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The 80th parallel north

A boat trip to the 80th parallel north

With fine weather and good sea conditions you are able to sail north of the 80 degree latitude. It is merely a stopping place: there is nothing to see, just the open sea. Knowing that you are only 10° away from the North Pole is in itself very excting.

We were lucky. We reached the 80th parallel north twice: once on the 14th July and then a second time when returning from then first camp, on the 18th July.

Reaching the 80th parallel north is a sort of event on an Arctic cruise. People gather on a bridge close to the Polar Bear Bar and drink a toast.

The sound of the megaphone summoms people who, with a sort of childish joy and smiling faces, come together to the bridge where they are welcomed by one of the boat crew and are offered glass of bubbly or juice to celebrate.

It is here, on this bridge with a GPS that you start the countdown as if it was New Year’s Eve. In this moment, time is not important: what really counts is the geographic coordinate system. 3, 2, 1… the 80th parallel north has been reached!

I drank a toast and said “Happy New Year”. This provoked laughter among Nordic people.

At the end of our boat trip, before arriving at Longyearbyen, our guides gave us a certificate which states that the 80th parallel north has been reached.

The next stopping place will be the 90th parallel north.

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