Jan 20-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: January: Jan 20-03
This year's Polar Bear Dive    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Daryl Laitila

Daryl Laitila, Hancock, MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 08:55 am:

Results from this year's Polar Bear Dive in Hancock:

Tied for first place were Samantha Masters and Jacob Manchester. Each won $15 Hancock merchant dollars. Samantha, in her gymnastic costume, did somersaults for most of the red-carpeted runway on her way into the frigid water. Jacob did a great back flip on his way into the canal.

For a short movie of Samantha's routine, click here. Be patient... it takes a minute to load.

Two of the funniest were Bombs over Iraq and Davey Holmbo, dressed up as an old man wearing a bathrobe and carrying a cane. Davey jumped into the water, screamed and then when he got out of the water, was totally rejuvenated and cured. He danced a little jig all the way back to the warm sauna.

The first diver to sign up for the event was Pam Swenson. She was one of 10 other women, mostly in their twenties, who dove into the water.

Tied for second place, Patrick McCabe and Matt White, won $10 each in Hancock merchant dollars. A few of the divers even went into the water twice.

By Dan in Fenton, MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:02 am:

$15 isn't worth the deep freeze to 'da brain.

By Mike Mehrman, MI. on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:10 am:

Dan, Doesn't even sound like it was real money, what's a merchant dollar?

By Charlie - Onekama, MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:15 am:

If da prize wuz beer maybe it'd be worth it. Maybe.... Lots of beer.

By Dan in Fenton, MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:19 am:

Mike, I jumped in Lake Fanny Hooe one Memorial Day Weekend. Caught a cold. Wasn't worth 300 real dollars, let alone some funny money 15 merchant dollars. Yeah, yeah, I'm no fun. I don't know what these merchant dollar things are.

By Daryl Laitila on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:22 am:

I forgot to mention that the temperature outside on Saturday afternoon was 9F degrees. People are asking me already what the temperature of the water was and the wind chill. Anybody have an idea?

By 100% yooper, MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:33 am:

Well with the Canal water being recirculated with 39 degree Lake Superior water, and an outside temp of 9. The dive was probably refreshingly warm.

By Mike B, Pittsburgh, wishin I was still in the Yoop on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:36 am:

When it's 9f degrees outside, does it really matter what the wind chill or water temp is :)

By Jim Kurtti on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:42 am:

Many thanks to the Hancock Ramada Inn for letting us use their wonderful pool and sauna for the event. The hotdogs and hot chocolate really hit the spot too.

By Samantha Masters, Houghton, MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:16 am:

I would just like to comment that the water was NOT refreshingly warm! I don't care what the air temperature is, that water was frigid! I'm sure every diver would agree that your entire body hurts and then goes numb from shock as soon as you enter that water. But, it is all worth it. YOu can't live in a place like Houghton or Hancock and not do something like this at least once in your lifetime!

By Chris on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:22 am:

Has anyone ever been injured doing this? Heart attack comes to mind... Man, I'd be afraid to do it for the simple thought of being trapped under the ice.

By Fred NRW on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:34 am:

Brave people, and I mean it. But before viewing the movie again I'll get myself a mug of hot coffee.
(My bravest thing was a jump into the ocean in Portugal, 1 of January 1992: Water and air temperature about 53F (+ wind!). That was not really cold, did not hurt; though I had to warm up before. But that was a nice beach party compared to what all those wonderfully couragious Samanthas did. My personal WINTER HEROES!

By Jean, Devon, England on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:45 am:

Thanks for the photo. I'm full of admiration for all those who dived. I can't begin to guess what it feels like to be out in a temperature of 9 deg (it's 9 deg C/48F here today)let alone go out wearing only a bathing costume. Samantha - I should think one polar bear dive in a life time would be enough for anyone.

By Lowell MO. on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 01:00 pm:

Samantha Kudos to you. It made me shiver just to watch the little clip of your dive. WOW 9 degrees and people were out doing that. Its been really cold down here and all I've been wanting to do is to find a warmer place to hibernate.

