Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Antarctic Circle

This morning at about 07:30 we crossed the Antarctic Circle.  How exotic and romantic does that sound? The Antarctic Circle!  Crossing the Antarctic Circle is the stuff of which documentaries and dreams are made.  It’s not something that one does one’s self is it?  You read about other people doing it but today we joined an elite group of explorers and adventurers.  We are now proud members of an exclusive club and we even have a certificate to prove it!!

At about 10:00 we started our landing at Detaille Island which was a British Base called Base W and was in operation from February 21st 1956 until March 31st 1959.  Recently the British Antarctic Heritage Trust has been doing some renovations to the interior and exterior of the main building.

We were fortunate to have blue skies once again this morning which presented ideal conditions for an Antarctic plunge.  49 people took the opportunity to go for a quick dip south of the circle.  After all, when will you ever again in your life have the chance to go for a swim... ahem, dip, so far south?  Probably never.

We wrapped up our landing at Detaille at 13:30 and headed further south in the hopes of being able to reach the Gullet.  At 15:00 it became apparent that the ice was too thick for us to make any more southerly progress.  It was decided that we should have a group photo on deck five to commemorate our crossing of the circle and our furthest point south.  It was only when we we were out on deck that we realized that we had a special visitor.  It was none other than HRH King Neptune.

 King Neptune was collecting payment for us crossing the Antarctic Circle.  Anyone willing to pay the sacrifice had icy water poured down the back of their neck.  The consolation was a shot of rum right after!  Surprisingly there was a lineup of eager (crazy!) people anxious to have ice water dumped on them.  Or was it the Rum they were after?  The last person to be baptized was Rochel from the crew.  Actually she wasn’t in line.  She got dragged over!

We then turned to the north in search of a suitable location to go for a cruise in the Polar Cirkel boats.  There was a magnificent ice berg very close to Detaille Island.  Truly this iceberg was a marvel.  It was worth launching the Polar Cirkel boats so that everyone could get a closer look.

Now it is 20:00 and we are making our way north once again.  Tomorrow’s plan is to attempt a landing at the Fish Islands.