2019 Polar Plunge

Scenes from the ninth annual Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day 2019 on Camano Island.

Tana Mattson took a chilly dip on Jan. 1 in Utsalady Bay off Camano Island. She joined about 15 people who rose to the chilly challenge this year.

“It’s tradition,” said Tana Mattson. “It’s a great way to start the New Year, the only way. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.”

She took the Polar Plunge with her father, Robert Quam.

“It’s stinging cold,” he said. “It’s something fun to do with my daughter. Even though it’s cold, it feels good. I used to scuba dive. For this, there’s not much equipment required compared to scuba diving. It’s much cheaper.”

For nine years, Forté Music Dance Art has sponsored this exhilarating event. People gather at the Forté studio at 1095 Essex St., then take a short walk to Utsalady Beach. More people come to cheer than to take the dip, but everyone has fun. Afterward they meet at Forté Studio for a hot bowl of chili, cornbread, hot drinks and conversation.

Kyle Bingham plunged his tattoo-covered body into the chilly Puget Sound waters. It was his fifth polar plunge. This year, he took his son, Max for his first New Year’s dip.

When asked why he did it, Bingham said, “To be brave, to overcome fear.”

“Peer pressure,” said Cameron LaPlante with a laugh. “I did it last year and it was a lot of fun.”

Chances are, these people and more will be back next year for the 10th annual plunge.

Staff reporter Peggy Wendel: pwendel@scnews.com or 360-416-2189

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