Don’t miss puffin arrival day! the website had screamed at me when planningthis trip. “On April 14, 200,000 puffins descend to nest on this small grass-covered island.” It now being April 29, Lovund became another essential stopover on our route north on board my Princess V39 Cecienne.

It was late in the evening when we tied up to the visitors’ pontoon, so at dawn the next morning we started hiking, following the signposts towards the puffins. About a mile or so along the road we checked with a passing islander that we were going in the right direction.

Yes we were – but there was nothing to see. The puffins hadn’t arrived. Whether it was because they simply didn’t know they were expected on April 14 or the stocks of the sand eels in the seas around the island on which they feed had collapsed, we’ll never know, but for some reason they hadn’t shown up yet.

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As we got closer to the Arctic Circle, we started wondering exactly what it was. The first intriguing fact we discovered is that although its given latitude is 66° 33´ 39”, this isn’t actually fixed.

It’s position depends on the Earth’s axial tilt, which means that it is currently shifting northwards at a speed of about 15m every year.

But a more pressing concern for us was would we recognise the moment we entered the Arctic? It proved not to be an issue – a monument on a lone rock showed us that we were crossing the Arctic Circle. High fives all round, and keep running north.

At our anchorage that evening, crossing the Circle had to be recorded in another way – jumping off the stern into the sea. Probably my shortest swim ever! But we’d made it: a crazy plan hatched beside the pub fire in Cornwall six months ago had become a reality.

Read the full story in the August 2017 issue of MBY.