Cold hands, red ears, steel toes

Had a scare the day before yesterday when someone told me we wouldn’t see more ice. Open water from now on. Turns out we’re going back north for a rendez-vous with the Lomonosov Ridge where thankfully seems to be an ice. I really want to fish some more ice with a bucket before the expedition is over, so knowing that it’s not too late turned my frown upside down!

I would love to go deeper into the ice. Big fat blue ice hunks that shoot up in the air when breaking through it. PhD student Natalia Barrientos and I had a fun night at the bar talking to his Russian colleagues the other night. They wanted to reroute the expedition via the North Pole! Big target, Sascha said. I promised them to talk to the captain the following morning but lost my nerve and couldn’t do it. Rumors say that Tom Flodén can steer the boat so maybe I’ll talk to him instead.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time out back recently. I wanted more mud and the coring crew told me that I’m welcome to collect the leftovers. So now I get in my overalls whenever a mulitcore is going down and I clean the feet of the octopus-like contraption collecting brown gold in a strawberry jam bucket. I have two buckets, one for brown art mud and one for blue grey glacial art mud. I really like it out there. It makes me feel like I finally joined the real expedition. Cold hands, red ears, steel toes and lots of messy action.

Last Friday night, I had a presentation of my work for everyone in the mess hall. I mainly showed stuff from the last couple years to give an idea of what I do but also a bit about what I’m working on here. It went well and already led to several interesting conversations. It feels nice to know that people are aware of what I’m up to when I’m sneaking around the ship with random objects. Work is going pretty well with new discoveries at a decent pace.

Yesterday involved Falukorv (type of Swedish sausage), diving watches and turning my container into a spa. Feels a bit crazy that we only have two more weeks to go actually. Something definitely changed after passing the mid cruise mark as days started flying by. I just hope it won’t be too rocky on the way back to Norway. It'd be nice to be able to work to the end and not have to lie around with a green face due to ship motion. Today is one of those days. It’s the highest swell we’ve had this far and activity seems to be really low. No coring or CTD and the decks are almost empty - at least visibly. A few of us are reading or working in the ugly green leather couches but most people are hiding away somewhere. Probably resting in their cabins. Hoping that tomorrow will be calm as it's the birthday of my bunk mate John and a celebratory sauna is in order. Very much looking forward to that and the Thursday night bar refill.


by Josef Bull, Artists Programme

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