Released this message at Coney Island for the Annual Polar Bear Dip on New Year's Day. I've been going to this for the last couple of years now. The Polar Bears have been swimming on New Year's Day for hundreds of years, but we have only been doing no drysuit rolls for the last couple.
It's always a lot of fun, and a big party. They have a breakfast, music, lots of wacky characters, a few skinny dippers, and a whole bunch of icy cold water.
It was only about 50 degrees this year, practically balmy, but the water was in the 40's and it was foggy and raining. I was a little late getting on station in my kayak, so I missed the main parade into the water. There was a bit of surf so I couldn't get too close to the swimmers, but my friend swam out and took a few photos of me rolling. That's fear on my face in the first picture, and a real scream in the 2nd one.
I did stay in long enough for the beginning stages of hypothermia. I was shivering uncontrollably, and having trouble thinking after on 10 minutes.
Released the bottle off of Brighton Beach around 15:20 later in the day after I had my drysuit back on.
Truth: Cold can be very uncomfortable.