Day 15 |
Aug 15, 2012

At sea en route to Murmansk 

By Uli Kunz – Oceanographer and Zodiac-Driver

Position: 75°10’ N, 40°42’ E
Air temperature: 5 °C, 41.0 °F
Water temperature: 5 °C, 41.0 °F
Air pressure: 1005 hPa
Wind speed: 34 km/h

We left Franz Josef Land one day ago and are now on our way towards Murmansk for outward clearance. The sea is calm, the waves have settled down and the northerly wind pushes us further towards the south, towards warmer temperatures and green trees!

Shortly after breakfast, I presented my lecture about the “Cold Water Worlds”, a virtual dive into the cold and dark depths of the North Atlantic. During my work as a scientific diver and underwater photographer for universities and institutes, I joined several expeditions on research vessels or at land-based stations and traveled into the cold waters of the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Arctic Ocean. My talk took the audience into giant tidal caves off the Orkney Islands and down into dense kelp forests of the Arctic! The polar regions are basically deserts on land, but feature a rich and most diverse ecosystem under water. The colors of tiny invertebrates like nudibranchs, seastars and soft corals are unbelievably vivid and everybody who sees these creatures for the first time thinks that they are coming from tropical coral reefs!

Today’s quizmaster during the Afternoon Tea was Kara Weller, who gave us a number of difficult questions about birds. Which bird is a fast one? The answer is: The Swift! Which bird sees with precious metal? The Goldeneye!

Robin Aiello presented her lecture about the seals of the Arctic later in the afternoon and showed the adaptations and ways of communication of these mammals that have to live in some of the harshest environments on earth.

Later on in the night, it was time for love songs. Rich and I presented a colourful mixture of off-key songs and strange moves on the stage in the Panorama Lounge. After five songs, which the crowded bar’s audience seemed to like already, we were joined by our special guest: Tatjana, our Russian tour operator, grabbed the Chef’s guitar and sang two beautiful songs in her mother tongue. Finally somebody who can sing properly… The night continued with our own interpretation of “Endless Love”, “The Winner Takes It All” and “Sweet Caroline”.
We concluded the show with a very special love song in about 15 different languages. The text of the strophe is as follows:

I want to sing in every language for you baby,
and play on every instrument to say these words to you,
believe me, it is true….
I love you

How these lines sound translated into Italian, Spanish, Russian, Tagalog, Chinese, Dutch, Scottish, Swedish and Finnish (and sung by Rich and myself)… well, that’s something you will have to find out one day in the future when that strange combination of people might get on the stage of the Silver Explorer again… Love songs without text, lots of napkins, lipstick and a flowery dress. Thank you all for staying with us…