5 Tips for a Polar Plunge + Video (maybe)

The main question, of course, is “Why would you do a polar plunge?” (ie: run into the freezing cold water in Antarctica in your bathing suit).

Well, when I was in Siberia a few years back, I was told if I went into frigid waters of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, that I would appear 10 years younger. This was a great motivator and in I went!

So I figured if Baikal gave me back 10 years, then an Antarctic dip would give me back at least 20 years. Say no more, in I went again!

The Site

The site of our expedition’s polar plunge was Deception Island in the South Shetlands, part of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The island is actually a caldera (a cavity) of an active volcano, which gives the islands its distinctive ring shape. Surrounded by land on almost all sides, the island is used by ships as a safe harbor.

The System

The day of our plunge, it was bitterly cold and extremely windy. The waves in the bay had whitecaps and we ran past icebergs as we jumped through the waves. Brrrrr…..The extreme conditions made a system for minimizing the pain a priority.

Here’re 5 tips to lessen the shock to your body:

  1. Fireman Ready – Take off your pants but leave your boots inside the pant legs. This will allow you to jam your numb feet into the boots and pull up your pants all in one motion, fireman-style.
  2. Jacket First – Regaining your core warmth is key. Even before you bother with the pants, slip on your parka to cover your heaving chest.
  3. Socks On – I didn’t do this but several women did, thinking it would help protect their feet as they ran through the snow. I’m not sure if it actually helped, but bikinis and knee-highs is not a look I want to be photographed in.
  4. Neatness Counts – Place all your gear into your backpack before you run into the water. Yes, you will be cold as you stand there shivering and stuffing gear into your bag, but you’ll be even colder trying to collect your gear post plunge.
  5. Don’t Hesitate – Don’t stand there thinking about how or why you’re getting in the water. Once you start to disrobe, you’re committed to plunge. Hesitation will only prolong the pain.


The Shock

Our friend Josh took plunge video of me and my friend Dawn. This turned out to be perfect, since we had two contrasting styles. Dawn ran in first, panicked and did a face plow into a wave. I followed next and did a ladylike curtsey in the water.

Now, Dawn doesn’t think my pirouette counts as a plunge, but I beg to differ, since I dunked up to my neck. Watch the video and you tell me what you think:

Insert Video – Just wait a second here. I’m not about to give this juicy piece of video away without getting a little something in return. I’ll post the video, but only if 20 different people write in the comments space that they want to see it. All you have to do is type: “Show me the plunge!” and I’ll bare my butt in a bikini in the frozen waters of the White Continent.

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Erin’s Polar Plunge (not so fast….)

Want to see more embarrassing moments? Check out these videos:

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2012 and is filed under South America.

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