Day 16 |
Aug 22, 2013

At Sea

By Uli Kunz, Oceanographer and Zodiac Driver


Co-ordinates: 61°13’ N, 92°04’ E
Weather: Mostly overcast and windy
Air Temperature: 12.5 °C, 54.5 °F
Pressure: 996 hPa
Wind: 63 km/h

Have you ever dreamed about going to the North Pole? If yes, you should have come to Karolina's lecture this morning. Onboard Silver Explorer, she works as a bear guard, looking out for polar bears and scouting the landscape, protecting polar bears…from us. But when she is not on board, her life as a polar guide allows her to explore the islands of the archipelago Svalbard and enjoy tours into the untouched wilderness of the High Arctic. But walking on snow is not her favourite means of transport... she loves dog sleds!

Eighty one guests joined her in the theatre as she presented pictures of her daily life in Svalbard as well as of her breathtaking journey with sleds to the North Pole. The starting point was Barneo Camp, a Russian outpost, built on the sea ice at 88° North. From there, she covered the remaining 200 kilometres in 20 days, pulling dogs and heavy sleds over pressure ridges, collapsing ice floes and the vast Arctic Ocean. An incredible adventure…

Soon after the trip to the Top of the World, our chef Christian invited the guests to a culinary journey during one of his very amusing cooking shows. This time, he transformed the theatre into an Indian street kitchen and brewed such a strong curry that two hours later the room was still filled with a delicious spicy aroma reminding me of the colourful street life, the insane traffic, towering temples and the exotic landscape of that magical country called India.

The step from cooked chicken into the Deep Sea seemed to be impossible, but more and more guests showed up to watch my lecture in the early afternoon. I joined them for a dive into the abyss of the ocean, explained some of the underlying rules of life in depths of three and more kilometers and introduced them to some of the most extraordinary creatures living on our planet. Even romantic moments were included as I talked about the male anglerfish that, when it comes across a female, bites into it and never lets go for the rest of its life. Both fish even grow together and share one blood cycle! That’s what I call eternal love.

Our historian Peter presented another Team Trivia in the Panorama Lounge, asking questions about some of the world's largest islands that we have in the Arctic, about the number of people living north of the Arctic Circle and about some of the early explorers and their amazing expeditions around the Northern end of our planet.

Before dinner, our Captain Maggie Ettlin invited all guests to her Captain's Farewell Cocktail. Up on the stage in the theatre, Maggie recalled all of our destinations, giving us some time to think back and go down memory lane to the steep cliffs of Prince Christian Fjord, to the colourful houses of Qaqortoq, the ruins of Hvalsey, the towering icebergs of Greenland, the somewhat watery Zodiac cruise around the Lower Savage Islands, and the large walrus haul out of Walrus Island. Bon Appétit!