Five specialist NIWA divers were left ‘gasping’ during their recent plunge under the ice near Scott Base.

The researchers were working with Antarctica New Zealand to set up experiments and equipment to monitor coastal currents and the marine environment.

Full dry suits are mandatory in such icy waters, and you know it’s a cold day at work when your dive mouthpiece sticks to your lips. But it wasn’t the cold that really took their breath away – the team say it was the clarity of the water and the rich diversity of marine life under the Antarctic ice.

Photography by Peter Marriott

This article forms part of Water & Atmosphere July 2020, read more stories from this series.