Argentinean Army Divers describe the experience of diving under the ice in one of the coldest waters of the Earth.
It is hard to imagine the cold of Antarctica. But it is even harder to think that there are people who dare to submerge themselves into its icy waters.
The task is not easy, and as the divers of Jubany Station say, they have the privilege of diving there and admire the mysteries of the Antarctic depths. For the last 5 years, a team of divers of the Army travel to the Argentinean station in the 25 de MayoIsland.
Every year, three divers, with all their body completely protected with special suites, get into the cold Antarctic waters to study the marine life of Potter Cove.
During 2011, the diving team was formed by Sergio Arequipa, team leader, Eduardo Escudero and Jorge Rosso. They highlight how amazing it is to work in this unique place of the world and explain that the daily job varies every day. Activities are not always the same and in when climate gets rough they can’t dive and just help with the stations activities.
Every day job
“Our day beggings together wuith the rest of the personell when we have breakfast. Then, we meet with the scientific coordinator in the diving area. He usually comes with the scientist we are going to dive for who explains us shat kind of samples he is looking for. With that information we plan our activity and the way we are going to work”, explains the Diving Chief Sergio Arequipa.
He also remarks that their activities are very influenced by the weather conditions. InAntarctica, it is not allowed to dive with more than 20 knots of wind and they can’t go deeper tan30 metersfor security reasons for the divers and the equipment. Although they are three professional divers, they always dive in pairs and the third one assists them from the boat.
To beat the freezing temperatures, they are equipped with special suites. They wear anti-exposition diving suites, gloves and other thermal protection.
“Climate is determinant. Water is always around the same temperature, two or three degrees, if not it would freeze. What influences the most is the exposition under the water. When someone is diving for a lot lime, he looses heat and the body starts taking notice, especially in the hands, feet and the head. In addition, when you get on the boat you are all wet, and then is when the temperature really goes down. On the surface it can be-8 ºC, depending on the wind and the time of the year.” says Arequipa.
Each one of them remembers very kindly he’s debut inAntarctica. “Mi first dive was the best, the first contact with a place completely unknown by divers. Not only because of the climate, but also because of the temperature and the risks and dangers that the environment presents”, remembers “Scuby”, the way Escudero is called in the station.
Jorge Rosso describesAntarcticaand his job there as a very white calm place: “Here you have time to think in many things, from your job to your family. FromAntarcticaI expected what I see. Here I found peace, tranquility and also loneliness”, he assures.
Diving inAntarcticaduring the winter requires taking many additional security measures. Before getting into the water it is necessary to analyze the area, measure the thickness of the ice and mark the security area of the place where the immersion will take place.
Jubany is the only scientific station where there are diving activities and where professional Army divers know the depths of the polar waters.