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7 August, 2004

First full day aboard the Oden.

After breakfast I check out of the hotel and travel by taxi to the Oden. There's lots of activity and excitement as everyone comes aboard with their gear. Not only personal gear, but much scientific equipment is still being hoisted up onto the decks and delivered to the labs.

I am in cabin # 222 on deck 2, right off of the main staircase. I will share the cabin with 2 lab technicians, Luzie from Germany and Asa from Sweden. There are only 4 females aboard the scientific party, the three of us and Kate Moran, co-chief of the expedition. There are also three female crew members, but we are outnumbered in a total ship membership of 72.

I meet up again with Eva Gronlund from the SPRS who introduces me to the Outreach Teacher from Sweden, Erik Zetterberg. Erik and I will work together during the expedition to brainstorm ideas and prepare materials to bring the research and experiences back to our schools and communities. During the expedition we'll be observing, photographing and recording the goings-on, but also parcticipating in the research. We have much work to do during these 6 weeks. Also aboard is Hannes von der Fecht, the Outreach Artist. Hannes is a photographer from Germany and will record as much as possible of the expedition, and will have an exhibition to show his work after the cruise.

In the afternoon we have a safety meeting required for all aboard the ship. It takes place on the helicopter deck. This is where we will gather or "muster" in any emergency. Everyone has a "muster number" to make sure we are all accounted for. A crew member demonstrates how to get into the emergency suit - it is a very large, orange suit that will allow someone to survive for 6 hours afloat. It's important, we learn, to get all the excess air out of the suit so if you do need to go into the water in it, you won't tip over and float upside down!

Next we pile into the lifeboats so we know where to sit and how to strap ourselves in. This is not a lifeboat like I expected but a fully enclosed vessel, looking almost like a submersible. Safety is a major concern on an expedition like this so the Captain and Crew want to make sure we're well prepared.

At midnight we are prepared to sail! It is a beautiful night as we bid goodbye to Tromso and really begin our adventure. I am fortunate to be able to stand on the bridge and look out the windows at the lights behind us and the fjord ahead. It is a serene and almost reverent atmosphere on the bridge as we sail off to the Arctic ice.

Crew member demonstrating the safety flotation suit.

The Oden departing the dock in Tromso.

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