I crossed the Antarctic circle!
Trip Start Aug 17, 2013
451Trip End Ongoing
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At 10am we crossed the antarctic circle at 66○ 33' 44"S which was of course cause for celebration
To be safe, john, our expedition leader launched a scout zodiak to assess the ice and wind conditions, and half an hour later, returned with great news. An island was found, which people speculated were previously undiscovered, but hour and hours later turned out to be called the mist islands. It was confirmed, however that no other ship had ever been to this area.
The shelter meant it was calm enough for a paddle so we got ourselves ready. keep in mind we are still below the antarctic circle when we were kayaking, and not only had our kayak guides never paddled below the circle, we were told that due to the frequent erratic weather, fewer than 1000 people had ever done what we were doing right now. What an incredible thing to be able to say that ive done. We navigated our kayaks through the monstrous icebergs, some sitting above 30m out of the sea. Our kayak guides said they have never seen icebergs to this magnitude in their lives. Bear in mind that 70-90% of the ice is underwater, So what we were seeing is only a minute amount of the full scale. We paddled over to the mist islands and were greeted by our second species of penguin; the adelie penguin. We circumnavigated one of the islands and took in the views of the penguins and a large number of crabeater and weddell seals chilling out on icebergs looking at us very inquisitively.
After our circumnavigation we made our way through what we nicknamed Iceberg valley, it was the most amazing piece of scenery i have ever seen in my life. Thousands and thousands of towering icebergs, crystal clear water, stunning mountains and wildlife. It was here i witnessed the single most incredible piece of raw nature i have ever seen.
We paddled back to the ship still in awe of what we just saw and then climbed on board to be greeted by another stunning antarctic sunset. Dinner came around and again in prime viewing area for whale watching, we spotted another 10 or so humpbacks playing around in front of the boat
After dinner entertainment and drinks were provided by the on board tongue in cheek musician, belinda, and i tuckered into my bottle of champagne that i had previously won. It was here that i began talking to our assistant expedition leader, lauren, who all but convinced me to join them on the same boat on their expedition to the arctic to see some polar bears. One look at her photos and i was sold.