Updated 2:55 pm, Dec. 30.
It may have been balmy on Christmas in Oak Bluffs, but the water at the Inkwell was still cold (about 50°). That didn’t stop three generations of Alleys — Kerry Alley, his son Chris, and Chris’s daughter Maddy — from taking a dunk at the Oak Bluffs beach around 11 am. There were no other bathers when they went in, though they did draw several curious onlookers.
Kate Feiffer, Maddy’s mother and Chris’s wife, reported that both Chris and Maddy “went under.” Kerry did not, although, she added, he never does.
When asked if this might become a new Alley family tradition, she said, “Not unless it is 64° on Christmas again.”
Once we posted the story of the Alleys online, we had several others write us about their Yuletide dips. Times graphic designer Nicole Jackson jumped off Big Bridge. Edgartown columnist Gail Gardner’s whole family — husband Don, children Kiana, Riley, and Amelia, and Gail herself — went in, and saw several other Islanders jump in the water at State Beach.
Reader Blake Gilpin wrote, “I’ve been swimming at least once a week in Aquinnah since September. Usually Philbin, but anywhere on that stretch of beach. My wife joined me on balmy Christmas Day and lost her glasses about 30 yards out. The water only started getting icy/bone-chilling in the past six weeks or so. Until then it was pretty durn nice. I love the cold water, but it turns into more of a dunk by November. That said, the water is so shallow right now at Philbin you have to get out pretty far to get under safely.”
If there’s a polar (or given climate change, perhaps not-so-polar) plunge in your near future (or there was in your recent past), please send us photos, and give us the details: Is it — or will it now be — an annual tradition? What were the first (printable) impressions when you got in the water? How’d you warm up after?
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. And Happy New Year!