We are in the Laptev Sea. Not many have been here. Few if any have been here in conditions as these. We have done science sections, research areas, A to B, B to C. We are ending C to D and will start on D to D soon.

A to B was increasing in intensity. B to C was furious with flares. C to D was easing off. The Laptev Sea is calm. I wonder if it has ever been this calm. No wind for 10 days. Before we thought it to be impossible to do the fully planned programme. In open water! Oden don’t do open water. Her element is ice. Open water puts her in a bad mood. Rolling, not being still, drifting the way she may choose herself. Bow first, stern first or to the sides. That’s why we tamed her with the anchor – and she allowed us. Normally she refuses. We can force the anchor to go out, yes, but she refuses to take the anchor in. Sometimes it takes hours of persuasion to make her take the anchor chains in the chain boxes. Now, here, the Laptev Sea, not an obstruction. Even though we strained her anchor winch to the maximum depth – no complaints. Full cooperation.

Laptev Sea

A calm Laptev Sea. Photo: Ulf Hedman

And no one has been here sampling the way we did. Now we have left C. On the way to D. We are out of the mixed waters bringing warmer water down to the seabed speeding up the thawing of the bottom permafrost. Now we are, C-D, no mixing, negative bottom temperatures and no melting at the bottom. We are ticking of stations. 25,26,27,28,29,30. One more, 31 and we are at D. D to D will be out over the slope, in a canyon, dropping from -100m to -3000 meters just like that.

Is there methane leakage in the slope? It was around B! Is it the same by D? Starting on top, shallow. CTD to see mixing and layers. MB and “Skidbladner” the small Multibeam boat will be the eyes under water. Sharp eyes missing no details. Water bottles and CTD will discover mixing and water profiles. Shall we throw in a more intense sampling programme or not? Are there traces? Do we read methane? We will map the canyon sides; focus on -250, -500 and -750 meters. We need sediment also. Full stations?

And in the middle of all this – a dinner. Mid Cruise Dinner! Perhaps not exactly in the middle, but middle enough. Middle because it fits the programme. Just after station 31 there will be a few hours gap before station 32. All meet for dinner. Work clothes off, normal on. For a few hours. All eating together. We all work together. Everybody contributes to get the data. But we work shifts. We do not always meet in a day or two. As if we were in different time zones. Tonight at 17:30 UTC we synchronize our clocks and meet for a joint dinner.

But soon, just after dessert, we will probably have reached next station. CTD, Multicorer should Skidbladner go in the water? Do we have methane? Full station programme?

This is D to D.