Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Antarctic Circle

We all had gathered on the bridge for the big event after dinner. We have steamed due south all day (weather precluded us from doing much of anything else) heading for the Antarctic Circle. Few cruise ships get to come down this far so this was very exciting to all of us and me especially. The Antarctic Circle is @ 66 degrees and 33 minutes latitude. This area differs much from the Arctic circle as quite a number of people live @ or above the Arctic Circle, in areas like Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Scandanvia, etc. Down at the Antarctic Circle, perhaps only a handful of people live. As we were waiting for that magical yellow line to appear in the water (ok, not an actual line but the GPS tick away the seconds) we were marvelling at the number of icebergs around us, how close they all were and especially admiring this really big one off our port side. I ran down the bow stairs to get a picture of it and all of a sudden a big thunderous cracking could be heard. And BAM, it calved right in front of us all. It was an amazing moment in time as in slow motion this huge hunk of ice tumbled into the water and broke up. The wave it created came racing toward the ship but it was not big enough to cause the Captain any concern.

As luck would have it this was the Antarctic Circle as well so we basically just did a U turn around this huge iceberg and began heading back north. The ice debris from the calving was floating all around us and the Captain and his bridge crew were very vigilant in watching all the bergs around us. By the way, small icebergs or iceberg pieces are called "bergie bits". The kitchen crew served us mulled wine and a small celebration was had on the bow. It was great fun and a moment in the small history of our lives.

We were headed back North to Petermann Island, the Lemaire channel again and then points unknown. I can see the draw of Antarctica as I just want to go further south. I want to know what's around the next island, the next majestic mountain, the next iceberg. Alas, I'm not driving.....

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