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In the Davis Strait below Baffin Bay I jumped off the side of an Adventure Canada expedition ship into open waters between Canada and Greenland. We were well north of the Arctic Circle and the water was somewhere just above the freezing level. Icebergs floated in the distance and just a day before, there’d been a polar bear sighting. Truly, there is no more perfect place on earth to do the infamous polar dip. It’s something that Adventure Canada has been doing for generations — the staff does it, their parents who founded the company did it before them, and their kids now line up to be next.
The dip is an optional activity for expedition cruise guests and made accessible to all levels of swimmers with offers of life jackets and and tow ropes — that said, if you’re a fairly confident swimmer, it isn’t hard to do. When your body hits water that cold, it reflexively knows what it wants (read: to GTFO). But here’s the crazy thing: once you climb out, you’ll want to do it again (full disclosure, there’s a little bit of liquid courage waiting for you at the end of your jump).
When I jumped, over 100 other travellers made the same decision (not to brag, but we set an Adventure Canada record), all lead by the company’s Brian Faber who was not only or chief cheerleader but a seasoned pro when it comes to the dip. How seasoned? Let’s just say that this year, he did it in a g-string. We asked him for some words of advice for first-time dippers:
“When you jump into the water, you will get out, you are cold, you will get warm. So no matter what the experience, it’s impermanent,” says Faber. “That’s how you can kind of prepare… Go with your gut, go with your intuition. It’s like anything in life, you don’t know the next time you’re going to have that opportunity. Just do it — because there are a lot of people around you to support you. Not only Adventure Canada staff but the passengers on board. And it’s a story that will withstand time as you age, as you share, as you experience other things. This experience of jumping into Arctic waters will always remain in your mind. You don’t want to ever, ever miss those moments in life, so just be present and do it.”
As for the g-string, it fetched an impressive price at an on-board charity auction later that week.