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6 September, 2004

Oden and Vidar Viking - Side by Side

The drilling operation has ended! The last cores came on deck just before 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The scientists will no longer need to go aboard the Vidar except to pack up equipment for the transit home. In the meantime the Vidar has come alongside the Oden to refuel. The drillers are pulling the pipe and shutting down the drilling equipment.

There was a meeting this morning with the three ship captains and other key expedition members aboard the Oden. The discussion centered on the transit back home - via the North Pole! If all goes well and the ice situation cooperates we should make it to the Pole sometime late tomorrow. There are a good number of people aboard who have been to the North Pole at least once; this will be the 3rd trip there for the Oden. In 1991 she was the first non-nuclear icebreaker to get to the Pole.

When I awoke this morning and looked out the window of my cabin was I surprised to see a huge red drilling deck parked right outside! I had forgotten that we were tied up to the Vidar Viking. I took advantage of the close proximity to visit the drill ship a second time; this time I was just visiting, not working. It was a quick walk across the gangway from one ship to the other. After a quick visit with Luzie who was aboard packing up equipment in the science containers on the drill deck, I went inside and up to the bridge. It still amazes me that the bridges on the Vidar Viking and Oden are so open to visitors yet I still feel the need to knock first to announce my arrival, but it is not necessary. All is quiet there in the time left before the ships undock and begin the transit so there is time to visit with the captain and even request a picture with him. He is most obliging and for a time we discuss American education and education in general. He shares with me that he was not fond of school in the higher grades but that while it was not acceptable to his family that he should go to learn a trade, it was acceptable to go to sea. That was his saving grace, it allowed him to pursue his desires and become quite successful as an icebreaker captain.

A little after noon the ships separate and head for the North Pole. We will continue north in an armada, with Sovetskiy leading the way, then Oden, then Vidar, and will join again in the ice at the pole.

Visiting on the bridge with the Captain of the Vidar Viking.

The drill rig of the Vidar Viking right outside my cabin window.

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