Local time: 23:22 2016-08-09
Position: 79° 20.02’N 008° 51.31’E
Speed: 8.8 kts
Water depth: 147 m
Wind speed: 15.6 m/s
Air temperature: 1.8°C
Feels like (wind chill): -5.6°C
Sea temperature: 6.1°C
We boarded the Oden on Monday afternoon. She had been waiting for us, with a fresh crew. They just changed, and the new crew arrived Saturday on the same plane as us from Tromsø.
The first day was spent unpacking and settling in. Those who were not in Helsingborg in May for Mobilization Week familiarized themselves with the ship and had safety drills. It was nice seeing a lot of friendly faces again, and there was a lot of unknown faces as well. We’re about 60 people on board. Luckily, we will have plenty of time in the coming weeks to get to know each other!
I am sharing a cabin with two other girls, Danish Trine and British Anna. Fortunately, they’re both really nice and we’re getting along. We have two rooms in our cabin, each with a bunk berth. I was really happy about getting the bottom berth! Anna brought a hammock, though, so I’m really jealous of that. However, those may be one of those things which seems like an awesome idea, but is really not as good as it sounds. We’ll wait and see how it goes. Furthermore, we share a desk, some cabinets and a small bathroom. Our cabin is on the second deck, and has a window directly out on the life boat.
Monday night ended with some beers in the bar. Being Norwegian, I am used to pretty pricey beer, so getting a beer for 15 kronor (Swedish) is super cheap! I definitely can get used to this.
Tuesday morning at 0800 we hauled the anchor and departed from Longyearbyen. I checked the last notifications on my iPhone, thinking this would be the last contact with civilization for six weeks. Little did I know that we had full coverage all the way out of Isfjorden and further north along Spitsbergen.
We had really nice weather, around 5 degrees C with almost bright sun, just a light veil of clouds on the sky. The journey out Isfjorden and north along the coast of Spitsbergen was so beautiful. The landscape remind me a lot of Lofoten, with its majestic and wild peaks. I definitely want to experience more of Svalbard in the future.
Upon meeting the open ocean, we got more swell, which means more movements in the ship. The Oden is built as an icebreaker, and has a large and flat bow (you will have to look at my previous pictures or google, because I cannot send you any). This bow is really good at breaking ice, because it can slide on top of the ice and break it downwards. In open water, however, the behaviour is not as good as ordinary ships. The swell was coming directly at the bow, making the ship slam against the waves. The spray from the waves came all the way up to the bridge!
The wave slamming on the bow leads to some pretty large movements in the ship as well. When we first faced the larger waves, I was lying in my bunk, reading. I heard a bang and a large shake in the ship. My whole body started bumping up and down, and since the berth has a springy mattress, the motion didn’t stop! I hurried up on the bridge, thinking we had started some experiments and eager to see what’s up. But up there, nobody batted an eyelash over the movements in the vessel. So it takes some getting used to, but it’s not so bad. Fortunately, the motions will be reduced when we get to the ice, where there will be some more smaller vibrations but less slamming.
As I’m writing this, I am laying in my bunk (bopping up and down, trying to hit the right keys on my keyboard). Thanks to Oden’s brilliant technician, Axel, I have all my equipment set up, and ready to start logging when we hit the ice edge tomorrow morning. I have my alarm set for 3am, which is the estimated time of arrival (ETA) for the ice edge. We are waiting there for the other ship in this expedition, the Louis S. St. Laurent, which was a bit delayed from Tromsø. Hopefully that gives me a good start on data collection!
We’re switching to UTC time tonight, so as of tomorrow we will be two hours behind Norway time. I will write another post about time zones in the Arctic, because that’s not just easy. But we have decided to go for UTC time for the whole cruise until we get back.
That’s it for tonight, will report from the ice tomorrow! Good night 🙂