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Ocean bath

Feeling alive: My first ocean bath!

There were butterflies in my stomach.

I forgot everything the instructor told me the day before. And there was quite a lot of it.

The vast sight of the endless ocean is enough to get even an expert swimmer nervous, I’ve heard. So I took consolation in the fact that I’m not even an expert.


The endless ocean

The endless ocean stretches out into the horizon

The blue green shimmering sea beckons

The blue green shimmering sea beckons

Yes, I know how to swim. In a pool, I could probably save a life too. But here, many miles from the shore, in the middle of a shimmering blue green ocean, and a boat which was swaying with the waves, the slight panic was unavoidable. It was fear, mixed with a heightened sense of anticipation.

I’ve never actually jumped into the ocean before. I’ve frolicked with the waves, like everyone does when they go to a beach. But jump and swim? Never. And jump and dive? Ditto!

Even with a life jacket tied firmly and an instructor who kept telling me to breathe normally, I had my doubts.

But… there I was! Out in the ocean somewhere off the Andaman islands. In a boat in the middle of nowhere. And I’d paid quite a bit to get there.

And that’s how my ocean bath happened. Watching the ocean bath in Cintol’s “Alive is Awesome” series, I can now say that I did it too.


Getting ready for the jump!

Getting ready for the jump!

What a feeling!

What a feeling!

It was definitely an experience to remember. The instructors checked if the life jackets are tied properly. Whether the oxygen tanks were full and working. And then, the boat was tethered to the depth of the ocean. It was time.

I must admit (much as I’d like to say I was very brave and didn’t feel an iota of fear) that it wasn’t my most confident moment. But it was definitely my “alive is awesome” moment. You know the feeling? When there’s fear, but the anticipation of the larger experience takes over. I let go of the safety of the rocking boat, I looked around one time at the mighty ocean, at my smiling instructor and took the plunge.

Next, was the big splash as I entered the water and then went under, letting out my breath the entire time. The water wasn’t as cold as it looked, in fact it was quite warm in those tropical climes. A few seconds later, I was back with my head out of the water and suddenly everything looked well again in the world. I was afloat and I could see the others heading towards the rope.

The very rope which we were going to use to lower ourselves into the ocean. But that is a different story, already told in this tale about my Andamans experience.

The warm tropical waters makes it easier when you jump!

The warm tropical waters makes it easier when you jump!


Jumping into the waters, this first dive into the ocean, getting engulfed by the waves gave me the feeling of how “tiny” I was in the middle of this endless ocean. But there is only one word that can describe what I felt when I jumped and emerged out of the water… alive!

Making our way through the waters

Making our way through the waters

Alive is awesome!

Alive is awesome!

ALSO READ
- Come with me as I experience the village bath experience, the anticipation of first rain, the elephant bath, the “ice-ice” baby feeling and the cold mountain water crossing experience!

This is a part of the Alive is Awesome campaign from Godrej Cinthol. For fun contests and the latest visuals swing by this page).

Ice, Ice, Baby!

Ice, Ice baby: Things that make you feel alive!

There’s something about the cold and sub-zero temperatures that’s both spine-chilling and exciting at the same time. It makes you go “brrr” and yet the chill in the bone also gets you high (in the good sense!). When you see mountaineers climb the Everest, wrapped up in many, many layers of warm jackets or people visiting the coldest places on earth, it makes you wonder – are they really enjoying the extreme cold?

Road to Tawang

The higher you go, the colder it gets…


More importantly still, how do they even dare to take a bath?

This week’s Cinthol ad, where 3 intrepid people plunge into a polar bath literally made me shiver… The very thought of jumping into a pool where the water is many degrees below zero brings on the goosebumps, or gooselumps, as it says. It takes some courage, added with a bit of craziness to pull it off. And probably shouldn’t be attempted without parental supervision! (Or someone to pull you out, since once you’re in the freezing cold water, you might not actually be able to get out on your own.)

It reminded me of an adventure we had in the North East, a few years ago. Though we didn’t actually take the plunge, it was the closest we got to it! Four of us, intrepid travellers, decided to go and visit a few places including Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), Shillong (Meghalaya) and Guwahati and Hajo (Assam). The travel to Tawang is an ardous though very scenic journey, which takes all of the day in a cab, along the most winding roads you’ll ever experience. In fact, you wouldn’t really want to roll down your window and look down at any point of time. Especially, if you suffer from vertigo.

It was March, but never the less, the temperatures in Tawang were already hitting the low digits. Our plan was to take a jeep and go further up the hills where we would see snow and also skirt very close to the China border. Both rather exciting propositions for us!

Misty day near Tawang

The cold and mist makes for very low visibility


As we ventured towards the colder climes, the mist in the air made it almost impossible for us to see anything. All we could feel was the cold seeping through our jackets and sweaters and into our bones. We tried to keep warm in the vehicle by huddling together, but there’s little you can do to beat the cold.

We came across a frozen lake bed. Further down, we came across another lake, but this one had melted slightly – the sun had managed to beat it down. The water looked cool and inviting. But jump in? No way! In fact, it was torture to even put a hand into the cold waters.

A close encounter with sub-zero temperatures

A close encounter with sub-zero temperatures!


Will he, won't he!

Will he, won’t he (jump)? He definitely won’t! And thank goodness, since none of would have been able to brave the cold and fish him out!

We skirted the lake, went around it, even posed behind it. It was possibly one of the remotest, coldest places I’d been to. I was freezing and yet I felt a sense of being alive and whole and what a feeling it was.


Exploring the frozen lake

Exploring the frozen lake and hoping there aren’t any gaps!

The frozen lake

Doing a quick jig in the ice!


So I can well imagine what would happen if I got the opportunity to plunge into a polar bath. But if I ever get a change, I’m definitely packing extra dollops of courage and lots of warm clothes to get into, “afterwards”. And if I survived to tell the tale, it would definitely be a very cold and wet one!

(This is a part of the blogging series for the Alive is Awesome bathing project by Cinthol)

Fancy a polar plunge bath? Head to:
- Lake Hudson, Canada
- Outer Glaciers, Iceland
- Beardmore Glacier, Antarctica
- Northern Borders, Greenland

More in the Alive is Awesome series:
Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

What makes you feel alive?

What makes you feel alive? Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts where I am going to ponder about the feeling of “being alive”. I am sure it’s something all of you have experienced. Sometimes in quiet moments and sometimes in your wildest hours, when you’re exhilarated… When you’re totally in the moment, doing something that makes you feel “alive”.

My heart will go on

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