Swimming the Poles and Galapagos – Why Not!

Mags.JPGMags and 3 locals, Deception Island, Antarctica

In 2009, Paul O’Brien and Mags Buckley celebrated Paul’s birthday and Mags’ retirement with one of those experiences of a lifetime.  They headed down to Antarctica for a 21 day adventure.

Simple stuff:  fly to Amsterdam, then to Buenos Aires, then to Ushuaia Tierra Del Fuego and jump on a Russian expedition boat with 100 other passengers.

A rough day at Sandycove doesn’t compare with the six meters waves crossing Drake’s Passage.  The passengers not overcome with seasickness enjoy a myriad of lectures on the expected birds, rocks, sea creatures, etc.  Their first sighting of the massive albatross came as the ship’s engine stirred up the krill making for a bird picnic.  They also discovered that ice was blue as massive ice begs passed by.

Once at the pole, they enjoy several visits to land with special attention not to disturb – so special disinfected boots and strict warnings about nature interaction.

Of the 100, Paul and Mags were in the small group of 12 who camped.  Mags, having grown up in Kinsale, followed the history of local McCarthy’s overnighting.

Later they led 85 (in togs only) for a swim at Deception Bay – in water of 2C.  Three of them lasted more than 10 minutes.

Mags described it: “You can’t watch a video to do this justice.  It is so pure, pristine, vast and quiet.  One of the best experiences of our lives.”

Then, on the way back, followed some rumour of being selected to tango in Buenos Aires in her crocs.

Mags (1000+ lap club) and Paul (500+ lap club) are amongst the most regular Sandycove swimmers – 12 months a year.