Dingle's ice queen Nuala conquers Argentinian glacier
FROM the icy waters of Siberia to swimming across the Bering Strait, you'd imagine there wasn't much more left to achieve for Dingle endurance swimmer Nuala Moore.
Well, that would be an incorrect assumption as Nuala brought her cold-water exploits to another level last week by swimming in the waters that surround the Perito Moreno Glacier at the International Winter Swimming Festival of Argentina.
Nuala and fellow endurance swimmer Anne Marie Ward from Donegal were invited to represent Ireland at the swimming festival along with delegations from 16 other nations.
Anne Marie Heidtke from Dingle also made the long journey to Argentina to support the two swimmers in their efforts.
An invigorated Nuala, upon her return to Dingle this week, told The Kerryman that travelling to Argentina was truly wonderful experience.
"The opening ceremony was in Puerto Madera (women's bridge) in Buenos Aires where we participated in the swim of flag presentation – it's not easy to swim while carrying the flag!"
"The main swim of the festival was in Potrerillos, Mendoza – a beautiful lake near the base of Aconcagua with a stunning backdrop of the Andes."
However, according to Nuala, the real piece-de-resistance was swimming at the Perito Moreno Glacier at El Calafate.
"This is one of the world's greatest glaciers – it is five kilometres wide, with a height of 74 metres above water and a total ice depth of 170 metres. It was absolutely stunning."
While there Nuala thought she heard a loud clap of thunder – it was in fact the sound of ice crumbling and breaking off the gigantic glacier.
"It is absolutely mind blowing to be so close to such a gigantic ice structure – if it had broken while we were in the water there would have been a huge wave so the guards kept us at distance."
According to Nuala, swimming in glacial waters was very different to swimming in the ice holes and lakes of Russia.
"Cruising past the Perito Moreno Glacier in your swimming togs and goggles is mind-blowing," she said.
"The ice was very cold but we were distracted from the pain by taking a moment to realise where we actually were!"
The swimming festival was supported by the Perfectura (the Argentinean Navy and the Coastguard) who also supplied recovery tents for ice swimmers emerging from the water. Nuala and her comrades were also treated to a tour of the Casa Rosada and the Presidential Palace and she got to stand on the Presidential Balcony as Eva Peron once did.
She also visited the Mendoza Football Stadium and also attended a press conference in the Government buildings where the delegations greeted by ambassadorial representatives of ambassadors and also Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"The event was organised by Matias Ola and his team of Unir el Monde and this was the first event of cold water swimming in Argentina," said Nuala.
"It was an amazing experience."