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26 September, 2001

A Polar Bear In the Making

When I awoke at 4:30am this morning, my first action was to jump out of bed and see if we were trapped in the midst of continued foul weather. To my utter shock, the Polarstern was right outside of my porthole and the sky was pink and blue. There were no signs of the weather from yesterday!

I went down to the galley (kitchen) to offer my help for an hour before my shift started, but the only jobs left was to break 90 eggs for breakfast. I did this, and then headed back to the lab.

A few hours into my duty, the surprise announcement came for every person not on Coast Guard duty to report to the mess deck. We gathered there for the news that we were being offered the opportunity to join an elite group- The Polar Bear Club. This group is for those who have crossed the Arctic Circle by sea. Almost everyone not already a member volunteered to join in the club and the ceremony began. The crew who were already "Polar Bears" presided over the reading of a proclamation to those of us wishing to join. We were given the name "Wogs" or "Blue- Noses". Our noses were painted blue, and then we were divided up. I was assigned to work in the galley, so my job included washing dishes, preparing food, and mopping the deck. I spent the afternoon being ordered around by "Polar Bears". Some other people were assigned the tasks of cleaning stairwells (covered with shaving cream, of course), serving polar bears, singing, and wearing special clothes. We all had fun, and the scientists enjoyed the break from the thousands of rocks to be processed.

The evening didn't mark the end of our imitation into the club. Each group of Wogs had to develop and perform a skit in the "No Talent Contest". The show was held in the flight hanger with an MC, spotlights, and music-the whole 9 yards. I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt.

We were warned that the imitation into the club didn't end with the show. We all went to bed prepared for a short night's sleep and wondering what the morning would bring.

The proclamation is read concerning the Polar Bear Club.

A Healy crewmember performs in a skit.

This "Blue Nose" (with polar bear whiskers) happily cleans the dishes.

At the "No Talent Contest", some of our scientist bosses sing a little ditty.

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