February 16th will always be one of the most memorable days of my trip to Antarctica. After all, how often do you get to go for a swim in Antarctica?! And by a swim, I mean really mean a “ok-jump-in-what-have-I-done-gasp-surface-surface-climb-out-hot-tub-YAY!”
In all seriousness, the event was a hoot. Much frivolity had by all. A few highlights and observations:
- About a third of the passengers participated. Pretty impressive given the demographics of the passengers.
- There is obviously some risk involved and but the crew made sure we were as safe as possible. For example, each swimmer is attached to a harness and rope. If you seize up, they are going to pull you out.
Or maybe it is a traditional Orca whaling technique? I unexpectedly sank like a rock. I’m thinking the salinity in the water was pretty low. Cannonball, you let me down!
- The visibility in the water was amazing. I could see I had a long way to swim back to the surface.
Not that it caused any panic or anything.
- The hot tub, normally closed lest passengers get sloshed overboard, was a welcome destination after the jump.
- I wish I had used the plunge as a fund raising tool at my school. I’m thinking there would have been many students willing to pay to have their teacher take a flying leap into frigid water for a good cause. If you are going on an Antarctic cruise, I’d ask if a plunge is a possibility.
- My favorite mental image from the plunge is of Peter, an awesome Aussi retiree who had a few years on me, taking the plunge in his speedo. That was spectacle enough (I hope I am in that good of shape when I get to his age!), but the best part was seeing him walking back to his cabin with only a towel around his neck being accompanied fondly by his wife, bundled head to toe in her yellow parka and full gear. So adorable.
Our plunge took place near Torgersen Island.