Euphoric mood in lounge. Just now expedition leader had talked about next day’s shore activities. Most interesting topic happened to be the polar plunge in waters of Antarctica. What! “The mad act of entering freezing waters with bare body may kill someone”, this was my reaction when I heard of polar plunge.
Few of my fellow travelers adventurously intended to take plunge and entered their names in the list. Though I am an adventurist to the core but polar dip did not find a place in my adventure activities. No solid reason. May be fear of hypothermia as I had witnessed a lady dying after she took dip in icy cold Mansarovar lake in Tibet. But I am a fearless person so that, surely, was not the reason. Leave it. No more guessing. I just didn’t want to do it.
Next morning everything was normal for me but exciting for people who had big plan. Crew carried beach towels to be given to people taking plunge.
Polar plunge was planned at a volcanic beach within Whalers Bay area. Laid in volcanic ash and bleak, this beach was not very inviting but icy backdrop complemented the blackish beach. And that created stunning black and white scenery around.
As I was not interested in taking plunge so I strolled along the beach. My favorite pass time was watching penguins having fun at beach. Suddenly I noticed an area around long volcanic beach steaming profusely. I got curious and touched water which appeared warm. And all changed at that very moment. I instantly got tempted to take plunge. I came back to the particular spot where polar plunge was planned. Immediately took off my polar dress layers. But didn’t take off my top as Antarctica chill was biting me. Moreover, I didn’t want to get frozen even before I entered warm water.
I paced fast to escape icy chill in the air. But to my horror, the moment I stepped inside supposedly warm water, I realized that was not warm. It was just a superficial layer that gave the impression of warm feel. In fact water was freezing cold but once stepped forward no question of turning back for me. Now whatever may be the consequences I had to take plunge.
And I did it with conviction. Though my hands and feet got numb but I cared not. Came out jubilant. Crew member rushed to me with a towel. I put on my dress layers with great difficulty as I my fingers were stiff. Crew member helped me to zodiac. Swiftly I was taken to ship.
Once on board, I rushed to my cabin shivering with cold. I threw my clothing on floor and took solace under hot shower.
Whatever may have prompted me, did not matter any more. I had taken polar plunge only that counted. And that feel made me ecstatic. After all I had left my mark in Antarctica.
MY ANTARCTICA ODYSSEY continues ….