Today is bear day

Today is bear day. A lady bear and her cub came very close to the ship and sniffed around for a while. So fluffy and sweet looking it's hard to believe they could kill you if provoked. Judging from their appearance they looked like jungle-book-style wolves that would take you in and feed you walrus meat until you're big enough to leave for civilization.

This last week has been great. I'm spending a lot of time in the container (studio) and am getting somewhere new everyday. This situation is quite beneficial work-wise. Good food waiting for me on regular hours and I can keep my mind on things of interest. A lot of what I've done so far involves borrowing things from other people onboard. Most of the time they don't understand why I would be interested in the things I am, but I've found my allies and they help me out. Clint laughed out loud (the Texan way) when I asked for his turquoise 80's cooler but he still let me borrow it for a couple days.

The guys in the crew have been really helpful as well, and a few days ago Kenneth agreed to bring me along on his fire patrol. I dressed up for some serious winter labour but had to take everything off again as Kenneth laughingly  declared that our walk would take place in the boiling hot engine room. It was amazing to see what's going on down there. A different world of extremely loud and complex machinery.

The work environment in my container is a lot more comfortable and I'm happy to have the luxury of being on my own schedule. That's definitely not true for most people here. Hard work and terrible hours in sometimes (most of the time) rough conditions. The people coring on the aft deck seem to be the toughest. They've started their own fashion trend onboard out of their need to get in and out of their neon overalls. The key feature is board shorts on top of long johns worn with slippers. I call it "Gravitycore" - the Arctic version to the more widespread "Normcore". A few wannabes tried it out (including me), but it's a hard outfit to carry with style without mud under your nails. Another interesting fashion observation is the different polar clothes representing different countries. My favorite look right now is the German all orange look represented by lovely scientists Tim and Sören from Kiel. They taught me some new words in the bar the other night but the only phrase I can remember is "ein miniatur model."

Evenings are quite often spent in the bar here. We had the first night resembling a party on Saturday. Almost everyone joined in for drinks and conversations in the bar but the highlight of my night was a small after-party in my container for the chosen few. I'm contemplating opening a svartklubb (illegal nightclub) up here, and already asked Kenneth in the crew if he would like to be the bouncer. He would stand in the door and pick whoever looked cool enough to enter. It wouldn't be very many as maximum capacity is quite low. Kenneth thought some other crew members were better suited for the job, but I have a feeling it won't be necessary. Other than that, the ping pong tournament has started. I won my three group matches but struggled in the last one against the expedition doctor. There are rumors of amazing players with impossible serves so I consider myself an underdog come the playoffs.

by Josef Bull, Artists Programme

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