By Dan // Wednesday 17 Oct // 17:31:26 // 1 Comment // View
I experimented with various ways of recording our journey from Svalbard to Greenland and then down to Iceland. Eroding plaster blocks suspended behind the ship. Burning card with a large lens, which tracked the ships movement in relation to the sun. Allowing an ink covered ball to roll over paper soaked in seawater in the rough seas. The latter transforming with the use of luminous paint on black card while the Northern Lights shifted and flowed overhead – not forgetting the luminescent plankton glowing in the dark water disturbed by the prow of the ship.
As Wednesday night rolled on the wind got strong. By Thursday morning, it was almost impossible to stand up, let alone get dressed or move around the ship. By 10 o’clock all of us who had managed to get up and weren’t still lying in bed feeling sick and unable to move were lying on the floor, sliding from side to side in hysterics. Such a ridiculous situation every time you tried to move your balance was completely thrown. Even sitting on the seats, the waves and wet floor would bring you sliding down, so became obvious that the best bet was to stay down.
The watches continued as usual but with somewhat reduced in personnel. All of us when on deck were wearing harnesses to be on the safe side, managed to shoot a great bit of video of Matt parting with his breakfast over the side panning round to Brian receiving a huge wave straight in the face (watch out for this on You Tube). After our early morning watch 2am. tried to sleep but couldn’t, the wind had dropped somewhat and we were running on engine, this changes the whole motion of the ship. With the sails up -whilst at an angle the ship is held stable, when they are down the movement is not only up and down but also side-to-side. I tried propping myself in but just could get comfortable. In the end I resorted to lying up stairs with the bench pushed against the other and managed to wedge myself under the table -this stopped me rolling from side to side and finally I managed to sleep. Today the wind has dropped although is now coming at us fro the West to South West which isn’t so good for us as that is the way we are heading -so into the wind. Must admit I’d thought that the whole journey could have been as rough as yesterday, so we’ve been lucky. If clear skies tonight we should see the Northern Lights. Click to read the full post >
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.
Finally managed to cast an eroded piece of glacial ice, something that Heather and I have wanted to do since we first saw them, but found difficult due to the nature of the materials. Any casting material needs to be warm to set and ice melts when a warmer substance is placed on it. This time using snow print wax (used to lift footprints or car tyre tracks from snow by the police) seems to have done the trick; it forms an insulating layer between the ice and the warm plaster mix. This mould is now sitting over the washbasin in our bunk with a small hole at its base through which the melting ice is dripping. I’ll bring back the negative form to the UK and then hopefully be able to cast this into glass; rendering permanent something so transient.
Images: Dan Harvey with ice before casting (above) and casting the ice on the deck of the Noorderlicht (below).
Just found an image I took in 2004 of the glacier at the end of this fiord and have compared this to an image taken yesterday -hopefully these will be posted on web, the difference is obvious. Things here are changing fast! When outside day or night at least once or twice an hour you hear the noise like distant thunder as massive chunks of ice peel of the glaciers, the Kongsvegen glacier we were told is now moving at a rate of 2 meters a day!
Kongsvegan glacier photographed in 2004 during the Cape Farewell voyage.
Kongsvegan glacier photographed in 2007, during the Cape Farewell Youth Expedition.
I have been experimenting with inks on a cut block of ice reveling the small tubular holes that run deep within them like blood vessels. Will try tomorrow to push this work further and would love to understand the science behind these capillaries.
Had a great time hunting for the right block of ice on the second try we managed to lift it onto the small boat, felt far too heavy for the vessel but managed to get it back to harbor in Ny Alesund and then with the help of another crane from a lorry managed to lifted it up onto the quay – a beautiful piece of ice. Wanted to finally carve a clear ice lens but it has been so warm here that whilst carving its been cracking in the warmth, hope tonight to be able to pour water over it so that it becomes clear again then tomorrow if it is sunny… we’ll see if it will burn something….
If not I´m planing to set some ice on fire so stay posted for some flaming ice pics. of one sort or another.
Hunting, collecting and moving ice for the Ice Lens.