August 10, 2010 North of the arctic circle dip!
When you are living at 78 degrees north latitude (and change) for a good part of the summer, you must take the polar dip! Isfjord Radio will validate a polar dip with a certificate but of course that is not why I did it! (oh, really? some of my companions may question).
Latitude lines are the imaginary lines circling around a globe which are parallel to the equator. There are 5 latitude lines that are so special they actually have names in addition to numbers. 1) the equator- it divides the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere, latitude is 0 degrees, 2) and 3) tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn, 23 deg 26' 21' ' north and south respectively, 4) and 5) Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle 66 deg 33' 39' ' north and south respectively. Latitude is divided into degrees: 0 at the equator and 90 degrees at the poles. Each degree is divided into 60 minutes ' and then again into 60 seconds ' ' so you can see up to 3 numbers for each location. The sign at Isfjord radio is 78 deg 4 minutes latitude north of the equator and 13 deg 38 minutes east of the prime meridian.
The arctic circle marks the most south place where there is at least on day where there is a 24 hour sunlit day (polar day) and at least one day where there is 24 hours of dark (polar night). The tropic of Cancer and Capricorn mark the most north and south points of latitude where the sun is directly overhead.
Today Kamilla and I walked the 50 yards to the ocean and I jumped into the arctic ocean. Kamilla measured the water temperature (to authenticate for my certificate) of 3.1 degree Celsius which is equal to 37.58 degree Fahrenheit. Kamilla also watched for polar bears. It did not feel as cold as I thought it would feel. Fortunately, it was a very nice day so I went in a second time for the photo opp.
After dinner, some of the students went out and played a Norwegian game called Kubb. It involves throwing sticks to try and knock over other sticks.
I went out to the point where the light house is located and watched the birds fly in a pattern overhead. It is very interesting because the birds just seem to be out there enjoying the polar day and catching some of the drafts around the cliffs. They fly back and forth in a figure 8 pattern. After I stood there a couple of miniutes the Northern fulmar birds become very curious and try and get a closer look.
If there were sunsets, the lighthouse point would be a beautful place to watch them. It is now midnight at Kapp Linne.