On a perfectly clear, pristine New Year’s Day, around 60 people – a record crowd – rang in 2013 by running, jumping, diving and plunging into the chilly waters off Burien’s Three Tree Point at the annual Polar Bear Plunge.
Under sunny skies, with an air temp around 38 degrees and the water slightly warmer (most likely in the mid-40s), revelers whooped and hollered in joy – and oftentimes simple bodily reactions – to this fun, local tradition.
“This is a record year,” said resident Clark Mounsey, observing safely from shore. “I’d say we had three times as many people here – both watching and plunging – as any other previous year.”
Mounsey estimated the overall crowd at around 185, and participating plungers at “around 60.”
Last year’s Polar Bear Plunge champ, Isaac Chrisman, returned from his home in Boise, Idaho to crown a new winner – a young gal named Olivia, of Bellevue.
When asked why she decided to come all the way from Bellevue to do Burien’s plunge, Olivia said:
“We choose a different one each year, so here we are!”
Isaac said he chose Olivia because, after almost every other swimmer had left the water, she was still out having fun, even doing the backstroke at one time. He thought she showed the most spirit of any of the participants.
Next year, as part of her responsibility as reigning champ, Olivia will choose the 2014 winner.
Jana Kleitsch  was on hand as well – and she took these pics of the plunge (click images to see larger versions):
Also, 13-year old aspiring Photographer Ciaran Everett  shared these great photos:
Here are two more pics courtesy Dave Fitzgerald:
And even more photos courtesy Gaile & Chuck Snowdon of Auburn:
Here’s a video of the plunge itself (for best viewing, click 720p and full-screen):
And here’s another one courtesy Derek Haigh, shot from a bulkhead five houses from the plunge:
If you took any photos of the plunge, or have some other New Year’s photos, email us at [email protected]  and we’ll post the best.