Archive for May, 2008


The sea ice scientists, and to some extent the biologists are interested to know how much light penetrates though the ice to reach the water below (sunlight light warms up the ice and the water underneath and also allows algae to grow there). How do they measure how much light gets through the ice? Simple: send a diver with a light meter underneath! The first two pictures show a military diver from the crew, getting ready to enter the icy (literally) waters, while the last two pictures (taken by the divers) show the wonderful world underneath. The water temperature is roughly -2, while the air temperature is about -10.

17th May!

The 17th of May is the national day in Norway and it seems to be a day that people really look forward to. Everybody has the day off work and lots of parading and flag waving occurs. I’m not normally a fan of this kind of stuff, but I have to admit I quite enjoyed it. On the ship we celebrated with various ‘village-fete’ type games on the ice. The first picture shows two of the guys from the crew analysing the aftermath of a fiercely contested nail hammering competition! The last picture shows a pølse (hot dog) and ice cream stand that was erected in the Helicopter hanger after the silliness on the ice subsided.

Ideal Conditions

The first two days of this leg were spent taking temperature and salinity profiles in a region of fairly open drift ice. This is bread and butter oceanography and with ideal weather conditions we’ve been quite relaxed. The water is about 2.5 km deep so it takes roughly two hours to lower the instrument to the bottom and back -allowing plenty of time to ponder the data. The water is extremely clear here as there are very few plankton and almost no suspended sediment. As a result it’s often possible to see the underwater part of ice floes which appear bright turquoise. The second photo shows Laura preparing the instrument package to be deployed, and the last hand photo shows the instrument package abut to surface after a trip to the bottom.

De Noorderlicht ontsnapt!

Here (as promised) is a series of photos showing how we broke the ice around the Noorderlicht in Templefjord. Although the ice was not much more than a meter thick it was quite an operation to carefully break the ice without damaging the Noorderlicht. The basic strategy was to make circuits around the Noorderlicht until a crack made by the KV Svalbard reached one side of the Noorderlicht. Then the process was repeated from the other side so that a circle of ice containing the Nooderlight was split in half and the ship was released. The operation was not all that easy with a ship as big as the KV Svalbard and took several hours. At one point a big piece of ice collided with the Noorderlichts rudder and threatened disaster – this is why the Noorderlichts crew are desperately trying to look under her stern in one picture! Fortunately the rudder was quickly repaired and all ended well.

The last image shows Barentsburg as seen from the KV Svalbard when we steamed past it this evening!

Right, it’s late and the first day of Leg Two starts tomorrow so this is all for now…