I can't believe it happened... again

Published on: 1/2/2013

I wasn't going to let what happened last year at Bradford Beach happen again. During the Jan. 1, 2012 plunge I couldn't locate my clothes after coming out of freezing Lake Michigan. I started panicking and felt a little hypothermic as I wasted precious minutes while soaking wet in zero windchill.

You could say I overprepared this time. I brought enough stuff to last a week, but largely due to me not following my own rules of advice, Top 10 Tips to Safely Enjoy Your First Polar Plunge... in my previous post, I didn't come back with the same amount.

I knew a friend would be there, but we wouldn't meet until after the cold swim. I didn't use the buddy system. Tried, but couldn't convince family to accompany me. Rule #7 broken.

I wasn't going to lose my clothes again this year, but it happened anyway. I actually brought a flag to mark my spot, but it ended up back in the car when I found it impossible to pound the pole into the frozen sand. Rule #1 broken: know where your clothes are at all times.

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly. This year I brought a watch so I'd know when I'd have to get ready for the noon plunge, and I wore nearly waterproof neoprene socks to help keep the feet warm while in the ice water. The watch helped a little, but it seemed to me the noon wave went in at 11:57. I wanted to be in the water filming when the initial wave ran in and missed it. I spent a lot of time in the water as you'll see in the video. My legs felt numb, but the feet were fine thanks to the socks.

Both gone. Someone needed my watch and neoprene socks more than I did. Fortunately that's about all they took, that and a duffel bag, old blanket, boots and towels... and my favorite Harley t-shirt and a new pair of socks I got for Christmas.

Was it worth it? I didn't lose anything of great value, though I'm really going to miss my watch! It wasn't removed from the beach until after I got into the warm clothes. I had the car key and everything of value with me. I'm going to blame myself for not keeping an eye on the stuff as I wandered around gettiing more pictures. It's not right, but I still should have known better.

I did get a lot of pictures. I took the plunge myself and got dressed right away. It wasn't too windy so I never had to set up the tent I brought and was only momentarily cold.