Diving in freezing water (the water temperature was -1.86 C or 28.65 F) can be tricky... Diving from the sea ice of McMurdo Sound was heaven for me, since I detest boats. Doing a dive was as simple as loading one of our tracked vehicles, driving to a heated hut over a hole in the ice, and jumping into the water.
Not all dives were as comfortable. We spent cold days at the ice edge, when the saliva in my mask immediately turned to ice (you spit into the mask before diving to prevent it from fogging up during the dive). I had to put on my gear without seeing, then clear the mask once I was in the water. If I lifted my head out of the water for more than a few seconds, the water would again freeze until I put my head back under.
Until recently, scientists thought that Antarctica's water, like the Arctic's, supported a relatively low diversity of life. But these southern seas are proving to be full of surprises. It was undoubtedly the most difficult place that I have ever worked, but it was rich in extraordinary life, unexpectedly colorful and filled with the eerie symphonies of Weddell Seals. I was captivated by the magic of this pristine place