Story and photos by JEFFREY POWELL
For the first time in nearly a decade no one plunged into the Gulf of Mexico behind the Watercolor Inn and Resort on the first day of the new year. It was not for lack of interest or possible polar bear participants but for the conditions of the choppy gulf waters.
“We thought about this for a long time but the safety of our guests and visitors is our number one priority,” said Watorcolor Inn and Resort Director of Sales and Marketing Jennifer Williams. “We decided to move the event up to our pool and keep everyone safe. This is still a great way to start off the new year.”
Williams’ decision was based on the fact that red flags were flying on the beach and there was a chance for rip currents in the area according to the South Walton Fire District. A strong southeast wind had the gulf looking rough on this first day of 2013.
“We were really looking forward to jumping into the gulf but this will still be OK,” said Atlanta resident Bryn Foster. “We are still going to have fun.”
Dozens of visitors and locals alike had gathered at the beach but happily made the trek to the pool to take a plunge. The crowd was large enough that participants had to be split into two groups. The youngsters went first followed by the “grown-ups.”
“We wanted to let people go in the gulf but safety is our main goal,” said Watercolor Inn and Resort Camp Manager Andy Nelson.