Ski-races and barbeque

Just a quick update after an afternoon of nice activities. Today was May 1st which is a bank holiday in Norway. We took a few hours break from the science this afternoon and had some ski-races, followed by a barbeque on the ice. The ski-races took place on skis that some of the crew had made out of some spare pallets in the hold – so they weren’t exactly cutting edge! Still everybody welcomed the social opportunity after a period of hard work and the competition was pretty keenly fought!

After the races we had a really good barbeque out on the ice – we had to eat the food fairly quickly so that it didn’t go cold, but it was delicious and we were all hungry from the exercise so that wasn’t a problem!

It’s easy to forget that we are actually 200km out to sea on days like this. The ice beneath our feet is only about 1-2 meters thick, and underneath it the old Greenland Sea is still 250m deep. If it weren’t for the ice, there would be big blue-green waves and salty spray where we were walking today!

By late afternoon it was time to leave, so the ship was untied from the steel beams that had been used for mooring and we left the last human footprints that the bears will see for a while. As we are using up our supply of steel mooring points a bit faster than we anticipated we experimented with using dynamite to recover some of them from the ice! The beams are inserted into boreholes in the ice and filled fresh water which freezes them in place, so they can’t be pulled out easily.

Right, that’s all for now. It’s time to go and do some final lashing down because now we really are heading for open water and we’ll probably wake up in waves tomorrow morning. The forecast is pretty good though so we should be able to do work quickly and be back in the ice in a couple of days…

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