The annual St. James Polar Bear Club plunge was canceled this year, but Terry Carr didn’t get the memo.
The Islandia resident showed up Sunday morning at Long Beach Town Park in Nissequogue ready to dive into the chilly waters of Porpoise Channel. But Carr, 65, was the only person who did.
And when he soon learned that organizers had called off the event weeks ago, he said, “Well, I’m going in anyway.”
Sporting a disposable tracksuit, he walked across the deserted beach, stripped down to his bathing suit and trudged into the 40-degree water alone. After a few paces, he submerged himself up to his shoulders for a few seconds. Then, he stood up and casually walked back to the shore.
“The initial shock was there, but once you stand up, it wasn’t that bad,” he said. “If there was a bunch of people here, I’d probably still be in the water.”
This was Carr’s first polar plunge, and although he said he was disappointed that he had to take the dip sans company, he was satisfied to finally check the item off his bucket list.
The self-described thrill-seeker said he’s also scaled Mount Rainier in Washington State and hiked Yosemite’s Half Dome and the Grand Canyon.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “My wife thinks I’m nuts.”
And while Carr endured his frigid dip on Long Island, his wife, Trish, was enjoying temperatures in the high 60s.
"She's down in Florida with the dog," he added.