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Antarctic conservation

2 Posts tagged with the polar_plunge tag
1

To plunge or not to plunge

Posted by Conservators May 26, 2013

Author: Jaime

Date: 22 May 2013

Temperature: -26

Wind speed: 10-15 knots

Temp with wind chill: -37

Sunrise: Still August

Sunset: Long ago

 

 

There are a number of traditional events that take place during the long winter season at Scott Base; the midwinter dinner and, the mini-golf tournament for example. But the time has now come to consider whether to undertake one of the more challenging events, the dreaded Polar Plunge.

 

For some people in Northern Europe, the idea of voluntarily leaping into water a degree or two above freezing is not completely unusual, although to be fair, they tend to have spent some time previously in a stiflingly hot sauna. Most of us however, offered the chance of an Antarctic dip, where the seawater is about -1.5 degrees would simply say No. A brave few will, for some inexplicable reason, immediately think that it is a great idea. But that still leaves The Undecided.

A perfect swimming spot LR.jpg

A perfect swimming spot © AHT/Jaime

 

You know it’s going to be frightening, that it’s going to leave you gasping for breath and completely numb, but on the other hand you also know it’s completely feasible, others do it regularly and after all its perhaps only a few seconds discomfort in an otherwise cosy life.

One of the undecided LR.jpg

One of the undecided © AHT/Jaime

 

Why is it so difficult to decide?

0

Author: Gretel

Date: 20 June 2012

Temperture: -28C

Wind Speed: 20 knots

Temp with wind chill: -55C

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A

 

 

With only one day to go until the mid-winter solstice, Antarctica is a whirlwind of fun and festivities.

 

24-hour darkness has been upon us since 20 April when we watched the sun disappear below the horizon, not to be seen again until 19 August. The solstice on 20 June marks the half-way point in our winter so it is widely celebrated by many of the crews at international bases throughout Antarctica.

 

One of the main ways of celebrating is with a feast of food. Scott Base had an amazing 7 course dinner featuring scallops, venison and chocolate mousse cake to mention but a few.

 

menu.jpg

Scott Base Mid-Winter dinner menu

 

Another tradition is the polar plunge. A crazy custom whereby participants take the opportunity to jump into the sea through a hole cut through the sea-ice in temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius.

 

Polar Plunger.jpg

Polar plunger reclines in the freezing waters

 

We know that these activities go on throughout the Antarctic continent (and are not just confined to crazy Kiwis) as the many international bases send mid-winter greeting e-cards boasting of the delights of their base and mid-winter feast, usually extending an open invitation to all to attend. This irony isn’t lost on those who appreciate that travel to Antarctica is out of the question during the mid-winter (unless it is a question of life or death) so to travel thousands of miles across it is a wistful idea for the sake of attending a mid-winter dinner party.