Taking the plunge

HANCOCK – Terry Sayatovich had never jumped into icy water before, but she was willing to take a chance Saturday with the Polar Bear Dive into Portage Lake to raise money for the Christian Motorcycle Association.

“I don’t even swim in the lake in summer,” she said.

The Polar Bear Dive was an event of Heikinpiv. It took place in front of the Copper Island Beach Club on Water Street in Hancock. The air temperature was in the single digits at the time of the dive.

Sayatovich, who is from Hancock, said she took pledges from people for her jump into the frigid water.

Also taking the winter dip was Pete Lemoine, president of the Christian Motorcycle Association, who said it was also his first time, and he was a little apprehensive.

“I may never do it again,” he said.

However, Lemoine, who is from Ontonagon, said a fact of physics gave him some comfort prior to the dive.

“It’s warmer in the water,” he said.

Cheryl Miller, co-organizer of the Polar Bear Dive with Julie Knight, said the dive was cancelled in 2013 because a proper place for divers to warm up after their plunges couldn’t be found. This year, a tent for warming was set up next to the dive site.

Miller said the 18-inch-thick ice was cut away by the Michigan Technological University Aquanauts, who also were on hand to help divers get out of the water.

Also on site was Mercy EMS for any divers who might experience medical issues, Miller said.

After his dive, Lemoine said the water was indeed warmer than the air, so it wasn’t a too unpleasant experience.

“Overall, not bad,” he said.