Today we were to pass the Arctic Circle. I had imagined that we would stand on the balcony and take a selfie with the Arctic Sea in the background. However, we passed it at 5 AM and we were fast asleep.
Evidently, our cruise director, Topi made the announcement after last night’s entertainment. We did not go. Oh, well. What we did wake up to this morning was very rough seas, high winds and a temperature of 45°. I walked out onto the balcony and quickly retreated back inside. We were on deck 7 and the waves were coming over the railing.
We made our way up to the lounge to have breakfast with Doug and Sue and the first thing I noticed was the tell-tale signs of heavy seas hanging on the railings for those who would have difficulty with the motion of the ship. Once we arrived at the lounge I was very happy to see a beautiful, fading rainbow off the port side of the ship. It is going to be a good day, I thought.
Later that morning Randy and I read over the Cruise Compass and decided we would attend another enrichment talk by Dennis Cheredar entitled: Arctic Circle & the “Laser Light Show” of the North.
Another thing that caught my eye as I read was a listing for Captain Tor’s Arctic Circle Blue Nose Initiation. That definitely sounded intriguing so we made a note to make sure we were somewhere near the Centrum to see what it was all about.
But first, on to the enrichment talk. We ran into Mickey and Betty in the theater and chatted a while waiting for the talk to start. Cheredar spent the first half of his talk on the Arctic Circle. The talk and slide show presentation was wonderful. We learned that the Arctic Circle is at 66 1/2° latitude. The term itself, Arctic, comes from the Greek meaning “near the bear”.
The Arctic Circle passes through a number of countries including Norway, Sweden, Russia, Alaska, Canada and a small island north of Iceland. (Although Iceland is south of the Arctic Circle this one small island that belongs to Iceland is above it.)
He made everyone chuckle when he said, “I like to comment to individuals when they ask that Santa Claus does have Canadian citizenship. In Canada our postal code is three letters and three numbers. To send a letter to Santa the address is HO HO HO. All the children in Canada know that Santa will come to them first”.
He then went on to talk about the ecosystem of the Arctic Circle and the people who live there. It was really quite interesting.
Then he moved on to talk about the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights telling us that they would be occurring while on this trip but we would not be able to see them because of the 24 hour daylight. The word Aurora comes from the Roman goddess of dawn and Borealis from the Greek word for north wind. This phenomenon is caused by solar flares, solar wind and gas particles in the Earth’s atmosphere.
As soon as his presentation was over, Randy and I made our way up to deck 7 because he wanted to do something on the internet. Not a good idea. Within a minute every deck level was crowded with passengers sitting, standing and leaning over the railings to watch Captain Tor’s Blue Nose Initiation.
I watched from there for a little while but wanted to be close to the action. So I bolted down the stairs and found a small space on the floor close to the Centrum stage and settled in to see what this initiation was all about. While waiting I noticed several people walking about with a very delicious looking drink. The drink is called the Blue Arctic. I was told by the bartender that it was essentially a Pina Colada with Blue Curacao. All I knew is that it was cold, refreshing and yummy!
What fun! The captain took to the microphone and said that crossing the Arctic Circle was a big deal in the nautical world, especially for first timers. Evidently, the ceremony represents a rite of passage for young sailors new to the whole experience and that after completing a series of rituals, only then would these so called ‘Pollywogs’ be considered though enough for life on the high seas.
And then the “Blue Nose” ceremony for guests began. I watched a while and laughed as one-by-one willing participants came into the Centrum and had ice cubes dropped down their backs and a crew member painted their noses blue. I sat there and thought I have to do this. I got up and got in line. I noticed that, on some people, the ice cubes were falling through to the floor. I tucked my shirt in so mine would not drop out.
When it was my turn I was so excited. The ice slid down my back and gave me a shiver, and I could not believe I would be spending my day with a blue nose, but what fun. Afterwards the captain and I fist bumped and I was on my way back to the bar to finish my Blue Arctic.
Then the initiation of the crew members who were crossing the Arctic Circle for the first time started. Oh my, what fun!! King Neptune was introduced to the audience and then the fun began. Crew members were escorted to the center of the room and were subjected to having raw eggs smashed on their heads, spaghetti and sauce dropped on their heads, kissing fish, flour poured over the heads and ice water dumped over them.
The crew member who suffered the most was our wonderful cruise director Topi. What a mess he was when he finally stood up. YIKES!
After the ceremony was finished I ran into King Neptune and Topi in the hallway and asked if I could have a photo taken with them. They were both very accommodating.
Mickey and Betty had been sitting and watching this fun activity and and I grabbed Mickey and talked her into having her picture taken with King Neptune too. What fun, what fun, what fun!
When I caught up with Randy, I asked him what he thought.
“It was fun watching people getting initiated into the Society for crossing the Arctic Circle on water. I felt bad for the crew who were first timers who got an especially tough treatment from King Neptune!!”
The rest of the afternoon was quiet as Randy and I relaxed for a bit in our cabin before it was time to head up to the lounge for cocktails with Sue and Doug.
I was not very hungry this evening so settled on the Caprese Salad appetizer for my dinner. Tonight’s entertainment sounded interesting so we all went to the theater.
Tonight’s headliner was Gary Lovini who, according to the Cruise Compass the show would be, “A spectacular, energetic and entertaining show with a difference. A ‘must see’ show”.
We were glad we did. Lovini has an amazing talent with the violin. He held the audience captive all evening with a variety of music ranging from the classical to popular. He was most engaging walking into the audience every so often. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
We retired to our cabin and settled in for the evening. I could not, however, go to sleep. Tonight we were to experience the ‘midnight sun’ and I did not want to miss it. So there I lay watching my clock slowly tick away the hours.
Finally, as the second hand approached the 12 I jumped out of bed and ran onto the balcony and waited. There were heavy clouds filling the sky and I was worried I would not get to see the sun. But then, there it was. I think I looked a little foolish as I stood in my pajamas with one hand holding the alarm clock and the other trying desperately to stay steady as I captured the moment.
It was a beautiful sight!
Tomorrow we dock at Honningsvag, Norway.