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Antarctic Diving 23 - Back we go Again

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And so the diving goes on. The first reaction of people when I tell them I dived in Antarctica is one of horror, so cold and then you voluntarily get in the water! Well, I've heard more than one person say that they've been colder while diving in the UK than they ever were in Antarctica, like everything else there, as long as you are properly equipped and take all precautions, there's no reason that it shouldn't be perfectly safe and enjoyable.

We were lucky on the base I was on to be able to dive recreationally, and in particular I was lucky as a marine biologist in that I got to do it more than most people.

I'm afraid I don't have pictures of them, but my best Antarctic dives ever weren't under ice or even in fantastic viz, they were in about 3-10m of water while surrounded by southern fur seals.

The fur seals would swim through the sea hear your bubbles at a distance and swim over to find out what was going on. Before long, you would be diving with a small group (2-6) of very playful seals that would start by "hanging" from the surface, tips of their hind fins just out of the water while they looked you in the eye, sometimes from very close quarters. They would then dive down and swim around you, sometimes "mouthing" your fins with their teeth (nothing else to feel them with) and generally as curious about the divers as the divers were about them. I remember a seal swimming a circle around me and swimming faster than I could spin on the spot with all my gear on to keep up with him

Diving on an ice berg is a nice "done that" thing to tell people, but for a truly memorable and remarkable experience, I'd dive with fur seals any day.

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