Local time: 22:57
Position: 88° 26.15’N 006° 17.38’W
Speed: 10.6 knots
Water depth: 4341 m
Wind speed: 3.3 m/s
Air temperature: -2.7°C
Feels like (wind chill): -6.51°C
Sea temperature: -1.4°C
We’ve been on the ship for almost a week now. I can’t believe it, time is moving so fast! Everyone is settling in, getting to know each other and the ship quite well. It’s a really friendly environment, and quite young also! I’m not sure about the average age of the participants and crew, but my guess is around 35.
Daily life on the ship is very much ruled by the meals, which are served at fixed times throughout the day. At 07:45 to 08:30 there’s breakfast, lunch is 11:45 to 12:30 and dinner is from 17:30 to 18:15. In addition, we have “fika” twice per day, at 10:00 and 15:00. Fika is a Swedish term for coffee break, and usually it’s served with some cake, baked goods or other goodies. I’m always looking forwards to meals and fika, because then everyone come together from working all over the ship, and take a break. By the way, in case you should miss out on a meal, there’s always leftovers in the fridge. Trust me, you will never go hungry on this ship!
My designated working space is the bridge. Oden has an “open bridge” policy, which means that everyone is welcome on the bridge. The bridge is quite large, and has at least 10-15 desk places for people to work on their computers. Thus, it has become my (and many other’s) favourite place to work. In addition, it’s a natural place for me to be, since my data is logged on a laptop on the bridge.
Spending most of the day on the bridge has many benefits. First and foremost, it has the most amazing view of the whole ship. Watching the ice break is totally mesmerizing, and I could do it all day. There is something immensely fascinating about seeing the thick ice crack open and huge chunks of ice tumbling around along the side of ship like as if they were ice cubes. When I come back I will post some videos, it is hard to describe with words. The second benefit of being on the bridge is that you are in ears range of the captain and his crew. That means you are updated on all the latest about what’s happening on the ship. If there’s a helicopter coming (for which everyone stops what they’re doing and watch the landing/takeoff), or there’s interaction with the other ship, you will be the first to know when you’re on the bridge. This also means being first in line for excellent photo ops.
Getting used to the motion of the ship in the ice has taken some time. The ship moves smoothly without much motion when we’re in open water, but open leads occur less and less as we go further north. When we hit ice there are movements of different sorts, depending on where we hit and how thick it is. Usually we don’t hit the ice straight on, and the ice is usually uneven on the surface. So Oden heels (slants to one side) and shakes when she hits the ice, and everything vibrates; laptop screens, shaking chairs, open doors and everything else. In the beginning, all the scientists who had never been on her before looked worried and surprised every time she hit the ice with some force. Now, people hardly look up anymore when their laptops and equipment are shaking around. Also sleeping, or at least falling asleep, while your bed is shaking is an unusual feeling. It’s not a rocking, soothing motion, it’s more of a bouncing-up-and-down motion. But after a week, and some days in the increasingly thick ice, it’s funny what you can get used to.