White Sea & Franz Josef Land Voyage 7219 Day 4


Day 4 - August 4, 2012 - At sea 

By Michaela Mayer, marine biologist

Co-ordinates: N 67º27'31", E 41º19'16"
Weather: foggy
Air Temperature: 9ºC
Pressure: 1005 hPa
Wind: 2-3 knots

Though this is our second day at sea, I do not feel bored at all! I had my morning coffee in the Observation Lounge, and at this early time of the day the Observation Lounge is a very peaceful place. I enjoy sitting there, reading the ship's newspaper, which is even supplied in German. Today I had a chat with an early-bird guest, and watched the sea while eating a pastry.

At ten, my colleague and friend Peter Damisch did a presentation on Fridtjof Nansen the great explorer. Even though I heard his talk just two weeks ago on the previous cruise I went to The Theatre to listen. Peter has such an enthusiastic way of bringing history to people! Nansen is well known as being the first to cross Greenland as well as a pioneering drift across the Arctic Ocean. Nansen was a great scientist as well as a ski champion and Peter presents some private stories of that Arctic hero which I will not write here...

After the presentation I went to the outer decks for some fresh air as well as to do some bird watching. In the present fog there is unfortunately not much to detect. I observed for a while a kittiwake that tried to land on the fore deck mast but failed.

I had lunch with some German guests who I know from a previous cruise about ten years ago. The world of Polar-enthused people is a very small one! It was my turn next to do my lecture: "Whales of the Arctic". I gave some general information about evolution, ecology, and threats of the whale species that we are most likely to meet.

Unbelievable but true, at the same moment I finished my lecture our Expedition Leader Robin made an announcement that a Beluga Whale was at nine o'clock of the ship. We use the clock numbers to describe positions in relation to the ship: 12 o'clock is in front of the ship at the bow. Regarding this system, the first Beluga Whale of this voyage has been seen at starboard side abeam.

At teatime, our guests and the Expedition Team met in the Panorama Lounge to play Team Trivia again. Today our geologist from Colombia asked many questions however, many of our guests seem to have heard his lecture at some point in the past because most of them finished with 17 out of 20 right answers. I was really impressed!

Almost immediately after teatime, Juan continued with his next lecture "Water, The Restless Sea". In his presentation Juan explained some basic oceanography concepts, covering vertical and horizontal oceanic circulation, tides, waves and the world's main current systems.

During the afternoon we crossed the Polar Circle at 66°33'N in direction north to south. Usually you cross the circle in the opposite way. However our cruise started in Tromso, which is already north of the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is an imaginary line that marks the latitude above which the sun does not set on the day of the summer solstice (usually 21 June) and does not rise on the day of the winter solstice (usually 21 December). North of this latitude, periods of continuous daylight or night last up to six months at the North Pole.

After a relaxing dinner infused with excellent conversation, I took a walk on deck to see if there was still fog all around the ship. There was and therefore I headed off to bed.