The Circle

Crystal Sound, Antarctica

In the summer of 1998 I sat in a train in Northern Sweden and somewhere in the middle of the forrest we stopped. I was a bit surprised as there was no station to be found within 100km or so. Only when we continued I understood why we had stopped. We passed a sign saying we just crossed the Arctic Circle. On this, imaginary, line the sun doesn’t set on June 21 (and not rise on December 21). According to the geographical definition I was now in the Arctic. It didn’t really feel like it, a forrest doesn’t look that Arctic, but it was nice. I couldn’t expect that in the next 19 years I would cross the Arctic Circle nearly every year and would make it all the way to 82ºN.

In Antarctica it was different however. This is my third Antarctic season, but I had never crossed the Antarctic Circle. In the Arctic most trips start in Longyearbyen, at 78ºN and a plane takes you there.  Antarctic trips usually start in Ushuaia, Argentina, which is roughly the same latitude south as my home town is north, 54ºS. From there we take the ship across the Drake passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. My furthest south was around 65ºS. Early in the season going further south is usually impossible because of heavy sea ice. This year I finally had the chance to cross the Antarctic Circle as well. In fact, most of the trip to the Ross Sea is spent south of the Circle. Even though the line is imaginary, it was still a special feeling to cross it for the first time in Crystal Sound.

Me at the Antarctic Circle

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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