Polar bear visited the ship
Received from Daniella Gredin, The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
Edited by Henrik Højmark Thomsen, GEUS
4. August 2009
Position: 84°N 19°E
Weather: sunny and clear, the temperature 1°C, wind 7 m/s
In the afternoon on 31 July we left Lonyearbyen town on a six weeks cruise. The trip through the bay and the sight of Spitsbergen as we rounded was fantastic – with the snow-covered mountains, a calm sea and the glaciers flowing out from the mountains. Once we had gained speed the birds started moving along the ship’s sides. A lovely start to the expedition LOMROG II that we could not wish us better.
By noon Saturday, 1 August, we could see the ice edge at the entrance to the Arctic Ocean. We followed the edge to the east, to find the best route to the working area around the North Pole. Around midnight the ice conditions changed from drifting ice and open water to a more continuous sea ice cover. And as far the eye can see, you can see a vast white blanket of ice with only single openings. The ice surface is several places covered by melt water lakes with a “Vick” blue colour.
On Sunday, 2 August, we were incredibly lucky to see the polar bear. It was a female with a young one who showed up at the side of the ship. After the bear’s visit had been announced over the speaker system, it lasted not long before you could hear hundreds of clicks from cameras. The bear however, disappeared rapidly from sight.
Yesterday we had a lovely day with relatively clear weather and the first work on the ice began with the helicopter. Out on the ice researchers measured gravitational field together with snow and ice thickness and three ice cores were drilled. By midnight, and early this morning the helicopter went out on ice reconnaissance, to find the best way through the ice for the ship. On board, the researchers tested the seismic equipment and the CTD, measuring salinity and temperature with depth, has been in action.
The sophisticated multi-beam echo sounder for bathymetric measurements has been started and the crew who serve it – the so-called Multibeam Group must work alternately as echo sounder will run continuously during the whole trip.