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6 August, 2004

Aboard the Oden.

It is a beautiful day in Tromso, Norway and I am anxious to get a look at the ship, the Oden. I find my way from Tromso Sentrum to the deep port, Breivika, and there she is! If this ship looked impressive in photos she is even more so now - over 100 meters in length! I'm not sure that my photos will do her justice, either.

There is a security gate all around the ship, thanks to 9/11 they told me, and a guard checks everyone's passport against a list. I'm officially a member of the expedition and on the list so I am quickly welcomed aboard.

They are preparing for a press conference on the expedition so I will not stay here long. Some expedition members and their families have sailed aboard on the transit north from Gottenberg to Tromso and are still aboard. There is a good amount of business and excitement.

On board I meet Eva Gronlund, my contact from the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat. We have been e-mailing for over 2 months, coordinating my appointment on the Oden, and I am glad to speak with her in person. Also on board is John Farrell, the Associate Dean of URI's Graduate School of Oceanography, and between the two of them I have a wonderful tour of the ship. Up and down the staircases we go, covering 7 decks - both inside and out.

As I live and work aboard the Oden I will describe much more about the ship, its ice-breaking capabilities, its scientific and living accommodations and the people aboard. For now I am content to have my photo taken and to go back ashore, with an invitation to have dinner back aboard Oden tonight.

In the meantime, I'll tour around Tromso. I take the bus all over town - a real feat. First, a visit to the Arctic Cathedral across the fjord on the other side of Tromso. I also rode a cable car for views of Tromso, up 420 meters. I was almost the only one in the car but fortunately a family of 6 came along just before we left and joined me. We were the last car down for a while because a front was coming through with rain, thunder and lightning. I raced to the bus shelter down the street and arrived just before the rain. On the way back to town I paid a quick to the Polar Museum - quick because time was getting short and I didn't want to miss dinner on the Oden.

View from the bridge of the Oden

My first visit aboard - standing on the deck of the Oden

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