By jj_greenville_mi on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 01:14 pm:

thanks for the movie of the dive. it is great. one of those things you would rather watch someone else do, than attempt it yourself. greatest repect for the brave,hardy,healthy yooper polar bear divers.....

By Chuck Altonen, OH Suomi '58 on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 03:08 pm:

When I first saw the photo of what I assumed was Samantha, I thought it could have been Kathleen Lakanen from FU. She's the only Finnish-American lady I know of in the Yooper Nation who would have the sisu to try that.

All of you ought to come down to old Ashtabula, the ancient Finn town in NE Ohio. We do the same thing, but in February. It is sponsored by the local FOP Lodge 26 to raise money for Special Olympics. About 100 "Polar Bears" usually take part, all at once. Call: 440-992-7175 for information. Big party afterwards. Plenty to eat and drink too.

By Linda Graham, Michigan on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 03:09 pm:

Voi Kauhea! Alot of hardy individuals took part in the dive! It was interesting to watch and KUDOS go to the Finnish group of men who came back for a second dive as did the four young lads with colored hair. I hope the Michigan Tech Scuba Diving Group was thanked for their assistance. A big "ATTA GIRL" goes to Samantha Masters!

By AimeeR, MTU on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 03:25 pm:

Yesterday there was a comment about whether to use lake affect or lake effect when concerning snow... I would think it depends if we're talking about the way the lake affects our snow or the effect of the lake on our snow. I noticed the Mining Gazette used 'affect.' I still think it's effect, but if anyone knows for sure I'd be interested to hear...

Speaking of the snow, there sure is lots of it! Maybe not as much new stuff but just the old stuff blowing... BRRR!!!

By AimeeR again on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 03:28 pm:

Oh, and great job to all those polar bear swimmers! What a cool thing to be able to say you've done! (I took the year off!)

By Ned, Kingsford. on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 03:42 pm:

I remember the gas plant which was in the Florida Location in Laurium when I was a kid living there (late 40's, early 50's) There was a railroad spur track that came in there and delivered coal which the gas plant turned into guess what, coal gas. The railroad was probably the Copper Range RR. The gas that they made was piped throughout the Laurium area (and maybe Calumet also) for use in homes and businesses. I also remember that when they stopped using coal to make gas and started using somthing else (LP or Propane??), this new gas caused the gaskets in the pipe joints to leak and there were a number of major explosions in buildings, homes, and in some cases the streets were heaved up by these blasts. I do not remember whether the gas company had to dig up the streets to fix the problems or what else they might have done. Can anybody else add any thing more?

By Yooper in Indiana on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 04:10 pm:


They did have to dig up the streets due to the gas problems that they had there. In our area they have been working to clean up the coal gas plants. The one that I remember in particular was 1st street.

By Gretchen Caspary, CA on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 04:27 pm:

I loved the movie of Samantha Masters's performance! Amazing! Since moving to California, I've become a weather wimp; I'm here in San Francisco today whining because it's only in the 40s. The very thought of this polar bear swim puts the California "cold" into perspective! Better make a trip to Houghton pretty soon, hey?

By JohnK,AA,Mi. on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 04:57 pm:

Aimee - I think the correct term is lake DEfect ... especially when you have to shovel it

By bob, in the up on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 05:13 pm:

That girl jumped in the canal for only 15 dollars worth of coupons. I think we should
take up a collection for her. I really think
she needs money. Is Hancock a very depressed
place.Do most of the people there do this
sort of thing for money?

By Jeff Carlson on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 05:32 pm:

just checked the web cam, looks like they are getting "a little" snow up there....

By Linda from Dowling on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 05:34 pm:

You're right Samantha...you'd have to do it once...after that you wouldn't be around to do it again....brrrrr, made me cold just looking at the movie.

I do love the pictures from this site...thanks everyone for sharing this great site with us.

By JAD, Oskar on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 07:42 pm:

Charlie -- Thanks for the great clip of Samantha!
Did you get some of her coming out? I bet they were 10 times faster.....

