Two ships meet: Oden and LSSL

Two bows and a sunset (Even though it’s morning!? More on that later.)

Local time: 2016-02-09 16:21
Position: 82° 23.40’N 141° 13.14’W
Heading: 65°
Speed: 0.7 knots
Water depth: 2858 m
Wind speed: 6.3 m/s
Air temperature: -2.3°C
Feels like (wind chill): -8.19°C
Sea temperature: -1.4°C

Today we met up with the other ship who is part of the expedition Arctic Ocean 2016, the Louis S. St-Laurent (LSSL). This was the last day where we would sail together, after the meeting we were heading different ways. Therefore, today’s plan was to load over rocks collected from dredging from Oden to LSSL and to visit each other’s ships.

Although we have been sailing together for three weeks, this was going to be the first time we were able to meet the people on LSSL (we didn’t get the chance at the North Pole). Well, except for the occasional visit to Oden by among others Captain Anthony Potts, scientific leader of the expedition Mary-Lynn Dickson and teacher on board LSSL Emilie Hebert-Houle. Therefore, everyone was excited when we found out about the visit this morning!

The two ships were going to meet by mooring to each other, so we could walk directly between the ships on the gangway. Usually, ships avoid coming too close to each other, as they have a lot of momentum and there are huge forces involved if they collide. However, coming close is necessary when you are mooring to each other. It was a strange feeling to stand on the top Oden and seeing another huge ship approaching (albeit very slowly) straight towards you. Luckily, the crew of both ships did an excellent job on the mooring, and after a short while, we could walk directly between Sweden to Canada, without even showing our passports!

LSSL incoming towards us

Visiting the LSSL was very interesting, because she is so different from Oden. The LSSL is approximately 20 years older than Oden (she was delivered in 1969, Oden in 1988), and has a very different method of construction. First of all, the LSSL is bigger, with a larger crew and more facilities. The superstructure also extends more along the ship, whereas we have a smaller superstructure and containers on deck with different scientific labs and equipment. Oden has one central staircase in the middle of the superstructure, leading all the way from the main deck up to the bridge (seven stories, or decks, as it is called on ships). All cabins and workspaces in the superstructure are reached via this staircase. On the LSSL, the staircases were in different places on different sides of the ship. Furthermore, the “old school” way of constructing ships were with sloping decks. Therefore, all decks on the LSSL, especially noticeable near the bow and rear, are inclined, either alongside or abeam the ship. Even the bridge! The hallways and staircases are also smaller, with lower ceilings and narrower hallways. Capt. Potts told me that the LSSL used to accommodate approx. 200 crew, whereas now it’s around 100 (and still a bit crowded). I cannot imagine how it used to be! However, their gym was much larger than ours is. The crew were very welcoming and spontaneously acted as guides, showing us around. We ended the visit with a joint group photo on the helideck of LSSL (can you spot me in my yellow hat?):

Group photo of all Arctic Ocean 2016 participants (photo by our technician, Lars Lehnert)

After the visit, our paths diverged. From now on, the LSSL are headed further south and west, to work with USGC vessel Healy and do more surveys. We are now starting our return journey to Longyearbyen, with some stops on the way for science stations.

It was a sad feeling to watch the LSSL sail away towards the horizon, honking her horn to say goodbye. Thanks for the visit and time spent together, Louis S. St-Laurent. Have a safe journey forwards!

Lars (Mejlgaard Rasmussen, University of Aarhus) inspecting the distance between the ships.

Shopping for souvenirs at 82°N in the LSSL store.

One thought on “Two ships meet: Oden and LSSL

  1. Pingback: Seismic in the Arctic: Sound can help you see below the ice and the seabed | Runa Skarbø

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