The seas are a rolling here in Disco Bay, near Thule, Greenland (US Airbase) where we came to seek shelter for the night. The 100 km hour winds out at sea haven’t reached us here, but the swells certainly do. I didn’t even have to touch the slope controls on the treadmill today – the seas produced natural terrain for me!
It has been a few days since all the ice ops excitement, and I must confess that the shifting from field work to data crunching was a bummer to get used to.
Between learning new mapping software for a school course and then being coached (extremely patiently) through MatLab to correct for iceberg drift (which occurred while the AUV guys mapped the underwater draft of the berg while I was on top), my head was about to explode. 3 1/2 days later I was allowed up for air, out of the deep depths of the ship.
And that’s all I have to report! Greenland looks like an adventure waiting to happen though. The high ups at the air base would not let us disembark onto their territory today, but I am tempted to bribe our Icelandic team member to take me kite skiing across the icecap.
I think it is about time not to just write about whatever it is I do all day here.
So, A One Month, Ship-board Arctic Survival Guide:
1. Bring your Gravol and ginger chews – not getting sick on ferry crossings does not translate into seasickness immunity.
2. Do not have said ginger chews in plain view.
3. Do not eat all said ginger chews before you even get anywhere near rougher seas.
4. Learn how to say NO in multiple languages. A good friend has taught me well in English. It must be perfected for use en francais as well. If you are incapable, you may get sucked into promising to sing a Neil Young cover at the next bar night backed up by guitar and harmonica.
5. When packing your one nice Sunday outfit, remember that you on board with many lovely french ladies – and when they dress up, it is serious. Heels, not Birkenstocks, are the footwear of choice – and wearing the same outfit three Sundays in a row just is out of any realm of possibility.
6. Come up for air. As in, do not get stuck underwater looking at computer screens for days on end. Non-circulated ship air is a must for proper brain functioning.
7. Ask before you eat the unknown. This goes for anywhere actually. Consequences in previous postings.
8. Prepare music. You may require other genres to balance the cowboy country from the kitchen, heavy metal on the ship TV channel, classic rock in the bar or instrumental covers of 80s hits available in The Sweatbox.
9. If you don’t, you may be stuck listening to three of your little brothers ukulele recordings on repeat.
10. No matter how much you loved having the top bunk as a kid, it may be worth fighting for the bottom bunk for this extended period of time.
11. Sip a little wine, see how your french improves! Call it practice.
12. Build up your karma and pray to whomever you choose – that you will have chill work mates with good senses of humour. Or it will be a long trip!
13. Befriend the helicopter pilot. He is a good guy to know and creates the fun around here!
14. Take advantage and make yourself the hit of the ship and buy everyone a round at the bar on Tuesday night. Cheapest place you will ever do it at 2 dollars a beer.
15. Do not hesitate to break out the extra-large, extra orange float suit. It is cozy, if not flattering.