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
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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