A funny thing happened on my way back from Antarctica. For some reason, people had a hard time believing my pals and I lept from an iceburg into the unfrozen 28 degree ocean clad merely in our skivvies. When taken on the scale of nutty things people do, taking the polar plunge was fairly tame. Sure, there was the shock of having one’s core temperature drop to 54 degrees and the accompanying full-body ice cream headache that followed, but no immediate peril (unless you count getting eaten by a seal). So you decide; here’s the picture (taken by adventure photographer Glen Delman):
Now, just to identify us — that’s my buddy Paul on the left, me in the middle and my pal Kyle on the right. We had crawled onto the iceburg on the right of the picture, which was probably about 3 feet from land. And trust me, if I had ‘shopped this picture, I would have given myself some bulging biceps and several more abs. But alas, what you see is the moment as it actually happened.
When I posted this photo on my website a while back, I was amazed at the amount of vitriol I received from complete strangers (how did they find it anyway?) It’s a fake they cried, invoking advanced NASA-like analysis regarding shadow placement, poorly edited cut outs on Paul’s feet (I can attest they really do look like hastily cropped blocks) and the fact I’m wearing 1890’s body-builder style underwear. I even got a vicious diatribe from someone in Oklahoma (!) in my personal email saying it’s mean and ungodly to trick people into thinking I did something no one could actually do. Attached were wikipedia links about hypothermia and victims of the Titanic.
As a journalist, I’ve been lucky enough to log some time at the remote areas of the earth. My trip to Antarctica was for a piece sponsored by Natural Habitat Adventures (thanks to NHA by the way for sending me not only nearly to the south pole but almost to the north pole on one of their polar bear tours!) For the most part, my job is to capture the stories of the destinations and it’s mostly all business. However, after spending the better part of two weeks on a ship tossed about like the SS Minnow jumping into the briny shallows seemed like a perfectly sane idea.
So to my detractors I insist to you, the photo is the real deal. I have witnesses and the residual brain freeze to prove it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to send the online edition of Weekly World News the photo of my Grandma climbing Mount Everest in Air Jordans.