Epic Summer Vacation Part 7 – Leaving the Arctic Circle

One of the things that attracted me to this particular cruise vacation was that it would enter the arctic circle. I teach astronomy to my 8th graders and I include a lesson on time – how it is based on the motion of the sun, the moon and the earth itself. We also cover seasons and how they are caused by the earth’s tilted axis. I demonstrate to them how the days get longer and shorter at different latitudes at different times of the year…. In the Arctic around the Summer Solstice the sun does not go down at all – there is 24 hours of daylight. We had an inside cabin, so we had plenty of darkness when we wanted to sleep, but we went 3 or 4 days with absolutely no actual night! After midnight on Thursday June 29, well I guess that would be Friday, June 30, I went oustide to get a picture of the sun…. It was cloudy…. but it was still obviously daytime.

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We did have one more port officially in the Artic. On Thursday we stopped in the city of Tromso. Tromso is a fairly large city with a University. We got off the ship in the morning and walked a short distance to the university’s botanical garden. I had read about it. But I had my doubts about how interesting it would be… a botanical garden in the arctic? It turned out to be quite beautiful. It was not particularly large – it only took an hour or so to see it all, but it was nice….

In the afternoon we took a ship excursion that visited the university’s museum and then took a tram to the top of a mountain overlooking the city….

On Friday as sailed south across the arctic circle I got in a run on the ship. I ran 6 miles with 6 fast repeats of half a mile each – around 3:30 each… Not all that fast, but it was the best I could do on the little track. The recovery was only about 150-200 meters jogging in between….

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