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Diving under the Ice

Posted November 15, 2011 @ 6:54pm | by TravelWild

Henry Kaiser, reknowned guitarist and ice diver, gives a remarkable video tour of Antarctica under the ice. To cut through the 20-foot blanket of frozen water over the Ross Sea, Kaiser explains “we use dynamite… but we don’t harm any penguins, and that gets us down to the world I love, beneath the ice.”

(The jellyfish slowly and stealthily reeled in by the carnivorous anemone at 9:50 is sublimely terrifying!)

Danielle Woodward (23) is the youngest science diver in the US Antarctic Program. In this interview with the Atlantic, she attributes Kaiser with introducing her to the world of cold SCUBA diving.

When asked what was your first dive like, Woodward described its wonders:

The dive was amazing. We spent the first few minutes just working on buoyancy and making sure that everything was working well. The water was so cold against my face that after just a few seconds, my lips were numb. But in all honesty, I didn’t care. I was so distracted by everything that was around me. The visibility was incredible, everything that they said it would be. There were really interesting creatures everywhere and they were huge. Lots of sponges with openings the size of dinner plates and starfish that looked like they weighed 20 lbs. I also got to see a sea spider, a.k.a. a pycnogonid. They live in several oceans and are usually smaller than the size of a dime, but in Antarctica they grow larger than my hand.

On Danielle’s blog FrozenDannie she describes an encounter just this month with a couple of Weddell seals as she warm up after a dive. Her frequent and interesting posts transport you to the otherworldly life of a research diver in the frozen Ross Sea. Thank you, Dannie!

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