Turkish record holder diver Şahika Ercümen dives into icy Antarctic waters
An internationally renowned diver became the first Turkish woman to dive without air tanks in Antarctica on Feb. 5.
Şahika Ercümen is part of the 3rd National Antarctic Science Expedition which is looking into the establishment of Turkey’s scientific bases in Antarctica.
Her journey is being filmed in a documentary. The nine-time record holder dove from the King George Island in the frozen continent.
She stayed underwater at zero degree Celsius for two minutes without any equipment to protect from the cold.
“l will be one of the rare divers in Antarctica. l will be the first Turkish free-diving woman in Antarctica to dive in a single breath,” Ercümen told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency before diving.
Ercümen said that she is proud to be representing her country.
She broke an international freediving record in the variable weight without fins discipline in 2016 off the coast of the Mediterranean resort town of Kaş.
This year’s project - supported by the Turkish Presidency, Ministry of Industry and Technology, and Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center as well as eight other Turkish universities - will carry out scientific studies over 30 days.
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 - traveled to Antarctica to study the impact of climate change.
Antarctica, the coldest continent on earth, has served as a scientific research zone since a 1959 treaty.
Turkey, which currently holds an observer status, desires to have consultative status on the continent.
The lowest temperature recorded on the coldest continent in 1983 was at -89 degrees Celsius. The temperatures reach up to -15 degrees Celsius in the summer.