Polar Plunge

Our ship’s hull hit the ice at 79.6 degrees North. We dropped anchor and prepared for the Polar Plunge. I was terrified.

My bare feet gripped the steel grate and my shoulders trembled as the Arctic wind blew through my hair. I felt like a pirate about to walk the plank! What was going to happen when my body hit the 30 degree water?? Why did I say I would do this??? What if I passed out? What if I sunk?

I thought about the kids back home at Spruce. I had promised them that I would do this. I stopped feeling afraid and only felt determined. I walked out onto the zodiac. I fixed my eyes on the water. I stepped up onto the edge and I leapt…

I don’t remember what was on my mind as I jumped. I focused on my breath. I saw three air bubbles rise above me as I submerged in the salty Arctic sea. Just as fast as I entered the water, I popped right back up to the surface. I took two quick strokes toward Maya and was back up on the platform. My lungs felt frozen and I could not talk. Josh wrapped me in a towel and gestured for me to climb back into the zodiac. My legs didn’t work and so I stood for a moment, quivering, before he lifted me up and over the side of the boat.

As soon as I got back into the Explorer, I was handed some warm loganberry juice. I bounced around, teeth chattering. I scurried over to the scuba divers’ hot tub tank to warm up my chilly bones…but it was too hot! I clung to the top edge of the tank like a lobster avoiding a boil. I felt….alert and alive!

Photos and videos to come soon!

The National Geographic Explorer hitting the ice at 79.6 degrees North

The National Geographic Explorer hitting the ice at 79.6 degrees North