This blog post is written by my mother. She and I are currently on an expedition to visit Antarctica. Our ship’s name is the National Geographic Explorer and during our ten-day journey, we will visit the southern tip of Argentina and various parts of the Antarctic peninsula.
Yesterday we were offered the opportunity to take a plunge into the Antarctic polar waters. We are 148 passengers on board and over 90 of us participated! Amazing statistic! Ryan and put on our bathing suits and bathrobes with some warm shoes and we walked over the ice from our ship to the edge of the ice. From there we jumped off a couple of Zodiac boats that were moored on the sea. Gosh, it was wired. Having Ryan there gave me courage. If he can do it, so can I! In we went and I’ll tell you, the cold water was soul-grabbing. I could hardly breathe or catch my breath when I surfaced. It was bone-chillingly cold. Like a torture almost. But it was a challenge to face my fear and I did it.
You can see our photos below ( no captions).
In the afternoon, Ryan and I went on a Zodiac tour of the waters surrounding our ship. It was like a land out of time. At certain points, the water was a brilliant turquoise blue, the kind you would typically associate with the Caribbean. Our driver explained that when the rays of the sun hit the ice, of the entire spectrum of colours, the colour blue is the only one that does not get absorbed and is in fact reflected to our eyes. Also, as snow accumulates over millions of years, the accumulated weight becomes so heavy that the snow on the bottom becomes ice. Over time, the oxygen is squeezed out and this further enhances the bluish tone. During our Zodiac cruise, we also saw the remains of a Norwegian whaling ship that had been grounded nearly 100 years ago by its crew after a huge fire started on board. The wreck sits on the rocky beach of a cove which is protected from the wear and tear of the open sea and glacial movement. So the wreck remains, fairly well-preserved, a rusty hulk deteriorating very slowly in the cold Antarctic air.