30 July, 2001
Steaming to 90 Degrees North
Monday, 30 July 2001
Lycklig dag! (Happy day!)
Life on Board
Because of the heavy ice pack, many people had trouble sleeping last night. I could tell by the red eyes and vacant stares this morning at breakfast. Of course, that could just be caused by ice fever, which is a condition scientists get after seeing only white for weeks at a time while their instruments get jarred to piles of rubble (just kidding). The problem is that the ship movements are totally random; side-to-side, up and down, jarring, vibrating, bumping, shimmying, back it up, full steam ahead, all mixed up in a cacophony of movements. I was able to sleep and I feel rested but I wonder if a person can really get quality sleep since we are conditioned to wake up when shaken, touched, or if there is a noise in the room. Well, multiply all of that by 100 because sleeping while icebreaking pack ice is like being roughed up by a giant hand, shaken like a rag doll, thrown back down, rocked rapidly then slowly in a big cradle, and then sliding down stairs in a cardboard box, all the while doors are slamming and shaking, wood is creaking loudly, and two pieces of Styrofoam are being rubbed together. Sleep well.
Where Are We Now?
I am so excited because when I came downstairs this morning for breakfast, scrawled on the message board in big writing was "Steaming to 90o North!" It was not assured that we would actually have time to go to the exact North Pole on this trip because of the delays we have had due to the heavy ice coverage. Apparently, the seismic people have called it quits due to all of their problems with the cables until we get over the top and to the other side and back down to the Marginal Ice Zone. It is 10 am Monday morning and our coordinates are 88o59' N by 158o34' E, and we should reach the Pole sometime tonight, IP (Ice Permitting). I think everybody is just going to stay awake until we get there, kind of like waiting for midnight on New Year's Eve, except the exact time keeps changing. Ship speed is maximum 4 knots through the heavy ice and the helicopter keeps taking off and landing. I am sure they are doing what they call "Ice Reconnaissance," which is flying out ahead of the ship to look for the best routes. If the helicopter takes off while I am sitting at my computer in my container, I look out my window and it rises up into view about 30 feet away then veers away over the ice. It is a fascinating sight, every time.
Scientists at Work
Again, most of the scientific effort today is going into getting ready for the upcoming 20-day drift and ice camp. Equipment is being checked and fixed, and preliminary sampling and data collection schedules are being prepared. The chemistry/biology subgroup will be taking seawater samples from 7 depths twice a week and surface samples every day during the drift. Surface microlayer samples will follow a similar schedule. I will help collect and process samples, and whatever else needs to be done.
EMAIL Happy Birthday Karla!
Vi ses! (See you later!)
From Deck 4 on the Icebreaker Oden, heading to the Pole,
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