Tak­ing a plunge in the freezer

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Brave the chill and take a dip off the coast of Antarc­tica, rec­om­mends An­gela Sau­rine.

CAN’T be­lieve what I am about to do. Antarc­tica is not ex­actly a place known for swim­ming, but I am strip­ping off my clothes get­ting ready to dive into the icy wa­ters.

Af­ter four days of glo­ri­ous sun­shine, the weather has turned and it is cold, windy and cloudy. Just my luck.

It is also some­what dis­con­cert­ing that ev­ery one of our ship’s crew we ask if they have done the po­lar plunge seems to have the same re­sponse: Once, but never again.

As I peel off my outer wa­ter­proof jacket, in­ner jacket, fleece, Ice­breaker, ther­mal un­der­wear and T-shirt, I start to hear the squeals of other pas­sen­gers who have gone in be­fore me. The ship’s doc­tor is on standby with a de­fib­ril­la­tor, just in case he needs to restart some­one’s heart.

Back home in Australia, if the wa­ter is cold I will take my time get­ting in, work­ing up the courage. Here there is no time. As soon as I am down to my bikini and my socks are off, I bolt to­wards the wa­ter.

It all hap­pens very fast. I splash into the wa­ter. When the per­son in front of me dives, I fol­low. It is an un­writ­ten rule that you have to put your head un­der wa­ter for it to count. As soon as it is over I turn around and run back to­wards the beach. Some­body hands me a towel, which I grab and start to dry my­self hap­haz­ardly. As I am head­ing to­wards my clothes, I re­alise I can’t feel my fore­head or feet, they are so numb.

I get dressed quickly – well, as quick as you can when you are wear­ing so many lay­ers. I

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