Oden, August 19 2007, Position: 87°30′ N 01°56′ W
Received from Sofia Rickberg, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
Edited by Jane Holst and Torsten Hoelstad, GEUS
The weather: overcast, 0 °C, wind 8 m/s
The expedition LOMROG has had some intensive days. On Wednesday the helicopter and the last members of the crew arrived. On Thursday a test station was established, where all the research projects could test their equipment. Most of it worked, the CTD, however, had communication problems. So on Friday we had to make another try and everything worked well. On Friday the Oden was late for the rendezvous with the chartered Russian ice-breaker “50 Let Pobedy” (50 years since victory). The Pobedy, as we now call it, turned around and caught us at position 82°30’N, 10°E. It was an amazing sight, when the large nuclear ice-breaker emerged from the fog. A shadow at first, then approaching fast. The Pobedy is 160 m long, 30 m wide and has its own nuclear reactor for fuel. It glides soundlessly through ice, just as cutting through butter, where the Oden huffs and puffs, struggling to get through. We have exchanged visitors several times and more will come. Now the Pobedy heads the convoy in front of the Oden, breaks through everything and leaves behind a channel, where we some times have difficulties to follow. But we are on time and the equipment works.
Yesterday, a small group from the Oden had a very special assignment. The group consisted of: the writer of this report, a researcher looking for ice with sediments from its place of origin, the director of the documentary film about the expedition and the helicopter pilots. We flew out to the sailing-boat “Tara”, which has for almost a year been stuck in the arctic ice. The sailing-boat waits for the drift ice to let go of the boat again. While the 10 members of the expedition from four different countries (France, New Zealand, Norway and Estonia) on board are waiting for the boat to be afloat again, they are making a number of measurements and observations for instance meteorological, within a project called DAMOCLES. Their electromagnetic induction unit (measuring the thickness of the ice) had broken down some time ago, and the Danish researcher, René Forsberg, on board the Oden, brought a new unit from Tromsø. We also made a few boxes with fruit and vegetables for the people on the Tara. They were very grateful for the help. Unfortunately, we could not stay on board very long, but were given a short tour around the boat, a quick cup of tea and then said goodbye and good luck. In the Arctic we help each other, when we can! It was a lucky strike that we were able to land so close to the boat, so we could follow the plan. The Pobedy increased its speed to enable the helicopter to land closer to the Tara, if it had been necessary due to the weather. The Oden was at a stand still close to the ice and CTD station, while we were gone and had to start at once again not to loose time. This gave us a window of just a little more than an hour. So, it was a short and intensive visit.
While we were gone the researchers on the ice made gravitation and bathymetric measurements and drilled ice core samples to look for among other things carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As soon as they and we were back on board, the research team started the seismic measurements, which have to be made while the ship is moving. Since then the Oden has made 3 to 4 knots with the equipment mounted astern. Tomorrow, we will start taking sediment samples from the sea bed.
Things are taking their normal course on board, the meals giving structure to the day. The social life is mostly concentrated in the messroom, many are working in shifts and people sleep when schedule permits. Almost every day happy amateurs are giving exercise and yoga classes and many attend in an effort to prevent the good and nourishing food from sticking to their ribs. The atmosphere is positive!