May 27, 2007
Latitude: 690° 39' N, 180° 56' E
Three years later and I am back on Oden! In the summer of 2004 I was fortunate to travel to the Arctic Ocean aboard the Swedish Icebreaker, Oden, on the ACEX (Arctic Drilling Expedition) cruise. Now I am back again, this time with a science team made up largely of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
This is the first day with the all of the participants present. Over the last two days, people have been flying in to Tromsö, in northern Norway, where the Oden, is docked. Tromsö is often called the "Paris of the North" or the "Gateway to the Arctic." It is a major university and tourist town north of the Arctic Circle, also home to the Norwegian Polar Institute. The famed Arctic explorer, Roald Amundsen, and others embarked on their expeditions from this town, so it is fitting that we do, as well. While in port, some of us, those not concerned with loading and checking scientific equipment, have time to tour around town a bit. We seek out a statue of Amundsen and view Arctic displays at both a scientific and historical museum.
Back onboard in the afternoon we meet with the ship's Master and officers to take part in a safety drill, learning all about the survival suits and how to evacuate Oden by lifeboat in case of emergency. It is a sobering moment in the midst of the excitement about embarking to the ice edge.
We will stay here until tomorrow morning when we head north towards the ice edge near Svarlbard. In the Norwegian Sea and Fram Strait area. We will test biological and geological equipment that will be utilized later in the summer. At that time some of these same scientists will be searching for hydrothermal vent communities deep in the Arctic Ocean as part of the AGAVE (Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition) cruise. Lots to do before the scheduled time of departure of 8 am tomorrow.