WATCH: Crazy Australians swimming in the icy waters of Antarctica to mark the winter solstice

Robert Bonney/Australian Antarctic Division

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the southern hemisphere.

And in Antarctica, 15 Australian expeditioners at Davis station are celebrating with an icy dip in freezing waters, a now traditional midwinter swim.

The air temperature is hovering at -33.5°C and the water temperature about -1.8°C.

Image: Daleen Koch/Australian Antarctic Division

Davis Station Leader Kirsten le Mar says midwinter’s day is the halfway point for expeditioners wintering on the continent and a highlight of the Antarctic calendar.

“After three weeks of darkness, today marks the beginning of longer days in Antarctica, although it will still be 19 days before the sun starts to peek above the horizon here at Davis,” says Dr le Mar.

Watch the midwinter antics at Davis:

The tradition of midwinter celebrations dates back to the heroic era of exploration more than a century ago and is celebrated by expeditioners of all nationalities living on the continent.

At Australia’s Mawson station, a sea ice golf competition is being held and expeditioners will perform a play at Casey station.

The team on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island are celebrating the return of longer days with a double swim in the Southern Ocean.

A total of 68 expeditioners are living and working in Antarctica and on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island in support of the Australian Antarctic program this winter.

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