Proudly SA Bellamy bares all for an icy dip
South African open water endurance athlete Cameron Bellamy, currently part of a team aiming for a record-breaking row across the notoriously rough and icy Drake Passage, kept things fresh on Thursday with a skinny dip off their custom row boat.
Wearing only goggles and a swimming cap in the colours of the SA flag, the adventurer was pictured on Facebook plunging buck naked into the icy water while his heavily clothed rowing comrades watched in astonishment.
The surface water temperature in the Drake Passage varies from between 6°C in the north to −1°C in the south.
Named after English explorer Sir Francis Drake, the passage stretches some 1,000km between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands and is considered to have the coldest and most treacherous waters on earth.
Bellamy spends much of his time executing astonishing endurance records to raise funds for his charity organisation, Ubunye Challenge, which sponsors an Eastern Cape early childhood development NGO, the Ubunye Foundation.
He recently completed the longest non-stop channel swim ever.
He raised more than $10,000 (R143,000) for Ubunye by swimming the record 151km non-stop from Barbados to St Lucia in just 56 hours.
The latest expedition, which is being documented in real time by Discovery Channel, is being led by former professional triathlete turned explorer Colin O’Brady and career ocean rower and boat captain Fiann Paul.
The other three members of the team are Andrew Towne, John Petersen and Jamie Douglas-Hamilton.
Bellamy is also a passionate flat-water rower and competed at high school and at Rhodes University.
But on Thursday, day six of what the team has dubbed “the impossible row”, he shook off his cabin fever with a hearty swim.
Bellamy and the rest of the team aim to become the first to successfully row a boat, using only human power, across Drake Passage.
The six men try to row 24 hours a day — in 90-minute shifts — and intend to do so for an estimated 21 days. At any given time there will be three men rowing, each with two oars.
The men are dealing with competing currents from the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans, with massive waves and the possibility of icebergs.