Oden, August 14 2007, Position: 77°00’N, 13°54’E
Received from Sofia Rickberg, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
Edited by Jane Holst and Torsten Hoelstad, GEUS
Fair to clear, cloudiness with local clear sky on Svalbard, temperature +4 °C, wind 14 m/s.
LOMROG has started. The Oden left Tromsø the night between August 11 and 12, sailed with pilot on board to Honningvåg on the northernmost tip of Norway to load oil, and then due north. Yesterday evening we saw Bjørnøya on the starboard side, and today we have been sailing along the beautiful coast of Svalbard all day long. Glaciers alternate with mountains (see photo). The ocean is greenish blue, and early this morning early risers on the bridge saw whales and what looked like dolphins. Seabirds are circling around the ship. They are very inquisitive – almost looking at us through the windows of the bridge. We see very few vessels, occasionally a fishing boat. The sea is quiet and almost empty.
The researchers have taken up their stations, containers and winches and are busy getting ready for their work. The multibeam, the 3-D echo sounder, which gives us fantastic photos from the seabed, is already in operation in shifts, and will work around the clock during the entire expedition. Tomorrow we are testing the large winch, the CTD for the water sampling and the seismic equipment. The sediment sampling equipment must also be unpacked and tested later.
Today we had an emergency drill. The alarm sounded and everybody went to their stations on the helicopter deck (see photo). We had to wait a little (warm clothes are essential) and then a roll call with ship’s numbers was made (see photo). Nice and easy – after all it was just a drill. Everyone seems to agree that safety on board is important – that is a comforting thought. Moments with sunny skies were enjoyed by our teacher on board, Carin, during the drill (see photo). She is also working on shifts at the multibeam and was one of the lucky few who saw whales this morning. No, this is certainly not all plain sailing.
Now we are waiting for the helicopter, which is to be stationed at the Oden, to arrive from Longyearbyen this afternoon. It has been waiting for us since the previous expedition, AGAVE. Among the helicopter tasks will be ice reconnaissance, and when its two pilots and one technician are on board, we are fully manned and can head north. In a few days we will reach the ice margin and on Friday we will meet with the Russian ice-breaker “50 let pobedy”, which means something like 50 years of victory.