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2 July, 2001

Crossing the Arctic Circle

Monday, 2 July 2001

Hej! (Hello!)

Life on Board

The Arctic Circle is the latitude line around the earth where, on June 21 (or 22), the summer solstice (the longest day of the year), the sun does not go below the horizon for the entire 24-hour day. It just goes around you in a circle. This latitude line is at 66o33'N. This morning during breakfast the announcement was made over the loudspeaker that we were crossing over the Arctic Circle and that we should watch out for King Neptune. Then, this afternoon during the žcoffee breakÓ at 3:00 pm, the Staff Captain came and took everybody out of the cafeteria who had never crossed the Arctic Circle. In groups of 3, we had to run around the ship on the outside, all the way up to the 7th deck, and across the catwalk around the bridge, stopping to drink some fruit punch containing žeyeballsÓ at an open window, then down the other side. We were then escorted by a o very large crewman dressed up as King Neptune's guard into a tent set up on the helicopter deck. There, the Captain of the ship was sitting on a throne, dressed up as King Neptune complete with 3-pronged pitchfork, and a kitchen crewman dressed up as his Queen sitting by his side. We had to kneel down and agree to be accepted into his Ocean Kingdom. Upon doing so, we were given a cookie by the Queen that had a sauce on it that tasted like a mixture of chocolate and hot pepper. Not very tasty! Then we were allowed to visit the galley and enjoy a soda to get the yucky taste out of our mouth. Later, we will be given a certificate that states that we have successfully crossed over the Arctic Circle and entered King Neptune's Ocean Kingdom.

Scientists at Work

Each morning at 10:00 we have a meeting for the Atmospheric Chemistry group which includes about 25 of the 55 scientists. The group leader, Caroline Leck from the University of Stockholm in Sweden, gets brief reports from each subgroup and attempts to solve any problems. All of the scientists are frantically working to get all of their equipment installed and running before our first data station, which will be on Wednesday, July 4 (they are unaware that this is Independence Day for the 5 Americans on board!).

Where Are We Now?

The ship is traveling north along the northern coast of Norway near Tromso in the Norwegian Sea, probably in the North Cape Current. We can actually see the rugged coastline of Norway on the right (starboard) side of the Oden. Our current position is 68o16'N latitude and 12o56'E longitude. So far, the weather has not been too severe and we have not had rough seas. I'm not feeling seasick at all but some of the people onboard have been seasick the whole time.

Still working on getting my communications set up. It is possible that I will have a satellite connection soon. Then I will be able to transmit pictures as well.

Dena Rosenberger

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