First Turkish woman to free dive in frozen continent
An internationally renowned diver will be the first Turkish woman to dive without air tanks in Antarctica on a journey set to start end of January.
"l will be one of the rare divers in Antartica. l will be the first Turkish free-diving woman in Antartica to dive in a single breath," world-record holder Şahika Ercümen told Anadolu Agency.
She will join the team of the 3rd National Antarctic Science Expedition which will look into the establishment of Turkey's scientific bases in Antarctica. The team is being supported by the Turkish Presidency, Ministry of Industry and Technology, and Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center.
Ercümen will reach the pole in 30 days on a ship which will not have access to mobile phones or the internet.
The record breaker said she would dive at a spot where whales, penguins and seals have never had any human contact.
"l plan to dive for about 20-30 minutes. We cannot spend more time in water and we do not plan to dive deep," she said.
Her journey will be filmed in a documentary.
Ercümen said that she is proud to be representing her country.
The nine-time record breaker diver said she would not try to break world records in this project.
She broke a world freediving record in the variable weight without fins discipline in 2016 off the coast of the Mediterranean resort town of Kaş.
Antarctica has been serving as a scientific research zone since a 1959 treaty. Turkey is a signatory of the treaty.
The lowest temperature recorded on the coldest continent in 1983 at -89 degrees Celsius (-128 Fahrenheit).
Turkey's first Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center was founded in Antarctica in 2015.
The mission of the center is to carry out research on Antarctica and raise Turkey's profile in the international scientific community.
In April 2016, the first ever Turkish team of researchers -- 14 medics, botanists, geologists and oceanographers from seven universities -- travelled to Antarctica to study the impact of climate change.