I didn’t want to do the polar plunge in Antarctica. I looked for every excuse leading up and during to our voyage to Antarctica trying to justify why it would be ok if I didn’t take the Polar Plunge.
It was in the back of my head the entire trip and it took nearly the entire trip before the moment finally arrived where they made the announcement over the intercom that it was time for the Polar Plunge.
Fear of the Polar Plunge Antarctica
When we got back from a beautiful morning of kayaking, we were told that after lunch we would be jumping into -.5 degree celsius water in Antarctica.
Instant panic set on my face and I told Dave that I was going to video the moment instead of doing it. “No problem,” he said. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
It was then that my mood changed.
Antarctica had been the most incredible experience of our lives. We have never seen any landscape quite like it or had such memorable moments in all our travels.
We were both on a high each day and at this moment I was resenting the fact that the polar plunge was even offered. I didn’t feel adequate and I felt that I was letting myself down, but I still didn’t want to do it.
Dave put on his robe and swimsuit and we walked to the embarkation deck to stand in line. We were told that 40 people from the 107 passenger list had signed up.
As I stood in line, I listened to everyone talk and started to really feel low. I asked them their reasons for doing it and if they were nervous. As I felt the excitement and energy around us and saw the high on people’s faces as they one by one came out of the water, I decided at the last moment to go for it.
I raced back to our cabin, changed into my bathing suit and asked myself “What the Hell are you doing?”
Facing Your Fear
When the time came, I was terrified.
I felt numb as Solan and Val (our kayaking guides from Quark Expeditions) put the tether around my waist. This water is cold and it can be dangerous.
A couple of minutes in freezing water without being saved will kill you, and Quark Expeditions wasn’t taking any chances. We were tethered to the boat and if anything happened, they could pull us back up.
I had thoughts race through my heads. Has anyone had a heart attack from this? Will I be able to swim? What if I jump in and instantly freeze and sink? I had no idea how I would react to the cold water. All I know is that my entire being was telling me. Don’t Jump.
I stepped onto the zodiac and was about to jump when Jamie (the photographer and expedition team member) yelled at me to wait a minute.
He had to fix something with his camera. I freaked out. I mustered up all my courage and needed to jump right now.
I did a little scream and dance and as if Duncan (another amazing expedition team member) could read my mind, he lightheartedly said “I’ve never had anyone die from doing the polar plunge.” I heard those words and went for it.
I didn’t wait for Jamie’s signal and I jumped in before he could take a proper picture, but I had to go now or never.
What it Feels Like Jumping into Freezing Water
As I hit the freezing water, I instantly lost my breath. I felt panic and it felt like my lungs were being squeezed.
Most people popped out of the water and continued to swim towards the photographer Jamie sitting on a Zodiac 10 meters away. I, however, popped out and dog paddled my way back to the deck of the boat in a complete panic.
“Get me out of here” Was All I could think.
My ears plugged up, my muscles seized and my lungs felt like they were being squeezed.
I climbed out of that water so fast, that I barely remember the feeling of being in it.
Dave caught it all on film and my instant reaction after taking the plunge was “I didn’t like it! I didn’t like it!” When Dave asked me how it was, I replied “Terrible!”
Elation of Doing the Polar Plunge
At the same time, I felt invigorated and happy. I would have regret not taking the plunge for the rest of my life and I am so happy that I did it.
Dave was up next and he didn’t have any reservations or inhibitions.
He walked out to the “plank” Gave a yell to the camera and leapt in with style. He got a lot of air and plunged right into the ice waters with ease.
As soon as he popped out, he swam with grace to Jamie allowing for more photo opportunities, and swam back with some kick in his stroke.
I heard the guides behind me even comment on how strong and confident he was.
Reward for Jumping into Icy Waters
After our jump, we were both feeling elated. We walked up to the Lido Deck for a dip in the hot tub and to share our excitement with fellow Polar Plungers.
Everyone was on a high after doing the Polar Plung and the ship was abuzz with energy. It is something that I highly recommend doing.
Young and old were taking the plunge and everybody who did it loved it!
Thanks Dave for being patient and supportive. And we have the certificate to prove it.
We jumped into the Antarctic Peninsula and did the Polar Plunge!
Check out Quark Expeditions for planning your own Antarctic Expedition.