21 July, 2001
Saturday, 21 July 2001
God dag! (Good day, pronounced “Goo dah!”)
Life on Board
This afternoon about 3:00, the ship’s engines shut down way before we were scheduled to be at a station. We were also sitting in
the water/ice at an odd angle, listing to the starboard (right) side. While it was nice to have a break from the nearly constant jolting, shimmying, and shaking, I could tell something was amiss.
Apparently, while we were backing up to make another run at a parcticularly hefty ice floe, the aft (rear) rudders were turned
at an angle that created a lot of stress. Rather than breaking
the rudders themselves, there is a part that the Staff Captain called a “shear pin” (some little part that probably weighs 3
tons) that breaks instead of the rudders as a safety stop. Luckily, it can be removed and replaced from inside the ship without going
out under the ship. Anyway, we were just sitting still for about
3 hours while it was repaired. Although it made dinner much
nicer, it made me think about being prepared and knowing that
there is no one we can just call for a tow or spare parts or anything. I’ve got to give credit to the crew, they know what
they are doing.
Where Are We Now?
It is another beautiful, sunny evening. I just stepped outside
my container into the warm sunshine to take a picture of the midnight sun. The time is 23:45 (well, almost midnight sun)
and our coordinates are 87o55’ North by 66o45’ East. We have crossed many longitude lines to the east since yesterday because
they are so close together way up here at the top of the world.
I guess for the last few days, we have officially been in the Permanent Ice Zone (PIZ) instead of the Marginal Ice Zone. It
has to do with the percentage of ice coverage but I couldn’t
find the numbers. They have been writing the station numbers
and arrival times on the big whiteboard downstairs that is used
as a message center and lately, the initials “IP” have been written next to the stations. I assumed it meant “Permanent Ice” station
in Swedish, but I was wrong. Since the repair work caused a
delay in our arrival at Station 19, I went up to the bridge to
ask the captain for our Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and he replied, “Midnight, ice permitting.” Ice permitting. IP.
Scientists at Work
Today I got to go out on the ice with Johan Knulst from the IVL Aneboda Research Facility in Sweden. He is an environmental
chemist and is interested in the boundary between the ocean surface and the air in leads that open between ice floes, and the processes that occur there. To sample this very thin layer, called a microlayer, he finds an open lane of water near the ship that has not been disturbed by the ship. He has a metal frame into which he puts
a thin sheet of Teflon. This stretched piece of Teflon is then held flat over the water and just barely dipped onto the water’s surface. Bacteria and other organic substances which accumulate
on the water’s surface adhere to the Teflon and can be collected and stained. Johan also takes a reading of the surface tension
of this water, which gives him an idea as to how much organic material is there. Organic substances get in between water molecules on the surface and disrupt the attraction between them, which
results in a lower surface tension. This means that the more organic substances there are, the lower the surface tension.
Since we are working along the ice edge, we are required to
wear full flotation suits in case the ice breaks and we take
Vi ses! (See you later!)
>From Deck 4 on the Icebreaker Oden, somewhere north of 87,
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