscles and barnacles Thursday to ensure no one is cut while climbing back on to the dock.

“I can’t say the same for trying to get up the ladder,” Rose said.

“People get pretty mean on the ladders.

“That’s why I always jump in last so I have a clear path out of the water.”

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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