Counting icebergs and the morning view

by Guest Blogger

July 20, 2005

We are back in iceberg country and that means every six hours, either Martina or I need to count icebergs, estimate their size, and record the ship’s location, sea and air temperatures. Martina did the 11 p.m. count last night so that meant the 5 a.m. count was assigned to yours


Even though I’m a morning person, my first thought at 5 a.m. wasn’t, “golly gee, I’m so

glad it’s time to wake up to count icebergs.” My thoughts were more along the lines of not

wanting to get out from under the warm duvet, rolling over and going back to sleep for

another two two hours.

But get up I did. I figured that if I worked fast, I’d be able to complete the iceberg survey by

5:15, be back in bed by 5:20, and back in dreamland by 5:30. I went up to the bridge with

that goal in mind and started in with my work. I grumbled to myself about being outside in

freezing temperatures rather than in my bed, like a sane person.

As the survey work continued, I started to open my eyes to take in the view. The sun

rose above the mountain tops at 5:20 a.m. and lit up the ice floes, icebergs and glaciers. The

idea of going back to bed became less possible and more ridiculous, so I made myself a cup

of coffee and spent the next two hours in the bridge, taking in the landscape.

Soon after, Texas (yes, that’s his given name) spotted a ringed seal on an ice flow from his

perch in the crow’s nest. The seal looked up, took a gander around, wiped its eyes a few times

with a flipper and then put its head back down on the ice to go back to sleep. Guess it’s used

to seeing this kind of view in the morning. It wasn’t phased at all.

We’ve had remarkable luck with the weather. All of the crap weather has been confined to

transit times while clear blue skies have opened up whenever we’ve had to fly the helicopter,

undertake scientific measurements or document a story. It’s been almost uncanny. Martina

and I jokingly “ask” Arne for sunshine on the days we need it for our work. So far, every

time we “ask,” our request is filled, so she and I have started calling him “Captain Sunshine.”

Despite the remarkable morning, it got better. Gordon wanted to do a reconnaissance flight

of the Kangerdlussuaq Glacier and see how far up the fjord the ship could get to the spot he

wanted to undertake measurements. I was able to go along for the ride and I must say, it

knocked my socks off. First, the views from 200 to 1000 feet in the air were spectacular. I

could go on and on about that. But what really blew me away was a gobsmacked Gordon who

ranted on about how the glacier has disappeared, how it’s collapsed, how the waypoints he’d

chosen for setting up a base camp are now underwater, and how surprised he is in the changes

compared with measurements taken two years ago.

We were back at the ship by 8:30am. Definitely the best morning I’ve had in a while.

– Melanie

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