Kennedy 'dips' into winter
Friendship — Swimming in the Maine ocean? In the winter? During the recent polar vortex?
Not something most people entertain; however, for Waldoboro resident Meghan Kennedy, it is all she thinks about.
A member of Facebook's Midcoast Polar Bear group, Kennedy has been "dipping" in the ocean each day for nearly a year now — no matter the temperature. Her Feb. 1 dip at Walker's Beach in Friendship was during a "heat wave," with the air and water temperatures hovering around 36 degrees.
"The reaction I receive 99.9 percent of the time is 'that is crazy'," said Kennedy, who grew up swimming in pools and sandy beaches and was afraid of seaweed.
"The ocean is so open and vast," said Kennedy. "I exhale a sigh of relief when I see it."
Kennedy feels dipping enables her to be open-minded to the conditions around her and to be in the present moment. She said a huge side benefit from dipping every day is the countless experiences and perspectives, as well as all the people she has met along the way.
"Dipping to me is both exhilarating and calming. It's grounding in a way," said Kennedy.
In October, Kennedy took some dips around Lamoine and Schoodic state parks, and in later fall was dipping after work in Bremen until the spot got snowed in after a huge storm.
"I decided to check out Walker's Beach after that," said Kennedy.
Walker's Beach is located about two miles down Martin's Point Road in Friendship. It offers Kennedy a variety of entry options with its mixture of beach and rocky area.
During Christmas, Kennedy traveled to New York City and Hull, Mass. Her adventure included two trips to Coney Island for dips and one of the wildest experiences yet.
When she dipped in the water at a sand beach in Hull, the waves were 3- to 4-feet high.
"When I saw that there was slush for the first 20 feet out from shore, I figured it was just on the surface. Then I reached my hand in — there was a good foot of slush in the water ... And at that point, I didn't turn back," said Kennedy.
From there she decided to dip at the town landing near Colonial Pemaquid for the next several days, where she had to break through a thin layer of ice to accomplish her daily endeavor.
Kennedy is the first mate/deckhand on the Snowgoose III, a 42-foot boat for Kieve-Wavus Education, Inc. camps in Bremen, as well as for Audubon camps on Hog Island. In the off-season, she is part of the maintenance crew on the Kieve campus.
She was a sternman for two years on a lobster boat and helped harvest oysters for a year. In her spare time, Kennedy can be found kayaking, canoeing, farming, hiking, reading, or watching documentaries.
"Back in September, I couldn't have imagined I'd still be doing anything like this," said Kennedy.
"I tell myself 'it couldn't be much colder than yesterday' everyday," she said. "I have not regretted a dip yet."
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at email@example.com.
594-4401 ext. 125
Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.
Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.
Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.
Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.