Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 6: Antarctic New Years
December 31 to January 1 - Blind Bay, the Antarctic Peninsula

With the New Year only a few hours away, we set sail for Blind Bay. The plan was to find some fast ice, sea water that has frozen solid on the surface, and is also attached to the shore holding it in place. We would wedge the ship into it, just as we did for the polar plunge, and be able to get off the boat and ring in 2009 with a party on the ice.

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On the way east to Blind Bay we dipped southward into what would be our southernmost point on the entire trip: 67 36' 65". At that latitude and time of year the sun was well above the horizon all the time, so we'd truly ring in the year with the midnight sun.

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After edging around the island we headed into Blind Bay, an enclosed area that, judging from the latest satellite ice charts would still have fast ice in it. Unfortunately when we got there the ice was rotten: fast ice that has become so soft and thin that it's not far from breaking apart into a billion bits of free-floating ice. Certainly not safe to walk on! We drove the ship into the endless expanse of ice with the intent of wedging the ship fast as we had done the day before, but it was not to be. We hit the ice, engines blazing, only to rise up a bit , cut the ice ahead of us, and continue on into the solid white desert of ice, marred only by the occasional penguin or seal track.

Hoping to encounter more solid ice, we plowed on in, leaving a slurry of ice and water in a trail behind us. After breaking over a mile in to the ice it became clear that it wasn't going to get any thicker, and we came to a halt completely surrounded by thin ice, save for a mile-long track of slush off the stern.

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Nearly midnight now (though still bright as it had been all day) we all, guests and crew, gathered on the stern and welcomed in the new year. The day was even more special for the largely Ukrainian crew, as the Ukrainian January 1st is New Years and Christmas all rolled up in to one, and is far and away their biggest holiday of the year.

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As per naval tradition, at the stroke of midnight the oldest person aboard (in this case, Uncle Alan) rings out the old year by striking the ship's bell twelve times, and then the youngest person aboard (Philip, 18 years old and one of the crew-in-training) strikes the bell another 12 times to ring in the new year.

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The captain had made sure we flew a flag for most of the nationalities represented on the ship (in this case, American, Swedish, French and British), and we all, passengers and crew alike, partied with flags, bubbly and bubbles until we remembered how late it was, and that tomorrow would be another busy day!

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With this chapter, we're also adding a map of our travels so far to the bottom of each page, to give folks a better idea of exactly where on the Peninsula each chapter took place. Check it out below!

Read the next chapter: Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker


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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