Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ship's Log: Day 8

October 13th

In the morning, I checked on my poor, frozen camera. It seemed that a night tucked in under the covers had done the job and had brought it back to life.

We had moved to the other side of the fjord, near a massive glacier, Hornbaek polten/Liefdefjorden. My kayaks were again given to another artist who wanted to photograph a high powered light beam shining through the morning fog. He planned to put the light in the Zodiac and photograph its effects from the kayak. I was worried about the danger of bringing a high powered light and a generator out in a Zodiac in really rough iceberg-filled water. Thoughts of hairdryers falling into bathtubs (ten times over) filled my head. I decided the best way to deal with my fear for the crew and artist was to go back to sleep after breakfast. I woke up and they still weren't back. About half an hour later the kayak and Zodiac arrived back at the ship. Electrocution was avoided!

We then moved our location to Worsleghamns/Liefdefjorden. Worsleghamns has rolling hills, an old hunters hut, and is ringed by majestic mountains. A landing party climbed into the Zodiac. We were warned that it would be a rough, wet landing. True to the warning, it was hard to keep the Zodiac from flying out of control and shooting away from the shore. To avoid having the Zodiac flip over we all needed to get out and on to shore before the next wave came in. We employed a D-day kind of tactic, complete with everyone yelling "GO Marine,GO, GO!"

My turn came. I was wearing my big, new snowsuit which is incredibly warm ... so warm that I was sweating just sitting in the Zodiac, but also so bulky that I could hardly move. My back foot got caught in a Zodiac rope and I fell forward right into the freezing water. It brought a whole new meaning to the phrase wet landing. Luckily I had my camera and some spare gloves in my waterproof backpack. I changed into dry gloves, but my hands really cold for the rest of the day.

I filmed Katja close to the shore. Each time she performs the Fluxus instructions she has to deal with new challenges from the landscape. This time she was thigh deep in snow and had to fight to stay upright against gale force winds.

When Katja was finished we both hiked up the hill to film Audun who was watching over the group from the top ridge. It was rough going in the deep snow (and with my bulky snowsuit on), but I got some great footage of Audun watching for polar bears. After slogging back down the hill board the Zodiac, my body was dripping in sweat and my hands were ice cold.

The Zodiac ride back to the ship was really exciting ... huge waves and lots of spray. The wind caused the front of the Zodiac to rear almost straight up so we had to hang on for dear life. I couldn't wait to get into a hot shower!

Showering on the ship presents many challenges. First, timing ... with limited hot water it's tough to find a time when it hasn't all been used up. Second, movement ... it's hard to keep your balance when the ship is rocking and rolling. The toilet and shower are one small room. You pull a curtain across in front of the toilet to keep it dry. I would put my shampoo and soap box on the floor. As the ship rocked, these items would shoot under the curtain. If you waited a minute the ship would rock again and they would all come shooting back. If you timed it just right you could grab the shampoo, soap up, rinse and be ready for the conditioner the next time it came rolling back under the curtain.

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