Polar bear dip takes the plunge at Coligny Jan. 1

December 29, 2007 

  • The second annual Polar Bear Dip will be on Coligny Beach on New Year's Day at 11 a.m.

Want to get an early start on your New Year's resolution to exercise?

Or perhaps you just need a sobering swim after a long night of New Year's Eve revelries?

Either way, Hilton Head Island resident Tim Guest has one way to get you started: A Jan. 1 "polar bear" dip in the Atlantic.

Last year, the New Year's Day dip drew a crowd of up to 200 swimmers -- including children and dogs -- said Guest, 62, who organizes the event.

But Guest said there was one problem with last year's event:

"It was too easy," he said. "The weather was practically balmy last year."

This year, the forecast calls for highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s.

"The colder, the better," said Guest, a Massachusetts native.

The event -- sponsored by Guest's Island Spirits and Fine Wines -- is free. Participants receive T-shirts and towels, he said.

The dip starts at 11 a.m. sharp, Guest said. At last year's swim,participants -- lined up parallel to the water --began to undress at the 2-minute warning signal. Everyone ran into the ocean together, but some only stayed in the water for a couple of minutes, while others sprinted right back to the beach, Guest said.

There's even an after-party at Aqua Grille & Lounge in Coligny Plaza, where hot chocolate and other refreshments will be served.

All ages are invited to participate, Guest said.

"Just show up and be brave," he advised.

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