From the sandy shores of Sullivans Island facing across Charleston Harbor to Historic Fort Sumter, south to the also not overly cool waters off of coastal Georgia’s favorite beach, Savannah Beach better known asTybee Island, New Year’s Day 2012, saw a record number of polar bear plungers with 5000+ combined participants at each event. The Savannah Morning News and the Charleston City News document each chilly venue’s event.
One world record enthusiastically — and unofficially — obliterated. Aided by sunny skies with temperatures near 70, organizers of the annual Tybee Island polar bear plunge counted more than 2,000 good-natured folk willing to don swim caps to break a Guinness World Record. Once corralled and counted shortly after noon Sunday, they plunged into the 57-degree water to the strains of Queen's "We Are The Champions" echoing from the Tybee pier. The Guinness challenge also served as a fundraiser for the Tybee Post Theater. Funds from registration will help pay for new restrooms and air conditioning at the theater, but Jim Kluttz, president of the board of Friends of Tybee Theater, said the main reason was even simpler.
Sunday’s Polar Plunge on Sullivan’s Island drew hundreds of people who wanted to ring in the New Year with a dip in the not-quite-icy waters of the Atlantic. Hosted by Dunleavy’s Pub and benefiting the Special Olympics, the afternoon plunge featured revelers of all ages dressed up as everything from cops in cutoffs to giant solo cups diving into the sea. Everyone enjoyed splashing around, from kids and parents to dogs and the still-drunk-from-the-night-before.