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Daily Journals

August 23, 2006

As I finished up last night at 23:59, I glanced out my window and saw an amazing site for someone from the low latitudes…a sunset (or rise?) on the horizon…a streak of orange and pink in the gap between the clouds and the ocean. Absolutely amazing!

We are beginning to settle into a routine. Breakfast is at 08:00, then a meeting about the scientific research. A short break occurs before lunch and then more lectures afterwards. Tea time is at 16:00, then more meetings and dinner at 20:00.

Our rooms are amazingly comfortable and spacious. The Kapitan Dranitsyn has been retrofitted as a passenger vessel that operates natural history tours when it is not doing research outings, hence some of the unusual niceties. Tea time today featured small pancakes wrapped around a creamy filling, a chocolate cookie bar and some sweet bread. I promised my wife I would come home slimmed down…we’ll see.

Meanwhile, the scientists are busy prepping their gear and making sure everything is in working order. I imagine it will get quite hectic as we approach the ice. Based on yesterday's satellite imagery, one scientist thinks we should start seeing some ice by Friday, but we are still several days away from the main pack ice.

Russian language lessonsThe teachers have been asking great questions of the scientists and some of our best conversations have occurred at meal time. We may try to arrange a question and answer period with the teachers and researchers to get some good interactions. Just before dinner, two of the Russian expedition members were giving language lessons to a group of us. I now know how to say watermelon and beetle.

Novaya ZemlaIt remains overcast and the winds have picked up, giving it a nice bite out on the deck and a noticeable gentle roll down below. The air temperature at 15:30 was 2.3 °C without the wind chill (to convert Celcius to Farhenheit multiply by 1.8 and add 32). We had our fist brief snow and sleet this morning. We are now passing the first land we have seen since leaving Kirkenes, Novaya Zemlya, a large island with a stark, frozen shoreline.

In spite of the cold, I think we all are looking forward to being out on the decks more in the coming days.

—Mike Dunn

 

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Kapitan Dranitsyn