The Brandywine Valley Association’s Polar Plunge

Brandywine Valley Association is an awesome local organization dedicated to preserving the sixty-mile Brandywine Creek. They have three hundred acres locally, which is full of hiking trails, awesome paths, and interesting things in the woods. The Guerilla Drive-In showed both Local Hero and Lair of the White Worm there.

Last Saturday, the BVA held their second “Polar Plunge”, which is a brisk, refreshing dip in the Brandywine, in February. Tikaro Interactive was a corporate sponsor, and I brought out the sidecar-mounted tattoo rig. We measured the water temperature at 33 degrees, so I put together a triathelete-style stencil reading “BVA 33”. Here’s the rig ready to go before the swimmers arrived:

Ready for Business

The schedule of events makes perfect sense: registration, then awards for best costumes and most money raised, and THEN the swim as the very last thing on the schedule. 11:30:00 — go swimming. 11:30:01: OH GAWD GO HOME GO HOME!!! Here’s the awards ceremony, clustered around the bonfire. I think I heard that there were about 500 folks present.

Awards Ceremony

Saint Olaf I must have given maybe 250 tattoos, which made me very glad that I used a non-adhesive stencil. Just hold the stencil on, spray on a lot of ink, and done. The rule with the tattoos was that wherever you get it, you have to go in at LEAST that far. I did one bottom-of-the-foot tattoo, a couple of dozen leg tattoos, what seemed like a hundred tummy tattoos, a bunch of chest, shoulderblade, and bicep tattoos, five neck tattoos, and THREE forehead tattoos.

The neck tattoos were my favorite, as they were the most “dystopian futuristic convict asteroid miner.”

However, the best tattoo of all, as far as I’m concerned, was this fellow, who got it on the very tippity-top of his head. As my uncle Laird said, “Let’s give this fellow a big hand!”

Let's give this fellow a big hand!

You can learn more about the Brandywine Valley Assocation on their website at If you’re in the area, I really recommend you check them out. It’s a great organization, doing important work (for instance, lots of city kids get bussed in to learn how to do leaf and insect censuses — remember that thing where you go over a patch of forest floor inch-by-inch?)

Oh, and the swim was a lot of fun. I did go in, waded across the Brandywine, touched the other side, and dunked myself all the way on the way back. It was surprisingly not all that bad — forcing yourself to get into a cold-water shower would be much harder. And then I felt comedically, almost megalomaniacally AWESOME the rest of the morning. Hmm, maybe there’s something to the whole “plunge yourself in an icy river” hermit regimen!”

4 responses to “The Brandywine Valley Association’s Polar Plunge”

  1. Damn it, Zibbs, I *thought* I heard some villanous “dun-dun-DUNNNNN” flourishes in a minor key when I was underwater. Also, the sound of a motorized shutter advance. What were you doing down there, anyhow?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: