Oden, September 16, 2007, Svalbard in sight
Received from Sofia Rickberg, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
Edited by Jane Holst and Torsten Hoelstad, GEUS
Position: 78° 03.67’N, 013° 01.52’E
The weather: +3°C, hazed sun, NO wind 8 m/s, no precipitation
This morning we could make out the far-off peaked mountains of Svalbard. And now on this Sunday afternoon we are much closer and approaching Longyearbyen through Isfjorden. This is our last day together on board and many of us will have dinner on shore. The last couple of days have not seen much research; the members of the expedition have concentrated on concluding their activities, packing and preparing for the return. And on the heavy sea after we left the protection of the ice.
The Danish seismic programme was completed a few days ago. The marine researchers working with the water samples by means of the CTD have also finished their work for now and have packed up. This goes for the sediment sampling which was carried out from the ship’s quarterdeck as well. The cores that were taken up have now been described and logged as well as the equipment on board allows it. Many analyses have been made onboard, but the processing of the acquired data and samples will be continued at home. Now all cables, computers and monitors and boxes of equipment must put in their proper places, and when the Oden reaches Landskrona in Sweden in a little more than a week, everything has to be brought ashore. All researchers seem to be satisfied with what they have accomplished and it will be interesting to have a share in their reports and research results.
The last couple of days we have seen a few glimpses of the sun, otherwise the sky has been overcast during most of the expedition. Since we are now closer to the coast, birds are circling, gliding on the upwind around the ship. We have also seen a few polar bears, an occasional seal and even a walrus. Apart from that only ice and a few patches of open water, no ships, no living beings. Lately we have had some beautiful sunsets – telling us that we are approaching more southerly waters and that autumn is coming. Many have braved the wind, taking photographs outside when the light and work have allowed it.
During the entire expedition the multibeam echo sounder of the Oden has acquired data about the appearance and structure of the seabed. Even now, during the last few hours before we reach Longyearbyen the multibeam is manned at all times. Others working around the clock are of course the ship’s crew, especially the men in the engine room have been busy on the entire trip. The very heavy ice has been a challenge for the ice-breaker, so the Oden has to stay in Landskrona a few weeks for repairs, before heading south to the Antarctic and her next expedition, the Oden Southern Ocean 2007/08.
We feel lucky to have been part of the LOMROG expedition and say goodbye with a big thank you to all researchers and especially the ice-breaker Oden and her fantastic crew!