The Final Polar Plunge: The Day I Swam in Antarctica’s Icy Waters!

Once I had the possibility to go to Antarctica on an expedition cruise with Hurtigruten, I made it one in all my objectives to do my first ever polar plunge within the continent — and I did!

…Nevertheless, it helps to notice that this nearly did NOT occur.

Positive sufficient, it is a “proper of passage” for all of us who’ve adventurous souls in addition to among the finest issues to do in Antarctica; however in fact, everyone knows that it isn’t precisely a sensible resolution to swim on the earth’s coldest waters in only a bikini, proper?

So sure, for whole disclosure, I did spend a while debating with myself earlier than the entire ordeal occurred, and I segregate them into the next levels…

Polar Plunge in Antarctica

» Stage #1: Pleasure «

Deception IslandDeception Island from
Just a few days after we’ve landed within the Antarctic Peninsula itself, the Hurtigruten crew introduced our upcoming arrival to Deception Island: a singular place within the continent as a result of truth that it’s the caldera (volcanic ‘crater’) of an energetic volcano. To set everybody abuzz even additional, they mentioned that this would be the location whereby we might be allowed to do a polar plunge.

That is it, I’m going to do a polar plunge!” I assumed to myself excitedly.

In spite of everything, it’s not on a regular basis that somebody can have the distinctive alternative of swimming in Antarctica waters — and even inside a volcano at that!

» Stage #2: Doubt & Worry «


“Meh, I’m not going to do it.”

Jonas quipped from throughout the room whereas I used to be getting ready my garments for the shore touchdown in Deception Island.

“Wait, what? You gained’t do the polar plunge?”
Jonas shrugged, “It’s not my factor, and I’ve to work.”

Effectively, there goes my ‘plunging’ help buddy! Aww…  Then once more, nope, I used to be to not be swayed. After all I used to be a bit disenchanted, however I didn’t let it hassle me an excessive amount of.

– – –

Later at lunch, I handed by one of many service workers and he gave me a little bit nudge, “So, are you going to do the polar plunge at this time?”

Sure,” I replied, “How about you? Have you ever completed it earlier than?”

He chuckled, “Sure, and I’ll NEVER do it once more!”

One thing in me faltered, however I shrugged it off. I went again to my cabin and so as to hype myself up for the expertise, I typed the phrase “polar plunge” on my net browser. I merely needed to flick thru some cool pictures — however one factor led to a different… and I slightly stumbled into article headlines that learn:

  • Polar Plunges: Are They Even Good for You?
  • Is the Polar Plunge Secure?
  • Swimmer Rescued Throughout Polar Plunge
  • How To: Survive a Polar Bear Plunge

I can die from this? What do they imply it’s not protected? Somebody needed to be rescued earlier than? And what — I’ve to “survive” it?

It then dawned on me that my preliminary “euphoria” on the concept of doing my first ever polar plunge had clouded my sensible judgment that: OF. COURSE. Swimming in chilly waters has dangers that aren’t restricted to shock, coronary heart assault or hypothermia (perhaps even drowning as a result of I’m not a superb swimmer myself lol). It didn’t even assist that I began to recall how chilly I felt after I first took a dip in European waters — and thoughts you, that was within the summer time!

So okaaaay. Perhaps this wasn’t a good suggestion in any case…

» Stage #three: Dealing with it All «

Pendulum Cove

Positive, I would die due to “chilly shock” if I’m not wholesome sufficient or if I occur to have a coronary heart drawback — however that’s simply extremely unlikely. The expedition group even advised me that they by no means had somebody who died from doing a polar plunge; in addition to, the entire plunge will solely be for a couple of minutes (even seconds if anybody couldn’t bear it) and there can even be a health care provider on shore.

Naturally, the above elements had been all smart causes for lessening my constructing doubts and fears; however have you learnt what took all of it away fully…? Once I considered ‘regrets’.

In case you’re a daily reader of my weblog and if you happen to’ve adopted my complete journey to this point, you’ll understand how I dislike having regrets in my life. I didn’t need to have a whole lot of “what ifs” sooner or later — and positively, I didn’t need this polar plunge to be a kind of.

In order that afternoon, I boarded the zodiac boat that was crusing to Deception Island’s Pendulum Cove. As I sat there, I can already see the cluster of ship friends on shore, each young and old, who had been both stripping off their garments or operating straight into the freezing waters. I couldn’t assist however giggle… “Yup, I’m a kind of loopy lunatics.”

