A file picture of people taking a dip in the icy waters of the Strait of Magellan to celebrate the arrival of the austral winter in Punta Arenas, Chile. EFE/FILE/Sebastián Silva

13,000 people mark austral winter with dip in Strait of Magellan

Punta Arenas, Chile, Jul 8 (EFE).- More than 13,000 people on Saturday marked the arrival of the austral winter with a dip in the icy waters of the Strait of Magellan, at sub-zero temperatures, in an annual event that draws thousands of tourists every year to the city of Punta Arenas, in southern Chile.

A first batch of 6,000 bathers, following a special warm up to fight the freezing temperatures in the water, entered the waters named after Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, the first European to sail through these waters 600 years ago.

“We were at three degrees below zero, and we see that it is not an impediment for this event to continue to grow, with the collaboration of the companies, into a tourist attraction and a party for the city,” the city’s mayor, Claudio Radonich, said in a statement.

“We saw a record number of people, including spectators and those who entered the water, about 15 thousand people, and what we have always said about it being a party in the whole city,” added Radonich, who was among the ones to take the icy bath.

As every year, the participants included people irrespective of gender or age, among them children and the elderly. EFE