Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ship's Log: Day 12

October 17th

Noorderlicht at Barentsburg

We got underway at around 7am. The passing mountains are a really rugged mix of black and white points. The sea looks dark and uninviting. We are heading for Poolepynten, a rocky sandbar island on Prins Karls Forlandet. We are all feeling anxious about having the time to get our work done. Aaron assured us that there would be time for projects once we arrived at Poolepynten.

Just off Poolepynten the Captain canceled any attempt to go ashore as the wind and sea were too rough. He thought there might be an alternative landing location later in the afternoon, but that was canceled as well due to the increasing stormy weather. The Noorderlicht was moving via motor power today as the wind is against us and we can't raise sail. The time at sea today, without the opportunity to get to shore, has increased the feeling that we are in some mad rush to return to Longyearbyen and then back home.

The Captain decided to head for Barentsberg, where several of the shipmates are eager to reach -- so they can hit the pub. Barentsberg is an old working Russian mining town. The Captain radioed ahead to request that they open the pub for our arrival and they've agreed. Ever since Ny-Ă…lesund we had hit some kind of tipping point and our return to civilization seems inevitable. Between the physical strain of trying to stay upright on a ship in rough weather (at one point, four of us lined up in the lower salon, all standing at a perfect 45 degree angle due to the tilt of the ship) and the psychological strain of approaching the end of my time in the Arctic I decided to spend most of the day in bed.

Russian Mine

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