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Divers brave freezing temperatures during plunge in icy Tasmanian lake

By Mahalia Carter, Sunday August 11, 2019 - 10:40 EST
ABC licensed image
Mount Field has been blanketed in snow this weekend. - ABC licensed

As the rain poured down amid freezing conditions in Tasmania yesterday morning, most Tasmanians stayed snuggled up in bed.

But not some members of the University of Tasmania Dive Club who instead opted to go for a dip in an icy mountain lake.

A wintry blast has

With the ocean too rough on Saturday, five club members headed towards the snow, deciding Mount Field's Lake Dobson — 1,000 metres above sea level — was an ideal place for a dive.

Given the harsh conditions, only experienced divers with thermally-insulated dry suits were in on the adventure.

Diver Andrew Bain said the club did a similar trip to the lake in summer, but with the air temperature yesterday hovering about 0 degrees Celsius, the latest foray held a new set of challenges.

"We had a couple of gear failures," he said.

"The devices we were breathing through actually froze up and locked open."

"That's something we talk about beforehand, and we planned for that."

He said onlookers seemed a bit perplexed by the team's idea of a fun day out.

"A bunch of people going for a bushwalk thought we were a bit strange," Mr Bain said.

Even with the right equipment, such a dive requires mental preparation, he said.

"Some of the divers were only in there for five to 10 minutes," he said.

"[You have to be] someone who's happy to be cold for a little while."

While the water temperature was a chilly 2C, Mr Bain said it was not all that bad.

"It was actually quite nice out of the water," he said.

"It was interesting to be nice and warm standing in the snow in dive gear."

And his advice for anyone thinking they might be brave enough to give it a go?

"It seemed like a good idea at the time. You would have to be excited and want to do it."


© ABC 2019

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