For travel enthusiasts around the world, Antarctica is a bucket list destination. If you ask many of those travel enthusiasts what exactly they plan to do in Antarctica, experiencing the Polar Plunge will likely be near the top of their list. At least, this was the case for me when I visited the White Continent a couple of years ago.
You may be asking yourself why on earth would you want to jump into Antarctic waters? Well, aside from it being an insanely awesome way to get your blood pumping, it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would regret not participating in.
In this blog post, I’ll be explaining what exactly the Polar Plunge is, sharing my personal experience with this crazy feat, and providing some insight on how to prepare for a dive into the icy waters of the Seventh Continent. Let’s dive in!
What is the Polar Plunge?
The Polar Plunge is a worldwide phenomenon that involves participants jumping into freezing cold water. Sometimes it’s part of a fundraising effort for charity, other times it’s purely for the adrenaline rush that comes with doing something so extraordinary.
When it comes to doing the Polar Plunge in Antarctica, it’s safe to say that travelers opt-in for the chance to say they’ve experienced the coldest waters in the world—up close and personal. I mean, how many people can say they’ve taken a dip in Antarctica?
How cold is the Polar Plunge in Antarctica?
I’m not going to sugarcoat this one… the Polar Plunge is COLD, y’all. It’s Antarctica, would you really expect any less? While temperatures may vary slightly depending on the time of year, you can expect the water to be around 32º to 35º degrees Fahrenheit.
Basically, it feels like diving headfirst into a glass of ice water. While the water is quite literally freezing cold, you’re only immersed in it for a moment before being pulled out. Between the short amount of time and the adrenaline rushing through your body helping to keep you warm, it’s really not that bad.
My Polar Plunge Experience (Must-Try!)
For many people debating taking the plunge, one of the first questions they ask is ‘does it cost money to do the Polar Plunge in Antarctica?’ The answer is no! I traveled with Quark Expeditions and anyone on the cruise could sign up to do the Polar Plunge for free. Considering how expensive it is to travel to Antarctica, the idea of a free activity is enticing—even if that activity involves diving into ice-cold Antarctic waters.
I can’t exactly say that I was dying to take a dip in those waters before I left for the trip, but the FOMO (fear of missing out) definitely got to me in the end. After all, I didn’t come this far to miss out on a single thing this adventure had to offer!
If you’re thinking of bringing a Go Pro with you, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t be able to jump in with it. Before my jump, I was told that I would have to leave it behind because of the possibility that it would get lost in the ocean if it came loose during the plunge. I was super disappointed, but fortunately, the onboard cruise photographers took plenty of photos of everyone’s plunge.
Our group saw a breathtaking pod of orca whales near the boat about an hour before our plunge, so I was slightly petrified that something would get me in the water. Luckily, it was so cold and so quick that I didn’t have much time to dwell on that idea. My entire body tingled as I climbed out of the water after my Polar Plunge, but I had never felt more alive.
Tips for the Polar Plunge
Thinking of doing the Polar Plunge in Antarctica? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make friends. I was fortunate enough to have made a friend who recorded my entire plunge from the ship’s deck, which means I now have video footage of my epic adventure that I can hang onto and treasure forever. See the video below.
- Wear a one-piece. Keep in mind, that water is freezing cold. I highly recommend wearing a one-piece for the jump if you have one—you’ll thank me later.
- Don’t back out. If you’re healthy and capable of taking the plunge, do it! Not only is it an epic and exhilarating experience you’ll never forget, but it’s an amazing way to bond with your fellow cruise mates.
- Have fun! When you’re feeling nervous, it can be easy to just want to get the plunge over with. Don’t forget to have fun! This is an incredible experience, and it will be documented, so don’t be afraid to put some pizzazz in your jump and a smile on your face.
Here’s a video of my polar plunge experience as captured from a deck above.
Looking for more Antarctica travel blogs?
Whether you’re planning a trip to Antarctica or living vicariously through these blog posts for bucket list ideas, I’ve got you covered. Check out some of my other Antarctica blogs here: