By CRAIG ALANIZ
The dip in temperature at the start of the New Year did not stop hundreds of Island visitors from taking a dip into the gulf.
The 15th Annual Polar Bear Dip continued its New Year’s Day tradition at a new location in 2013 as Clayton’s Beach Bar hosted hundreds of visitors for the event.
Polar Bear Dips are internationally renowned. They are held during cold weather where the water produces chilling effects. The local Polar Bear dip began in 1998 and has about 300 members.
Gwen and Jar Johnson, visitors from a suburb of Chicago said the Polar Bear Dip has become an anniversary as well as New Year’s tradition. They said they have come to every Polar Bear Dip since 2006.
“We made it out today to celebrate our 13th anniversary and to enjoy the water,” The Johnsons said.
The Johnsons said they love taking a break from the weather in Illinois and enjoying what the Island has to offer like the wonderful people and fresh seafood.
Larry Rau, another visitor from Illinois, said the 64 degree weather for this year’s Polar Bear Dip was exceptional. He said the coldest he has done the dip was 58 degrees.
“No one ever believes I do it back home. I usually have my wife take photos of me to prove it,” Rau said.
Also participating in the dip was Miss Cameron County, Samantha Maldonado, who also made it to the inaugural Penguin Plunge at Boomerang Billie’s.
“It is cold out, but I don’t mind,” Maldonado said.
The Penguin Plunge was coordinated by the International Idiots Club. Andy Hancock, local Sandcastle master and artist carved a wooden penguin with a chainsaw that was auctioned at the event.
Read this story in the Jan. 6 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.