3 June, 1998
The ship encountered very little ice last night and the seas were very calm so sailing has been smooth as silk. All the science teams are very busy getting labs set up and gear pulled out of the hold and into their work spaces. Word has it that we will attempt to do our first science station at about 2000 hours (8:00 PM).
We are seeing more ice as the day goes on but nothing that the ship would need to steer around or do anything other than run right over and through. The coast of Alaska is off the starboard side and the hills are covered with snow right down to the waters edge. Ice floes are visible off port and all day there has been huge groups of walruses visible along the ice edge and they do not seem to be easily spooked as we have passed within 100 meters without causing much of a stir. I spotted two gray whales swimming along ahead of the ship for a short time this morning. We are getting into northern waters and it feels very good and exciting all at once. We have the dry lab pretty well set up and the ice crew is ready to get out and take cores ASAP.
We crossed the Arctic Circle at about 1300 and the initiation process has begun for all the Blue Nosed Wogs. They will be required to perform some sort of skit or entertainment for the enjoyment of all the Polar Bears this evening. A wog or blue nose is somebody that has not yet crossed the Arctic Circle and a Polar Bear is someone that has crossed the circle on board a ship. The whole idea is to somewhat break up the monotony of being underway for the crew and provide a bit of needed comedy and relief. Tomorrow morning the blue noses will have to go through a ceremony that will culminate with a short audience before King Neptune and Queen Aphrodite. One must correctly answer several questions, kiss Aphrodite's feet, and recite a short poem concerning Davie Jones and lore of the deep. It is all good fun and a pretty entertaining experience. Since I am on the polar bear side of things this cruise I think I will enjoy it more than last time!
We fired up the center shaft turbine this afternoon due to good solid ice cover. Our speed has slowed and we are not due on station until noon tomorrow. Plans are in a state of constant change due to the conditions in which this ship operates and it is very important to stay flexible yet ready to go at all times.
Overall things are going pretty well. The food is good and there is plenty of it. I have found time to get in a workout the last two days. Aaron is taking all things in stride and performing at the level that I felt he would. The dry lab is all set up and waiting for the first core to come aboard. The ship is bucking and shuddering a little but that is easy to get used to. I am getting reacquainted with the crew members that were on Polar Sea for AWS 96 and making introductions with those that are new to me.
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