After I set foot on the cove, Hurtigruten’s expedition group chief gave us a tip that we might stroll (and even run) across the island earlier than taking the dip in order that our our bodies can get to heat up a bit extra earlier than the plunge itself. Nevertheless, I used to be in a daze — I went straight to the a part of the shore the place all of the swimmers had been.

I simply needed to get it over with earlier than I might change my thoughts.

As soon as there, I did a fast chat with one of many swimmers who gave me an encouraging mini speech after which, with out lacking a beat, I arrange my digicam and began laying aside one layer of clothes at a time. Now I guarantee you that I shuddered terribly when the tough Antarctic winds first hit contact with my naked pores and skin — plus, I felt much more chills when my naked toes touched the chilly black sand. It didn’t even assist that the water boots they made me put on was sogging moist!

I ran over to one of many expedition workers and muttered, “I’m prepared.”

She put a examine mark beside my title and afterwards, I swiftly turned and ran in direction of the water.

» Stage #5: Adrenaline Excessive «

Antarctica Polar Plunge

You see, operating is important to ensure that this explicit polar plunge to achieve success. Another ships do it ‘pirate fashion’ the place you get to leap off a plank, however for ships like Hurtigruten, it’s as much as you to set your tempo — and nope, there’s no room for gradual wading and adjusting right here: you MUST run, or else, you would possibly again out on condition that the water is so awfully chilly.

In order my physique steadily went by way of the water, all of the obscene phrases that I’ve discovered on this life spilled out from my lips.

When the water hit my waist — there was a pause. I didn’t assume that a sudden ‘gradual mo’ might occur to me in actual life, however it did. And for some purpose the phrase “PLUNGE” popped in my head. Earlier than I knew it, my physique routinely did a little bit dive after which I used to be wholly beneath the water.

…Aaah, I can nonetheless recall how chilly  and painful it was as if hundreds of thousands of tiny needles had been piercing by way of my pores and skin! However earlier than I might course of every thing additional, once more: there was one other pause and I believe that is the half when my physique was already completed with the chilly shock response. I proceeded to push myself out of the water after which walked again to shore. One of many expedition workers wrapped a towel round me and as I used to be drying myself off, I felt extremely bizarre.

For some purpose, my physique didn’t really feel prefer it was chilly anymore. Fairly, I felt so refreshed and energized.

Sooner or later, I even took off my towel after which took some pictures of myself on the seashore with simply my bikini on. However in fact… I didn’t take too lengthy as a result of I do know that my physique should truly be very chilly regardless of the numb but invigorating feeling that I used to be having!

Quickly after, I used to be again on the ship and having fun with a sizzling jacuzzi (as if to remind my physique the way it felt to be heat once more).

Outdoor Jacuzzi

TRIVIA: There was a time when you possibly can dig holes within the heat sands of Pendulum Cove so you possibly can get pleasure from a ‘sizzling spring’ by the bay — however that is NO longer allowed beneath the Antarctic Treaty. Therefore, folks’s notion that there are sizzling springs in Deception Island will not be true; and imagine me, even when it was nonetheless allowed to try this, there is no such thing as a means that your plunge gained’t be chilly.

You can even do a polar plunge in Whalers Bay of Deception Island, however the upside of doing it in Pendulum Cove is that when you get again on the seashore after your swim, you’ll get to get pleasure from temporary moments of semi-warm sand in your toes.

Polar Plunge Certificate

By the way in which, I bought a certificates for doing this and it’s most likely the best certification that I’ve so far!


Water temperature was at 1.5°C
Windspeed of 6 meters per second
Air temperature of two°C

December 10, 2017
Place: Pendulum Cove, Deception Island, Antarctica


Polar Plunge

It nonetheless felt like a dream that I actually did handle to examine off ‘polar plunge’ on my journey bucket checklist!

Now if you happen to had been to ask me if I’m going to do that once more, my reply can be YES! — However, I gained’t make a behavior out of it. *wink* I’ll almost certainly do the subsequent one within the north pole as soon as I get to be on these components.

All in all, I’m simply so glad that I didn’t let my doubts and fears cease me from doing this. So if you happen to ever are within the superb Antarctic continent, I extremely advocate that you simply do that. (Once more, keep in mind: higher to push your self to do it than to remorse it later!).

  • What do you additionally love to do a polar plunge?
  • Why or why not?
  • Or have you ever completed this earlier than? How was it?

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