Imagine walking out onto the beach in a swimsuit on a 32 degree day. Then imagine charging headlong into 51 degree ocean water.
That’s what about 100 intrepid souls did on Monday on Hilton Head Island and Hunting Island in a pair of annual New Year’s Day plunges.
On Hilton Head Island, with the temperature hovering at the freezing mark, about 20 people turned out for the annual Polar Bear Plunge at Coligny Beach Park. At 11 a.m., they ran into the ocean, splashed about a bit and ran just as fast back out of the water for the shelter of waiting beach towels and overcoats.
“It’s an excellent cure for a hangover,” said Hilton Head Islander Phil Olweiler as he got dressed afterward.
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Within about five minutes, everyone had left the beach.
It was much the same two hours later in the northern half of the county at Hunting Island State Park, where about 60 people participated in the Pelican Plunge to benefit the Discover Carolina program of the Friends of Hunting Island.
They ran through the cold north wind, hit the water, splashed about a bit and then rushed back out, got dressed and left.
“It was about a thousand lightning bolts hitting you across your entire body.” said Jimmy McLellan, of Atlanta, afterward.
Jay Karr: 843-706-8150