MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Despite being extremely tired, I greeted everyone with an overly enthusiastic “Merry Christmas” and was psyched for the day. You may ask how I celebrated my Christmas? Well, I did the polar plunge on Deception Island. We were on an active volcano beside a black sand beach, surrounded by run down shacks, shipwrecks, whale bones, graves, and penguins. It was 1 degree outside and heavily snowing, with extremely strong winds. And we decided to be lunatics and do the polar plunge, on Christmas, in this weather.
The idea of peeling off all of our layers alone sounded painful, muchless running into the water and dunking our heads…it was virtually unfathomable, but we committed. On the count of three we stripped off all of our clothing as quickly as possible and sprinted into the (literally) icy cold water, completely submerging ourselves in the Antarctica waters.
Amazingly that part wasn’t awful, it was the getting out that was miserable. Our toes, upon hitting the water, burned and stung more than anything we’d ever felt. Running out, we threw on our wet skins and rainboots (which was extremely uncomfortable because we were soaking wet, freezing, and covered with sand and snow). We couldn’t move, had people help us with our life vests, and hopped in the zodiac. I’d never been happier to see a ship in my life. I bolted inside, dropped my stuff outside my door, and ran through 5 floors of the ship shoeless in my bathing suit until I found the sauna. Nothing has ever felt as amazing as the sauna did in that moment. I was the first person to get there, but pretty soon after there was a sauna party – we squeezed 17 people in the little sauna. It felt that lovely.
I decided to call the parentals to wish them a very merry Christmas and to tell them about my polar plunge. They couldn’t believe it. It’s a cool feeling knowing that you did something that very few people in the world have the opportunity to do and (painfully) experience.
After a quick post-lunch nap, we headed to Half Moon Island to observe a chin-strap penguin colony. They were just so adorable waddling through the snow – and it’s quite refreshing to see them trip and fall all the time, it makes me feel better about myself. We were getting ready to leave when I was told a baby penguin was spotted so I ran up the hill to see the cute fluffy thing. Seconds later, someone shouted “It’s hatching!” Right next to us in clear sight we saw a baby chin-strap penguin hatch. It was absolutely unbelievable – quite a way to end our final Antarctic excursion.
Following the excursion we had a Christmas cheers in the bar and a hilarious Antarctic-themed 9 Days of Christmas sing-a-long at dinner. Despite totally missing the family, right then it felt like Christmas.
It was a very merry Christmas indeed.