By MM, Stranded in Troll land on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 08:20 pm:

Aimee, It's good that you are concerned about this common grammatical error. One is a noun, the other a verb. "The relatively warmer water AFFECTS the cold air to form Lake EFFECT snow."

By CK, Chassell on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:21 pm:

MM in Troll Land: thanks for clarifying the lake affect/lake effect controversy. I was just about to say almost exactly the same thing you did. I agree with you 100%.

This lake effect snow up here certainly affects day-to-day life.

By Congrats from the Lower on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:06 pm:

Samantha... that must have been a perfect 10 in the new Olympic sport of Polar Bear Diving!

By Tammy, Indianapolis, IN on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:11 pm:

I'm with you on the affect/effect issue.

By Earl Kangas, California on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:27 pm:

THAT is brass monkey time!
Today, in Santa Clarita, California, it was 72 degrees, and I thought that was cool.

By Joyce from Brighton,MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:38 pm:

I think I'd take a sauna before and after.

By Martha K., Pinckney, MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:09 pm:

Actually, folks, I hate to burst your bubble, but "affect" can also be a noun, and "effect" can also be a verb. "Affect" as a noun is used in the field of psychology as the conscious, subjective aspect of an emotion (not very common, I grant you) and "effect" as a verb means to make or cause to come into being as in "to effect a change."
Ain't English wonderful?

By Rose - Channahon, IL on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:22 pm:

Great Animation Samantha! I'll bet your exit from the water was even faster! My daughters and I once swam in a stream in Wyoming that was fed by melting snow in the mountains. It was so cold that our bodies felt like they were burning when we got out.

By finkin - MI on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:49 pm:

You go girl! You can't have some ordinary cannon ball for that event.
Closest I ever came was swimming in the big lake in July.

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 07:07 am:

For those who wanted a sauna after today's Cam, take a look at a thing in France they call a Saunaab, link courtesy of Karl Johnson, who nominated these guys to be honarary Yoopers.

By Sam's Mom, Michigan on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 07:25 am:

Samantha's brother & sisters say that this is so totally Samantha! She used to cliff dive in the jungles of Japan when living there! And she's really a California girl at heart, hates the cold!

By Helmi on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 08:54 am:

On pakkanen.

By JEN GR MI on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 11:17 am:

After watching the clip a couple of times, I post my score, 10.0!

By Luanne Dickeyville WI on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 01:36 pm:

Those boys with the Saunaab are right on!!

By Mel/Shannon/Rachel - Hancock on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 04:52 pm:

You do this kind of stuff and we still let you take care of our kids??? I don't know.... Good work Samantha. We have some wedding gifts - just haven't had time to get them to you.

By Samantha, Houghton, MI on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 06:46 pm:

Thanks everyone! But remember, I wasn't the only person to jump, just the one person lucky enough to get my video on the internet. I enter the Air Force in May as an officer, but I hope to take leave every year and come back just to dive with all the other crazy Yoopers!

By mjg-Lake Linden, Mich on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 07:47 pm:

Crazy! Not to swift! mjglakelinden

By me, ? on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 09:38 am:

That's a way to see if the body is still working.

By Gonna be a yooper on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 09:14 pm:

The cold is great! I would of jumped in!

By steve, muskegon on Saturday, January 25, 2003 - 01:41 am:


If your body goes numb from shock when you enter the water, how do you manage to get yourself out? When I jump in much "warmer" water I immediately gasp for breath.

By Cheryl, Det. Michigan on Saturday, January 25, 2003 - 05:42 pm:

Ok all I can say is that this event gives new meaning to a brain freeze (usually experienced from eating Ice Cream to fast). I would think that the shock issue would definetly be a risk.
Do any of these folks that take part in this event do anything to prepare for the sudden temperature change to the body?

By home poker games on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 07:31 pm:

Great website, it was actually quite real helpful.

By visit party poker on Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 02:06 pm:

I have admire your unselfishness in taking the time to make this web site.

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