Sailing across the Arctic circle there is a tradition…..

Contrary to what I’ve said before, a lot actually happened today. I managed to sleep last night but come my first watch I kept on falling asleep and then suddenly waking up again. I’m not really surprised though. Before last night I’d slept two hours out of forty in the end.

At three o’clock we passed the arctic circle. We turned the engine off and put the sails up for that. There was almost no wind so it took us half an hour to close the last hundred meters to the circle. While we were waiting I noticed something strange off the starboard bow, I could see land! After four days at sea I could see the characteristic jaggedness of Norway’s coastline. It was only an island rather than the mainland but it was still exciting.

When sailing across the arctic circle there is a tradition. You are supposed to all have a glass of arctic seawater, and then take the test away with vodka. Hazel had brought champagne instead so it wasn’t quite right. I had the sea water but then one of those small cans of coke for obvious reasons. I did a little piece on camera for ITN and then we planned to put a message in the champagne bottle, seal it, and throw overboard. We couldn’t reseal the bottle so we poured a bottle of gin away and used that instead. So if anyone finds a green bottle of “Gordon’s Gin” on beach somewhere with piece of paper inside, you know who it’s from. We got video of me throwing it overboard and a few shots of me looking explorery for ITN.

It’s been a really warm day. You can’t go into the saloon without being edible when you leave (that is because it is baking in there). So we’re all staying either outside or in our bunks which are a little cooler. We had hot dogs for lunch and a lamb stew for dinner. I go to a vegetarian school so the taste of a hot dog that isn’t made out of mushrooms is really odd, nice though.

A couple of hours ago Hazel got phone reception so she’s been able to talk with her husband and friends. Just now I went up on deck and Dave pointed out more land! Another Island! Although it sounds odd just seeing land after a while at sea is really really nice. Sort of comforting. I think it’s something to do with finally having an irregularity in surroundings that never otherwise change, or with swans. It could be to do with swans, or fish pie I suppose. Anyway. With a lot of luck we might get into Tromsø in the wee small hours of Thursday. So, wish us luck, Benji out.

Oh, wait, Big Nose has just seen some Puffins. Yay.

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