Taking the Plunge
Taking the Plunge

They were small in number, but hearty in spirit.

At high noon today at Cedar Beach in Southold, a core group of dedicated staff, friends and children of staff and friends of the Peconic Estuary Program took the plunge into the body of water they are charged with protecting.

With the kids poking their ankles and their toes into the water and the grownups braving a full plunge, the lovers of the Peconic Estuary showed off their devotion as part of the National Estuary Program’s #iheartestuaries social media campaign.

And then, five minutes later, when Peconic Estuary fan Michael Butler showed up on the beach after taking the trip around the estuary to Southold from Sag Harbor, they jumped back in again.

“I wanted to show my support for keeping the Peconic Bay clean,” said Mr. Butler. “I live across the water, but on both sides, everyone loves the bay.”

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They couldn’t have had a better December day for jumping in the bay — the temperature was nearly 50 degrees, under bright sunny skies with a light breeze. The bay was like a bathtub.

The Southold Fire Department was on hand in case anybody got hurt. But no one got hurt, they just got inspired by the clear, cold, clean water of the bay.

The Peconic Estuary Program’s new program coordinator, Sarah Schaefer, didn’t mind the cold water too much, but the rocks were a bit hard on her toes.

For PEP Executive Director Alison Branco, the rocks under her feet were an “excellent distraction” from the chill of the water.

“We’ve gotta keep doing these things,” she said. “The Peconic Dunes Camp has a polar bear plunge every year, but the first year it was just the staff.”

If you missed the Penguin Plunge, you can still show your love for the Peconic Estuary by hashtagging your social media posts about the Peconic Estuary wit the tag #iheartestuaries.


Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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