Ocracoke islanders take the plunge on New Year's Day 2020. Photo: C. Leinbach
Ocracoke islanders take the plunge on New Year’s Day 2020. Photo: C. Leinbach

By Connie Leinbach
The water was warmer than the air New Year’s Day on Ocracoke, prompting about two dozen islanders to take a refreshing dip on day-one of 2020.
Children and youth dashed about at the airport ramp beach while many of the adults tried to stay as clothed as possible before the 2 p.m. charge into the ocean, which Weather Underground reported to be 66 degrees. The weather service said the air temperature was 52.
Rebecca Carbis was doing her first New Year’s Day plunge.
“I’m acclimating,” she said in short-shorts and a shirt. “I’m not going to test the water. I’m just doing one shot.”
Crystal Canterbury was also acclimating.
“I even put on sunscreen,” she said.
Rob Temple, 75, hoped to retain the eldest honors for the second year.

Rebecca Carbis enjoys her first polar plunge. Photo: C. Leinbach

“I’m trying to hold onto my title,” he said. “Five minutes of misery for a year of glory.”
He, Scott Bradley and Richard Taylor, 72, posed as the eldest doing the plunge.
Taylor, who in mid-December graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree, was attired in Carolina blue from head to toe, including graduation cap and UNC socks, in honor of the achievement.
“To be crazy; to complete the process,” he said about his attire. “Do I get best costume?”
After a countdown, the crowd dashed into the water whooping and hollering.
Most got out immediately.
“That was a lot of fun,” Carbis said as she caught her breath and dried off. “It was better than I thought it would be. Before I came out here I was tired, but I’m really awake now.”
Cathy Perez watched her son Gael, 5, probably the youngest, frolic about in the surf.
“I’m not doing it,” she said, laughing, as she took photos. “They can do it for me.”
Wednesday was the ninth year for the New Year’s Day frolic.

Richard Taylor, Rob Temple and Scott Bradley are the elder statesmen of the New Year’s Day polar plunge on Ocracoke. Photo: C. Leinbach
The last stragglers at the 2020 polar plunge. Photo: C. Leinbach