Vineyarders take the plunge

Plunge participants run, some screaming, out of the water. —Libby Mueller

It may not have been the perfect day for a swim, but that didn’t stop about 50 people from gathering at State Beach on Sunday morning for the sixth annual Woodland Grill polar plunge. Christina and Robert Baker, owners of the Woodland Grill, organize the plunge each year. This year they donated their proceeds to the Dukes County Veterans Services.

After standing on the windswept beach for about 15 minutes, the group ran into the chilly water for a refreshing dip.

“It’s a great way to start the new year,” Will DeBettencourt said. “It’s actually nice today. We’ve been out here when the sand was frozen.”  Then he put on a Hawaiian grass skirt and ran down the beach and into the water.

Some swimmers stayed in for just seconds; others lingered for a minute or two. But when they got out, all 50 of them made a beeline for their warm cars.

Elsewhere on the Island, including East Chop and Edgartown, there were polar plunges of another variety that took place. Nainoa Cooperrider, Owen Hess, and John Moffet plunged into the icy water off an Edgartown dock to memorialize the passing of friend John Wesley in 2015. Mr. Moffet said he has been doing a new year’s day plunge for over 20 years but this was Mr. Hess’s first time with the tradition.

“[John] and I worked together all those years, so we continue the tradition in his honor,” Mr. Moffet wrote to the Times in an email.