9 August, 2004
First Days at Sea
We are on our way! It certainly feels like we're heading out to the unknown, especially since communication to the outside world will be drastically different than what I am used to. There is a Communications meeting held early on to introduce everyone to the system within the ship and to the outside world. Because our e-mails must be sent via satellite we will be limited to the number of them and size of the files we send. Imagine no "instant messenger" and no "unlimited surfing of the web".
Meetings are being held for the various science groups - Microbiology and Chemistry, Micropaleontology - to get everyone acquainted with the initial science preparation that must take place before we reach the drill site and the coring takes place. As an Outreach Teacher I will play a part by assisting the various scientists and lab techs wherever I might be needed. My role is also to learn as much as I can about the ship and the research that will be conducted so I can relay that information to my education audience. Now I am in the role of student again. And there is so much to learn!
My work space is a large metal container, about 7ft by 15ft on the 4th deck that I'll share with Hannes, the photographer and Erik, the other teacher. It has a small window that looks out aft and plenty of workspace - the only problem is that we don't have much in the way of materials to fill the space yet. This is very different from other work spaces like the Geochemistry lab container that I try to help Luzie set up. Here space is tight and there is a still lot of equipment to unpack. I cut the mat to place on the counters so that laptops and vials will not slide with the ship's motion. Luzie laughs at me as I try to cut the mat precisely to fit - while precise measurement will be an important concern later, apparently it doesn't matter here.
My education continues later after dinner when there is a short lecture on Arctic Exploration to Svalbard and Frans Josef Land by Anders Karlqvist of the SPRS. What a drastic difference between our expedition and those earlier explorations. We have it made with such comfortable surroundings as day rooms, saunas and a well-stocked and wonderful mess (dining room).
We continue to head north to the ice edge - the drill ship should catch up to us tomorrow and we will meet up with the Russian icebreaker at the ice. In the meantime, the helicopters on Deck 2 are tied down and dressed up in what looks like their "Santa Outfits", proper attire for this latitude, about 770 N.
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