Day 11 |
Aug 05, 2013

At sea, en route to Iceland

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 67º18.1', W 023º36.8'
Weather: Sunny with scattered clouds
Air Temperature: 4ºC
Pressure: 1014 hPa
Wind: 15 knots

Today I had a most enjoyable morning at sea. Knowing how rough the Denmark Strait can be, I can fully appreciate the calm conditions we experienced throughout the day. We had north-westerly winds blowing at 15 knots, producing a moderate swell ranging from 2 to 2.5 metres which was nicely pushing us along on our south-easterly route.

After a leisurely breakfast Peter Damisch entertained us with a lecture entitled “Viking Vista” where he told us about the wild and woolly history of Iceland. A land colonised 600+ years before Columbus by a series of bold Scandinavian navigators. This same beautiful territory also spawned deadly blood feuds which spanned generations, then suffered multiple volcanic disasters which affected the world and may have caused the French Revolution.

After an emergency drill carried out for crew training purposes, it was my turn to present my “Iceland is where the action is” lecture. I spoke about the unique origin and main geological features of Iceland. I finished my show by presenting a short documentary film called “Fire & Ice” about the eruption of Vatnajökull in 1996 and the subsequent Jökulhlaup (glacial outburst flood) of gargantuan proportions that ensued. Unique footage of an event never before documented and studied by scientists.

After a delicious German-themed lunch, Claudia Holgate gave her lecture “Climate Change: The Global Carbon Experiment”. Addressing the global warming topic, particularly while sailing around the Arctic, is in my humble opinion a duty we have as scientists and expedition staff. It is a message that needs to be delivered and understood as it affects us all and is very closely related to the changes taking place in this part of the world.

My roommate and esteemed friend Richard Sidey, the ship’s videographer, spent the whole day editing the masses of footage he collected during the past 10 days. Sometimes he wishes he possessed the gift of ubiquity.

At 5 pm the expedition team hosted the last Recap & Briefing of this unforgettable voyage and at 7 pm Captain Alexander Golubev hosted his Captain’s Farewell Cocktail. Executive Chef Christian and Restaurant Manager Anna invited us all for a succulent farewell dinner.