Expats in Russia dive in icy waters to help the homeless

February usually means barbecues and beaches for those from Down Under. But over the past three years, Aussies and Kiwis - and other expats - have opted for a different kind of experience: swimming in the icy (-20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) waters of Moscow.

More than 220 foreigners have taken part in this time-honoured Russian tradition since the first Cold Plunge in 2011. So far there were plungers from South Africa, India, Europe, Mexico, the UK, Canada, the US - and of course Australia and New Zealand. The local Russian extreme swimming club also joined in the fun! 

Proceeds for this year event will go to the Caritas homeless charities supported by the International Women's Club of Moscow, which provide food, clothing, housing and medical assistance to the destitute in the city. The project has so far raised $35,000 for homeless charities in Moscow. While it sounds like a crazy way to celebrate Australia Day (Jan 26th) and Waitangi Day (Feb 6th) - it was unforgettable.

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