I have been asked a few times “What is your most crazy or outrageous travel story?” and to be honest there are a few contenders, however being naked in the waters of Antarctica has to be pretty nuts, right? So have you ever gone for a swim in the Antarctic Ocean? I have, and I got my kit off. Is it cold? Of course!! Was it worth it? Definitely. Here’s my story of the day I got naked in Antarctica! Yes I got my kit off in Antarctica! Often termed as the Polar Plunge!!
After arriving in the wonderful Deception Island just after dawn, we had a bit of decent sightseeing against strong Antarctic gales. It wasn’t snowing but the wind was kicking up the same kind of storm Oasis did in the 1990s…
We got to see Neptune’s Window (a natural ‘window’ out to sea, amidst stormy waters and sweeping wind), an old whaling station, an airfield and hangar and ‘runway’ (yes, where the first Antarctica flight flew from!) – this was all at the quite magical Whaler’s Bay.
Once the group had all assembled back on the ‘beach’ after the stroll, it was time to get changed for ‘swimming’! It was no surprise to see Russell Sneddon from Australia going in for a dip first. If the Australians and Irish share something, it could be our total lack of awareness for weather! “Is it cold?” “Who cares? You only live once, we’re going for a swim in Antarctica!” The ‘swimming’ experience was underway. I’d say around 60-70 of us had assembled ready for it, with about half of us willing to go in for a dip. The others on our trip were either on board the boat or kayaking. The makeshift ‘changing rooms’ consist of a rusty remains of an oil drum, or something like that.
The girls changed round the back, and the boys at the front. The penguins were constantly naked. It was well below zero and absolutely freezing. The water, we were told was ‘thermallly heated’ (it wasn’t of course, but nobody cared).
So in went Russell, then Paul from England, a few others, then my turn. I was dressed in my green Northern Ireland football shorts and carrying my flag.
It was so cold but when you are running on adrenalin, you just don’t feel it! In I went, did a wee dance, took my shorts off and jumped naked to the view of my fellow Antarctic travellers.
Literally it would freeze the balls off you. Even Northern Ireland was never this cold in the height of Winter! What the hell was I doing!?
But suddenly as I came out of the water, I held aloft my Northern Ireland flag and in this odd wilderness miles from civilisation, I smiled to myself. Life felt good again! It was a turning point for me, and some nightmares of yesteryear had been vanquished once and for all. It took getting naked in Antarctica for freedom and enjoyment to come back to me. For slightly personal reasons, life had truly made me happy again.
On the way out, the crew hand all the brave swimmers a towel and we head over to put our clothes back on. This to date is still one of my favourite travel stories to recount and remember. I’d recommend getting your kit off on the white continent!
The photos on here are actually the milder ones, a few chilly willy snaps later made their way onto the Slide Show on the boat and even Facebook! Tracey, Haya and Panny were all on hand to snap me jumping in the buff!
There were a few others on our ship that went naked including Matt, one of the crew and Valerian (actually he had a penguin to cover his iced gem).
After that we got a free shot of Kahlua and cream as we caught a Zodiac back to our ship. It was a well needed sauna time! It was a case of don’t stop stripping for the travelling Northern Irishman. Antarctica – been there, done that, got my kit off! I highly recommend going for a dip in Antarctica! Do the Polar Plunge! Don’t Stop Living!
I have an X-Rated Video made by fellow traveller and Irish lady Rhona who filmed me dipping naked in Antarctica (I actually didn’t plan to get naked, it just happened on the spur of the moment when I got into the water!!). The video was actually banned by YouTube! I tried to upload it below as well, so if it works, beware as it is X-Rated and contains mild nudity. I’m not talking penguins!!
If that link doesn’t work, then it’s on X-Tube!:
But to keep things clean, here’s how normal people ‘swim’ in Antarctica: