All’s Swell!

by Guest Blogger

July 18, 2005

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the real Arctic Sunrise. The most

famously rolling of the Greenpeace ships. Picture a giant half egg

floating in the ocean – that’s basically us.

Our ship’s hull was built

without a keel so it won’t be crushed if trapped the ice, but that

doesn’t improve the crew’s comfort level in rough sea.

Not to throw

numbers at you, but on the wind/sea scales, here’s how it’s gone so far

today: 7/7, 8/6, 7-8/6, 7/6. The Beaufort wind scale goes up to 12.

Eight is classified as a “fresh gale”, which sounds pleasant enough, but

means up to 40-knot winds. The sea state scale only goes up to nine,

and at seven the seas are officially “high”, meaning 12-20 foot waves.

In reality it wasn’t too rough for most of today, but when we turned and

started taking the swell on the beam (from the side) it certainly woke

me up.

Fortunately, the deckhands were busy yesterday, and last

night, making sure things are properly tied down. In a way, a little

rough weather like this can be a good thing as it makes you appreciate

calm seas all the more when you have them.

Ice is nice

That said, we are all happy to have reached the ice edge again since a

blanket of ice calms the waves. We’re now about 50 miles from the mouth

of Kangerlussuaq fjord, and just starting to wind our way in through the

sea ice along the coast.

The water here is lovely calm, and in the

distance I can see Gunnbjø Feld, Greenland’s tallest mountain.

With the sea ice you also find more seals and the like. I’m up on the

bridge with my laptop. Arne and Cath (both on watch) have spotted two

seals just while I’ve been writing this. Time, I think, to turn off my

computer, and spend some a while this Sunday evening seal spotting myself.

– Andrew

[I snapped the photo above from the bridge. That’s spray coming over the

bow, and up the anchor pipe.]

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