Day 5: Crossing the Circle

The day we crossed the circle! We were all excited–passengers and crew alike, because it was the crew’s first crossing this season. Earlier in the season there is too much ice to get this far south. (Plusses to going in February–less ice and lots of whale activity.)

On this morning, we woke up to clear blue skies and bright sunshine. The night before, Alex had told us we expected to cross the Antarctic Circle–at 66 degrees (hence the name of this blog) and 33 minutes–at about 8am, so they would be holding breakfast until after so we could all be out on the deck for it. But during the wake-up call at 7:30, Alex reported that we’d been slowed down by ice overnight, so we would not reach the circle until about 8:45am. They would continue to hold breakfast and do a celebratory brunch after we crossed.

I was up on deck by 8am.
There was a little bit of snow from the night before.
More people started heading outside as the we approached the circle. The captain announced that we were fifteen minutes from crossing. Then five minutes. Then one minute! He joked, “You all see that dotted line, right?” Then he counted down: “10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1!” And he blew the ship’s horn a couple of times, and everyone cheered.
And then the next thing we knew, a bunch of the expedition team were running out in costumes and demanding that we deliver our leader to them.
That would be Alex, who came out down from where he’d been on the bridge and is kneeling here. First they poured (cold) sea water on his head, then they made him kiss a krill (a stuffed animal version), and then they smeared “penguin poop” on his forehead.
After they were done with Alex, they invited all of us to join too.


Jeff having water poured over his head. You can see the krill in someone’s hand, too.


The “penguin poop” smear

They also gave us shots of vodka after. As my fellow traveler Kristine said, “Every time I do something stupid on this trip, they give me vodka.” (We would get shots of vodka following the polar plunge, too.)

There was also a flag that showed the date we crossed, but I somehow missed this entirely and didn’t get a photo with it like many people did. They auctioned it off later at the end of the trip.

Meanwhile, my Uncle Allen had another idea. In 1999 he biked from Dayton, Ohio, to the Arctic Circle in Alaska, which took two months. He has a photo of himself biking across the circle there, so when we spotted a couple of bikes stored in an out-of-the-way spot on the ship, he decided to bike across the Antarctic Circle, too. That was an unexpected bonus! (Next up: biking across the equator?)
Eventually it was time for breakfast, and then we hoped to have a landing on Detaille Island, but it was not to be. Scenic cruising instead!

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