Man surfing in rocky sea at sunset
Coast & seascapes,  People,  Sunday Stills,  Themed galleries

Gallery: taking the plunge

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There are plenty of quotes that encourage us to take the plunge.

But dare rather to quit the platform, plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so shall you come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain & overlook the old

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all understand the concept. Be brave, don’t hesitate, don’t hold back. We can apply this to our working lives (go for that promotion!), and our personal lives (don’t wait, travel, book that flight, train for that marathon!)

But those things are hard to photograph, rather abstract. So for this week’s Sunday Stills I’ve opted interpret the theme of ‘plunge’ completely literally. My chosen photos show people, and a few animals, taking the plunge into the water. Some I know have been used in previous posts, but they fitted the theme too well not to share them again! But the first two are brand new, taken just a few days ago.

People taking the plunge

A lot, but not all, of these people shots were taken in Tynemouth. That’s perhaps not surprising, as it’s our favourite spot for a coastal walk when we’re staying in Newcastle. And again a lot, but not all, were taken from above, up on the cliffs or in the case of the Brighton shot a pier. That’s also not surprising, as that’s a discreet way to ‘spy’ on the activities of others!

Three people in the sea seen from above

Brave people taking a dip on 2nd January 2023, Tynemouth


Three people in the sea seen from above

The two on the right didn’t get much further in, but the man on the left really took the plunge, diving straight into the chilly waves


Several people and dogs on a beach with a surfer entering the water

Surfers and dog walker, Tynemouth (December 2019)


Two young boys in the sea

Paddling, Tynemouth (August 2015)


Little girl with fishing net and bucket

Rock-pooling, Tynemouth (August 2015)


Swimmer in Brighton

Lady in pink swimming cap in the sea

Two men and a dog entering the sea on a pebbly beach

In Praia on Santiago, one of the Cape Verde Islands


Man running into the sea

After an evening dip in Albufeira, Portugal


Man and woman on surfboards in the sea

Surfers in St Ives, Cornwall


Man surfing

Surfer in Guiones, Costa Rica

And the surfer in my featured image was photographed in Hanga Roa on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Animals and birds taking the plunge

I’ve cheated a bit here, as a couple of these creatures are at home in the water in a way that we can never be, so I can’t really claim that they are taking the plunge with any degree of daring, as is often implied in that phrase. No, these are simply some shots of animals in water that I rather like!

Running running into the sea

Dog in the sea at Tynemouth


Black dog shaking off water in front of a sculpture

Dog in the Neptunbrunnen, Berlin


Man on a horse at the edge of the sea

Horse and rider on the beach at sunset, Gambia


Sea lion looking at camera underwater and upside down

Snorkelling with sea lions off Santa Fe, Galapagos, where I was taking the plunge!


Gull landing on water

Gull landing on a lake at the open air sculpture gallery on San Juan, WA

25 Comments

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I think at the height of summer dogs aren’t allowed on those north east beaches (as on many around our coasts) but in the winter they love it! Thanks Amy 🙂

  • Alli Templeton

    Great shots, Sarah, and I can see exactly why you took the theme literally as they all fit the bill perfectly. LOVE the animals! That sea lion is adorable, and the horse reminds me of one we watched at Beaumaris during the castle quest in 2019. The horse, its rider on its back, waded happily into the sea on a very hot day and proceeded to paddle around in the shallows as the waves lapped around its legs. It was lovely to watch and the horse was clearly loving every minute of it!

    On the other hand, the people on New Year’s Day at Tynemouth are wonderfully brave, but I can’t help thinking they’re bonkers too! We’ve seen quite a few people doing exactly the same on the coast where we live. I know a freezing cold dip in the sea it’s supposed to be good for you, but give me a nice roaring fire and a hot cuppa any day! 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Alli 🙂 That horse was a lucky shot. We were spending one night in the sort of beach hotel we normally avoid, just because we had to stay close to the airport for an early flight, but its one redeeming feature was a great view of the beach from our balcony. I was out there enjoying the sunset when that rider came along!

      As I said to others below, I labelled that NYD shot incorrectly (now corrected) – it was actually January the 2nd, when it was colder but brighter. I totally agree about the roaring fire. I quite like the sensation of a cold dip on a hot day but not when the air temperature is that cold too!

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    Your brilliant interpretation reminds me that I have some images of my dog Brodie plunging into the river and ocean, Sarah! Your opening shot is gorgeous–I think we are drawn to similar photo ops–I have a similar image of a fisherman on Hilo Bay (HI) in the sunset. It really is amazing to see folks plunging into the ocean in January–I wonder how cold the air was that day? Really great shots of all things plunging! Love your shot of the seal too!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Terri 😊 I’ve since realised that I labelled that first shot incorrectly – it was actually January the 2nd, when it was colder but brighter than NYD, around 3 degrees Celsius (about 37 Fahrenheit). I believe the water temperature was similar to that 🥶

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Phil 🙂 I realise now I labelled that shot incorrectly – it was actually January the 2nd, when it was colder but brighter than NYD! As if that makes it OK 🤣 I’ve corrected it now.

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