Friday, 21 August 2009

Day 10 – 16th August

Arghhh more fog!! When is this stuff going to lift?

As you’ve probably guessed, today ‘dawned’ exactly the same as the last two: thick fog shrouding everything in site. Seeing as nothing particular interesting happened in the morning (people just mooched around working on different problems and setting up equipment for future work), I will instead tell you all a little about life on the ship.

The Larsen itself is a particularly comfortable boat which makes sense when you think about the conditions its crew have to deal with sometimes. All the cabins I have seen (I may not have seen them all!) are very comfortable and much bigger than I expected. The cabin I share with Dave is big enough for a couch, two chairs, a desk, TV, spacious bunk bed and is even en suite! We don’t spend that much time in the cabin, but its awesome to come back too after spending a long cold night working the CTD.

As I think I mentioned before, the two chefs on the Larsen, Geoff and Brad cook an incredible amount of really good food. Meal times throughout the day are at 7.30 am, 11.30am and 5.30pm. You have to pace yourself throughout the day or by the evening you can be uncomfortably full! Of course food is not only available at meal times. At any time of the day you can head to the galley and help yourself to pretty much anything, be it ice cream, cookies, cake, brownies (amazing!), toast, fruit, yogurts, muffins etc etc etc. Some of the main meals we have had include pizza, pork chops, saltfish and brewis (a Newfoundland special), pan fried halibut and loads more that I honestly can’t remember.

Sunday is a very traditional day on board. All the officers dress up in white shirts and everyone gets a glass of wine with the lunchtime roast meal (lunch is usually considered to be the main meal). As part of the science team, we have the choice to eat either in the crews’ mess or the officers mess. The food is exactly the same in both except in the crews’ mess you have to collect your own meal whilst in the officers’ mess you are waitered upon. I usually eat in the crews’ mess as there is not always space with the officers.

Well to get back to what happened today, the mist finally cleared in the late afternoon! An ice recon flight was quickly launched and after they returned with a good report, the ship headed north and we soon crossed the 81st parallel. At one point however the ship was halted in its path by a pressure ridge stretching for miles across the ice floes. These areas are particularly thick (10m+) as they are made when two ice floes collide creating immense amounts of pressure, forcing the ice up. Too get through the boat had to, as I described yesterday, back up and crash into the ridge a fair few times before we managed to punch a hole. Some of the ice was so thick; it was pushing the boat around all over the place!

However disaster also struck. The mascot for the cruise, a garden gnome called Hans, has joined us on the foredeck for some photos. But he was not behaving himself and he decided to climb onto on of the ADCPs. He refused to hold on and unfortunately he fell off breaking both his legs and suffering significant head injuries. He was quickly put into a femoral splint before being rushed to the ships nurse. She promised to do her best to help him, and we are all hoping he will get better soon enough to visit his namesake, Hans Island, were we have to service a weather station.

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