January 8, 2007
Position 71° 31.668' N 125° 43.844' W
Today started out as usual- coring, sampling, cleaning, cutting, shaving, and melting.
After lunch, everyone bundled up and headed to the ice for a Leg 5A group picture. There are six of us leaving the Amundsen on Thursday, Mike McNulty and Jim Young (helicopter pilots), scientists Tim Papakyriakou, Laura Sims, and Mukesh Gupta (grad student from U of M), and myself. The timing of the picture is perfect as all of us will be able to take it home.
Following multiple attempts at a satisfactory result, the fun began. In addition to the soccer game there was the requisite Canadian hockey game occurring just in front of the bow. Teams were chosen, goals marked with cones, and verbal and physical taunting exchanged. There was neither much finesse nor speed to this game. The multiple layers of clothing, snowsuits, parkas, and steel-toed snow boots prevented the players on both sides from showcasing their true talent. Slide tackles and fouling were common as once you got your momentum going in one direction, the lack of traction prevented any hope of stopping or turning quickly.
The game had an unexpected intermission when an Arctic Fox wandered over to watch the action. Up till then, there had been no sign of life above the ice other than the occasional polar tracks. Then, when the greatest number of people would be outside, a fox wandered out of the distance right up to the edges of the makeshift field almost stopping to pose for the cameras. Then just as quickly as it came, it trotted off.
With the game tied at the end of regulation, we proceeded to "golden goal," sudden-death overtime. Three minutes in the other team was able to claim victory when a cross was inadvertently directed into our net by a defender. Such a great game should not have been decided by an own goal.
After dinner it was back out on the ice for a third time. This time we were joined by David Carpenter, the second officer of the CCGS Amundsen. He spends most of his time on the bridge and does not often get the chance to get outside. Just as I had done two weeks ago, David eagerly took to coring. I gladly passed the torch, letting him use mine.
I was back to my room by 9:45 pm. I did not have to clean the corers and other equipment this evening because another group was heading out after us. I changed and went down to the crew's lounge on deck 6 where I talked with some of the other scientists and crew members till about 1 am. They declared me an honorary Canadian but said I might have to get a maple leaf tattoo. I will lock my cabin door tonight.