Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 5: Antarctic Circle
December 30 - Crystal Sound, the Antarctic Peninsula

Vernadsky Station represents the southernmost reach that most peninsula expeditions achieve. Because most ships have less time, less maneuverability, deeper drafts and worse weather, this is the point where they turn back and explore the upper reaches of the peninsula, often trying again at those spots they had to skip over earlier due to weather.

On this trip, however, everything was going our way. We've been seeing a stretch of weather that even the captain and guides make clear to us 'just doesn't happen out here', at least not for as long a stretch as we'd had. And the latest satellite ice pack reports indicate we may have a good chance at making it significantly further south. Entering the fifth day of a twelve day excursion, we certainly had the time to explore further.

Sleeping off the lingering Ukrainian vodka, we were awoken by Rob's morning "bing bong" announcement. It was 10 am and we had entered the Crystal Sound. We had made very good progress through the night and we would, in a half hour, be crossing the Antarctic Circle. Beneath the circle, and so close to the Southern Summer solstice, we would be experiencing 24-hour days of sunlight. Medium-high in the sky during the day, the sun would henceforth skip just above the horizon throughout the nighttime hours. Only one star will be stealing the show here for months.

Up! Up on deck. We would meet at the bow and fire the horn as we broke through the circle.

For all the sites we had yet seen, this morning was remarkable for the stillness and clarity imbuing everything as we glided silently through a seascape seemly frozen in time.

Iceflow Soup

Iceflow Soup - The view that first greeted us when we got up to the deck after Tim woke us all out. Ice EVERYWHERE as we approached the Antarctic Circle. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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On The Ice

On The Ice - A whole lot of ice around our boat. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Barack Leads The Way

Barack Leads The Way - Obama Penguin leading our way across the Antarctic Circle. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Antarctic Circle

Antarctic Circle - Here we are celebrating crossing the Antarctic Circle! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends - We took this photo just after we crossed the Antarctic circle into the zone of almost constant sunlight! Here we are surrounded by broken up iceflow. Front row: Heather, Captain Martin, Brian, Sara, Back Row: Noah, Patricia, Paulyn, Peng, Daveen, Barak Penguin, Alan, Kevin, Me, Ingrid - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Thumbs Up Antarctica

Thumbs Up Antarctica - Captain Martin was having fun with my wide angle lens. Here is our guide Tim and myself enjoying a beautiful sunny warm day in Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Antarctic Circle Crew

Antarctic Circle Crew - Kevin, Tim and Myself now in the Antarctic Circle! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Lying Down On The Job

Lying Down On The Job - Sara and Brian enjoying the sun but still rather tired from our introduction to glacial vodka at Vernadsky the night before!! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants - Rob and Tim our awesome, amazing, incredible naturalist and expedition leader!! They worked hard to make our entire trip incredible. Exhausting, but incredible!! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Antarctic Outdoor Dining

Antarctic Outdoor Dining - They day was so beautiful and warm that we ate on the back deck. It was wonderful! It was about 45 degrees out. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Gerome is Awesome

Gerome is Awesome - Gerome is our awesome chef. Here Gerome has laid out a awesome lunch spread of hot dogs and salads which is also awesome. Why might this be awesome, well let me tell you. Our entire trip Gerome fed us too much food and we all don't have the will power to turn down his amazing 5 course meals all plated beautifully and tasting amazing. Since everyone was a bit out of it from Vernadsky the night before we convinced Gerome that a simple meal was what we needed. He did great. However I do believe this was the only simple meal on the whole trip. Gotta love Gerome! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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In Our Wake

In Our Wake - The view we are passing by as we now cruise inside the Antarctic Circle - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Hanse Exploring

Hanse Exploring - Lounging on the back deck of our ship the Hanse Explorer as we travel through the Crystal Sound, Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Deep Blue

Deep Blue - Beautiful Iceberg seen above and below the water in the Crystal Sound, Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Pierce

Pierce - A beautiful iceberg on a beautiful blue day in the Crystal Sound, Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Read the next chapter: Day 5: Polar Plunge


Table of Contents:

Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009

Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009

Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009

Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009

Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009

Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009

Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009

Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009

Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009

Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009

Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009

Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009

Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009

Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009

Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009

Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009

Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009

» Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009

Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009

Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009

Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009

Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009

Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009

Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009

Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009

Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009

Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009

Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009

Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009

Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009

Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009

Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009

Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010

Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011

More chapters posted every few days...



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