Sheephaven divers provided safety cover for the 2018 Special Olympics Polar Plunge in Rathmullan last Saturday morning.
In truly awful weather the participants felt the full force of the effect referred to a Cold Water Shock, where even some of the Defence Forces gasped momentarily as they jumped off the pontoon and into the waters of Lough Swilly that are currently at a quite challenging 7 degrees Celsius.
This event has grown in extent over the last few years with participants from a number of the States uniformed agencies making it a bonding exercise of the most extreme type.
The presence this year of Irish Naval Defence Patrol Vessel, the LE Eithne added a very real presence to the proceedings, with her ship’s company leading the way as the first ‘Plungers’ into the water.
The Navy was joined by the Irish Coastguard, An Gardai Siochana and the impressive young Army personnel, who marched to the Irish Pipes with the strains of O’Donnell Abu swirling in the wind and driving rain, their collective delight in completing the challenge was tremendous to see.
Our own colleagues from the Garten Swimmers were able to show how their cold water acclimation made light of the conditions.
Sheephaven divers were delighted once again to be asked to provide in-water safety cover for the duration of the event and as ever they were first in and last out of the water for the Rathmullan Polar Plunge.
Finally a word of thanks to the RNLI Buncrana crew, who quietly kept watch on proceedings in their Shannon Class all-weather lifeboat.
Sunday morning saw the divers back in PortnaBlagh, where the dreadful weather had abated and a decent snorkel was conducted in sea conditions that were not too bad for mid-December.