Monday, October 16, 2006

Manly men or idiots?

I brag about diving in water in the low 40’s. But it’s really not something to brag about. I’ve only done it a couple of times in a stone quarry in Ohio and I think I puked after each dive (biting hard on regulator = headache = puking). There’s nothing manly about being a giant wet shaking goose pimple, upchucking in a port-a-jon.

I’ve got nothing on Dimitri Kieffer and Karl Bushby. They crossed the partly frozen Bering Strait on foot. That’s right, partly frozen; they had to swim portions of it. The expedition covered 56 miles in 14 days, which might seem a little slow if you don’t consider the swimming, -40-degree temperatures, the polar bears, and the 30-foot high ice barricades in their way.

Some of my favorite quotes from Kieffer in a short interview in the latest National Geographic Adventure:

“We swam backwards so our faces wouldn’t freeze.”

“I became more concerned with cracks than polar bears.”

Once they reached Russia from Alaska their reception was anything but warm. They were detained by Russian immigration for… 54 DAYS!

The crossing was part of Bushby’s 12-year around the world walk.

Who walks across the Bering Strait? Who walks around the world?

Man or idiot?

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