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Crossing the Antarctic Circle

There are a few lines on the globe that are noteworthy in the maritime world for those who cross them. The Equator is perhaps the most well-known. These important "line crossings" come with notorious traditions, especially in the navy, said to have been created to boost morale or as a test for newer sailors to ensure that they were capable enough to handle the imminent rough seas. Many of these traditions have been carried over into the passenger cruise world, as seen in the photos below.

We were lucky enough to join the ranks of the few who can say they have crossed the Antarctic Polar Circle. On March 2nd, we crossed 66 degrees south. This line is the northern limit at which the summer sun remains above the horizon (or in winter, below the horizon) for 24 hours. 

There is no traditional ceremony for crossing the Antarctic Polar Circle, but that did not stop our expedition team and ship crew from borrowing a few ideas from the Equator-crossing shindig and putting on a comical display led by King Neptune, who was accompanied by mermaids, pirates, and more. A trial was held with silly, made-up infractions that various members of the crew had committed. It was up to the jury of passengers to ultimately decide their fate, which most of the time led to them "kissing the fish" as punishment. Yes, it was indeed a real (dead) fish.

A champagne toast was made, silly photos were taken, a lovely speech was given by the captain, and many brave passengers gave into peer pressure from the constant chants of "KISS THE FISH" - myself included.

After all was said and done, our entire ship are now members of the "Order of the Selkie" as we have crossed the Antarctic Polar Circle.

Crossing the Antarctic Circle Ceremony
Crossing the Antarctic Circle Ceremony (Molly Hutchison)

Circle Crossing Ceremony - a maritime tradition
Circle Crossing Ceremony - a maritime tradition (Molly Hutchison)


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