July 17, 2003
Latitude: 65º 2.469' N
Longitude: 7º 31.464' W
We woke up this morning to some early fog, which has since burned off leaving us with another gorgeous sunny day on the Nordic Seas. The Nordic Seas is a general name for the Norwegian Sea, the Icelandic Sea, and the Greenland Sea. If you look at a map, it looks as if it is just one body of water. At one time it was all called the Norwegian Sea. About 100 years ago Norwegian oceanographer, Fridtjof Nansen, sailed the Northern seas in the Fram, a ship with a very strong hull designed to withstand being frozen in pack ice without crushing. He took soundings and measured temperature and salinity. What he found is that the then Norwegian Sea in fact had three deep basins that were somewhat defined by bathymetry, with very little mixing and each with differing water properties. This resulted in the deliniation of the Icelandic, Greenland, and the now much smaller Norwegian Sea. Besides being a remarkable oceanographer and Polar explorer, Nansen was a well- known athlete, artist, and statesman. He worked for the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden and he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work with the League of Nations in settling World War I refugees.
We deployed the third mooring this morning. The process goes a little faster each time. An array of winches and ropes are used to hang each component over the stern of the ship and then gently lower them into the water. Just after the anchor made its dramatic dive to the deep we spotted about 15-20 pilot whales off starboard. They surfaced for a few minutes and then headed back to depth.