Antarctica Dispatch

Journal of my Antarctic experience working to support the United States Antarctic Program.

Polar Plunge


Just like at the South Pole with the '300 Club', there's a tradition here to do the 'Polar Plunge'. Unlike the 'Polar Bear Clubs' that abound, the ideal way to do it is in one's 'birthday suit'. The NZ Scott Base obliged by hosting the event. They dug the hole and even had an unexpected visitor pop up.

So the whole event goes something like this. There's a hut to disrobe. One must put on a utility belt and get 'clipped' in with a rope for safety. The wind was calm, and after getting over the fact that I was doing something my mind said was absolutely nuts, I jumped in. Some people claim there are benefits to cold water swimming. As soon as I hit the water I wanted to get out. Little did I realize that the cold part was getting out and waiting to get 'unclipped'. Finally after what seemed like forever, I was free and ran back to the hut to get warm.

Photo by Keri Gardner

Well my night wasn't over yet. When I got back to McMurdo, we had a little surprise for our 'lineman' who repairs the power lines strung around McMurdo. Brian goes by the name 'Moose', and he's by far the biggest guy down here ~ 6'5" and 300+ lbs. As a belated birthday celebration we tied him up, carried him away (a hard thing to do), and made him wear a costume. Then the imbibing started and continued throughout the night. All in good fun.

Deviled Egg 'Moose' and Barb T.

After a day or so recuperating, he sent the following email:
The folks at home who have never deployed always wonder if I'm just a bit strange, or just completely psychotic for coming back here season after season. I tell them stories of some of the times I've had down here, but I don't think they can fully appreciate the day to day life we live down here. I think the best way I've found to explain it to my family, and friends back home is thus: The folks here are my second family. Without folks like you, Antarctica just wouldn't be even as half as fun as it is. That's reason enough for me to keep coming back here, year after year... spending my time amongst some truly fine people. It never ceases to amaze me that despite being locked away and isolated as we all are, we manage to have the fun that we do.
I extend a heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for making my 29th birthday a memorable one. Well, as much of it as I can remember at least! As always, it has been an honor, and a priveledge to have spent a season, or many seasons, with each and every one of you.
Thank you again!
Moose, the pretty pickled devilled egg


Post a Comment

<< Home