The midwinter swim Ė the Docís reflections on the event
What possess people to jump into sub-freezing sea water?
What perverse logic it is to welcome the sun god back in this way? It spits in the face of self preservation and common sense, but I love the bravado that says “Come on big boy, is that your best shot?” Of course it isn’t. He is just humouring us as we mark the passing of the solstice.
So, what is required to pull this feat off?
Firstly, timing: the weather gods must smile on you. As usual, these gods take great delight in trying to foil best laid plans, kind of like booking tickets to the cricket well in advance and having the play washed out on that particular day due to a freak sleet storm in the middle of summer. To thwart the efforts of the weather gods, holding the swim on the day before midwinter at Davis was a master stroke of genius. Ha! Bet they never saw that one coming.
Secondly, you need dedicated swimming hole craftsmen: our team of ice carvers, who are willing and able to play with their Tonka trucks and tools for many hours testing Antarctic conditions, are just the thing for this. Well done! They sculptured a pool of Olympic proportions in a matter of hours, from the dark of night to, well, the dark of night. Such a superb amenity was constructed that it received a visit and blessing from the local Weddell landlord. The last seal seen here was on the 30th April so no higher compliment can be paid.
Naturally, all health and safety precautions were on hand to facilitate resuscitation of the frozen ones if necessary: mobile hot bath, RIMit van with heat and of course, me, the Doc. Other ancillaries included palm tree, galleon for the pool time and lots of onlookers. Costumes varied from the traditional Tony Abbot budgie smugglers, to 'Ninja Comms' and a 'birthday suit'. Our first contestant was Pat (aka Turbo), who took the honours being his birthday!
Again our appreciation must go out to the movers and shakers that made this event memorable. A great time was had by all, just before the winds picked up and the snow began to fall...