Lagos-based business executive, conquers fear, scuba dived in icy Antarctica’s landscape

..provides success tips for ambitious individuals

A Nigeria-born Managing Director of J.P Morgan in West Africa, Mr. Dapo Olagunju, has shared his expedition experience in Antarctica on how he scuba dived successfully in the icy landscape of the continent.

Osun state-born Olagunju, who is probably the first Nigerian to scuba dived in Antarctica, added humour to the expedition journey by showcasing his cultural background, wearing Aso ofi Agbada, a native attire known with the Yoruba people in the Southwest region of Nigeria.

He said: “it is almost certain that I am the first person to wear a full agbada Aso Oke on the icy continent. My Nigerian flag was gifted to Ushuaia and now hangs amongst those of other countries at the National Park in the city as a permanent reminder that a man from Lagos made this incredible journey”.

Read his full expedition experience below, which he titled ‘FEEL THE FEAR and DO IT ANYWAYS ‘:

“I spent the last couple of weeks on a science, discovery, and scuba diving expedition to Antarctica, a continent known for its rugged beauty, extreme cold, and isolation. It is so far removed from my everyday life in Lagos and as I began to research the trip and prepare, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fear and uncertainty. Though I am an Advanced Open Water Diver, the thought of scuba diving in such a remote and harsh environment seemed daunting.

Despite my reservations, I knew I had to push through my fear and follow my dreams. As part of my preparations, I went to practice dry suit diving in Silfra, Iceland. The clear and frigid waters of Silfra was the perfect place to get some experience of cold-water diving and build my confidence for the challenges that lay ahead in Antarctica. Silfra was also unique as it is a fissure between the tectonic plates of the European and North American continents.

Then the journey began.  A routine 6 hour flight to London from Lagos, then a 14 hour flight to Buenos Aires. I spent a day exploring the Argentinian capital before taking a 4 hour flight to Ushuaia – the southernmost city in the world after which I boarded the MV Hondius for the epic 10-day journey. Then came the one unexpected hurdle: the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. This notorious stretch is a confluence of three oceans: the Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans, it is generally acknowledged as the most treacherous body of water on earth. It was difficult not to be seasick. Almost everyone on board the ship had anti-seasickness patches behind their ears. It looked and felt dystopian.

Finally, and after 2 days at sea, we glimpsed the icy landscape of Antarctica. One couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at the beauty and grandeur of this wild and untamed place. As I stepped onto the snowy landscape, I knew this once-in-a-lifetime adventure was well worth it. I saw penguins, seals, and whales and felt a sense of connection to the beauty and majesty of these creatures. I dived round an iceberg as well as the remains of a shipwreck from 1915. Though the underwater visibility wasn’t the greatest – the feeling of doing something so unique was unparalleled.

One of the things I took with me on this trip is my Nigerian heritage. While it is probable that I am the first Nigerian to scuba dive in Antarctica, it is almost certain that I am the first person to wear a full agbada Aso Oke on the icy continent. My Nigerian flag was gifted to Ushuaia and now hangs amongst those of other countries at the National Park in the city as a permanent reminder that a man from Lagos made this incredible journey.

As I reflect on my visit to Antarctica, I am filled with gratitude and a sense of accomplishment. I will always cherish the memories of my journey to this remote and breathtaking place. I also learnt a few important lessons that might be helpful to others contemplating doing something out of their comfort zone:

●Preparation is key: Make sure you’re well-equipped and have the necessary skills and knowledge. Research and practice can make all the difference.

●Seek support: It is okay to ask for help or advice from others. Look for resources and support networks that can help you navigate your journey.

●Embrace your heritage: Your cultural background and experiences can be a source of strength and inspiration. Don’t be afraid to embrace and celebrate your
unique identity.

Feel the fear and do it anyways. It is natural to be afraid, but it is important to push through that fear and take action. Remember that fear is a normal and natural part of the human experience, and it is something that you can learn to navigate, overcome, and turn to your advantage.

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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