Svalbard

Posts from Tuesday 25 September, 2007

Random thoughts while pondering which “o” in Noorderlicht is silent

By Ben // Tuesday 25 Sep // 23:03:57 // 5 Comments // View

–Our “watch” (6-8, am and pm) has quickly become my favorite part of the day. The company is top notch, and I never feel better on the boat than when I’m on the bridge. Rather than feel every pitch and roll in the gut-as happens below deck-working above, steering the ship or pulling sails in the crisp air and occasional snow, is something invigorating. It feels more of a surf, or a dance, than a helpless jostle and tumble, which is the best way to describe life in the cabin. Like a pair of shoes in the dryer.

–That said-there’s comedy, there’s high comedy, and then there’s watching a bunch of landlubbers try to deal with shuffling about the cabin. Stumbles and near-calamities are frequent (we’re talking every couple of minutes) and we’re averaging no less than 3-4 good spills a day as a crew. There will be bruises.

–We’ve chartered a slightly different course, responding to ice patterns and weather concerns. We’re no longer taking the 78th parallel straight across, but rather taking the hypotenuse straight to Scoresby Sund. The upside to this (besides not sailing into sea ice) is that we’ll have more time in Scoresby, the largest fjord in the world, and by all accounts (including Ko’s) is a place of unspeakable beauty.

Now, I must check out to revive the tumbling tummy with a breathe of fresh midnight arctic air above, and to glimpse a touch of the northern lights through the cloudy cover.

(But not before watching Liam land on his arse.)

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This is our planet

By Aminatu // Tuesday 25 Sep // 19:55:33 // View

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Those who dispense a great deal of money for discovering other planets do not care much about protecting our own planet. I simply cannot understand this! Our first walk begins with a single step on a single foot. This foot is our planet. We must save it.

Aminatu, Tamashek.

Dictated by Aminatu in French. Transcribed into English by Vikram Seth.

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Sailing on to Greenland

By Dan // Tuesday 25 Sep // 16:19:39 // View

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Well, where does one start?

The students having lined up and said there farewells to the captain and crew, did an Inuit dance lead by Doriana which she had been teaching them as a way of having fun and keeping warm – it was fantastic to watch, full of energy, fun and vitality. Then they realized that they had to go which became very emotional for many, lots of tears, really felt that they were leaving part of a much loved family. The cross over at the airport didn’t allow enough time for them all to meet the next arrivals, which was a shame. They generated such energy; I already miss their company.

The others arrived with even more language and kit than the first group, which soon piled up to be a mountain of cases, bags, boxes, flight cases and scientific equipment. Unimaginable where on earth this stuff would fit on the ship, but somehow we managed to squeeze it all in. Our cabin now has just enough room to open the door and stand in and I’m sleeping with a box of art materials -my computer and cameras in the bed.

After a quite night moored again in Trygghamna and a walk on the shore to a Glacier, which was sublime, and a much need last step on land before we headed out into the Greenland Sea.

Unfortunately there has been very little wind, which means we’ve been travelling on mainly on the motor, the sails have been raised and briefly in the night we managed 8 knots. The swell so far has been very little and nowhere near as rough as I had anticipated, (although perhaps it’s early days to mention this – as we now have only been sailing 17 hours). We saw a whole bunch of Dolphins swimming passed in the early evening.

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Cape Farewell starts with a wave of science

By Simon // Tuesday 25 Sep // 16:19:03 // View

The science team of Emily, Carol and Simon ingratiated themselves with the artists on board, in keeping with the Cape Farewell tradition, by heading out into the open ocean to sample the water. As well as the stuff washing over the crew we also wanted to probe below the wavey surface. Why? To investigate the present state of the West Spitsbergen Current, and if it might explain the anomalous ice patterns in the region.

This flow starts life off Florida as the Gulf Stream, becomes the Atlantic Drift as it passes by Britain and then the Norwegian Coastal Current heading north past Norway. In its final form, as the West Spitsbergen Current, it brings warm saline water from the central Atlantic to the high Arctic. This water is cooled by the Arctic climate and sinks just North of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) to contribute to the deep return flow of the Atlantic. The West Spitsbergen current is a sort of sub surface (about 20-80m in depth) “river” in the ocean that moves about 12 million cubic metres of water every second – in plain terms that is the same as 10,000 river Thames’ flowing north. The warm water also transports 70 trillion watts of heat into the high Arctic – that’s the power output of about 100,000 nuclear power stations.

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Currents of the North East Atlantic Ocean (McCartney et al, 1996).

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Liam resting

By Liam // Tuesday 25 Sep // 16:08:28 // 3 Comments // View

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Marcus crashed!

By Marcus // Tuesday 25 Sep // 16:06:31 // View

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Interview with Liam

By Liam // Tuesday 25 Sep // 14:10:29 // 3 Comments // View

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Interview and music with a cabin-bound Liam, at the beginning of the LONG sail across the Greenland Sea (duration: 46 secs). Use the link below to watch a clip of the full song (posted once we were safely back on dry land).
Watch a clip of the full song ยป

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First taste of ocean sailing

By Nick // Tuesday 25 Sep // 13:12:36 // View

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