Feb. 16 – Taking the Plunge near Torgersen Island

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.


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Greg Tjosvold is a teacher, writer, and innovator. One of the first to crowdsource his biography, he is apparently 12 ft tall, has no body fat, is always polite, and is the only living recipient of an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Stanley Cup, Pulitzer, and two Nobel prizes (Economics and Break Dancing). He is currently reevaluating the merits of crowdsourcing.

He is the father of two amazing children and currently lives with his wonderful wife in the wilds of suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.