Crossing the Line

There is an invisible line out there, irrelevant except for purposes of astronomy and bragging rights. The Antarctic Circle lies at 66 33’45.7” south of the Equator and marks the northernmost latitude where the sun officially remains above the horizon for at least 24 hours. Of course, with atmospheric lensing, indeterminate twilight and the arbitrary consideration of the sun as a point source of light, “above the horizon” is a purely arbitrary definition.

But we do love our definitions, don’t we?

Our Drake crossing was ridiculously uneventful – “Drake Lake” is how the OAEs describe it. We made landfall off Renaud Island and are now tracing the peninsula southbound to the Matha Strait, where we’re going to duck in to do some water and plankton samples. Some time between now and then, we’re going to cross that magical, irrelevant line, and most likely have a little ritual celebration. Because in addition to definitions, we love rituals. And celebrations.

The wind is at our back, and the deck is warm to the touch from mid-day sun; it’s positively t-shirt weather out on the bow, and I have to constantly remind myself that I’ve got a job I’m supposed to be doing. To be fair, I am doing it, but you can’t run twelve hour shifts, seven days a week without taking a few breaks to take in the sheer magnificence of the place.

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