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Here is a self-portrait of Watt braving the frigid January waters off of San Pedro in the 37th annual Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears Plunge on New Year's day.

As far back as anyone can remember, an informal New Year's day swim has been led by lifeguards or the Dept of Parks and Recreation at noon off of Cabrillo Beach.

In 1953, John Olguin and Jack Cheaney started the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears. John's wife, Muriel drew the original Polar Bear insignia which is still unchanged. The Polar Bears were an informal gathering of individuals that would meet in October and November and electing a King and Queen from the many daily beach enthusiasts at a beach party held for that purpose. In 1983, Ray Falk obtained permission for a room through the City Council Office, the Department of Recreation and Parks in the old Bathhouse/Museum in San Pedro. The Cabrillo Marine Museum abandoned the Bathhouse when they moved into their new facility on the inner beach. In 2005, Ray Falk and Kim M. White petitioned the City Council which declared the Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse as the official Home of the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears.

- From the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bear website


The New Year's Day Dip is free and open to all comers, so we'll see you there next year - twelve noon sharp.
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Photo by Mike Watt