Chilled out: Ex-armyman, 75, goes on Antarctica adventure | India News

BENGALURU: At a time when Bengaluru is reeling under severe water crisis, a 75-year-old retired army officer strapped on his shoes and set off to live his dream 18,000km away amidst penguins and humpback whales on sheets of ice. On Feb 14, Lt Col (retd) Upendra Kalyan left his hometown for a rendezvous with Antarctic islands.
He was one of the only 10 from a group of 140 expeditioners to dare to back-dive into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Kalyan was among 12 Indians who were part of the expedition. The Indian team first flew from Mumbai to Argentina via Dubai, before setting sail aboard Ocean Albatross from Ushuaia, a seaport at the southern tip of the South American nation.
The team crossed the Drake Passage, known for its tough sea conditions, between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. “The crossing took 36 hours, during which several passengers experienced seasickness,” he said.
The ship anchored a few kilometres off the shore of the main island of Antarctica, from where zodiac motor boats connected them to the island. This was followed by a trek of two to three hours braving extreme cold and strong winds, with penguins, seals and birds of the Antarctic ecosystem in plain sight.
“Despite spending nights on the ship because of regulations, it was a lifelong ambition fulfilled at the age of 75. It was an incredible achievement and an unforgettable experience,” said Kalyan.
One of the most memorable moments for him was on the evening of Feb 23, when the ship’s captain invited volunteers to participate in the ‘polar plunge’ into the freezing Atlantic Ocean.
“…Out of the 140 expeditioners, only 10 volunteered, and I bravely did a back-dive into the ocean,” Kalyan said.

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