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Welcome aboard our expedition to the Arctic ocean. From Svalbard we adventure northward towards the sea ice aboard R/V Lance, a Norwegian research vessel. While at sea we'll be posting regular dispatches and be interacting with schools. Once back on dry land we'll follow this up with lots of additional multimedia. To see all dispatches and photos from our expedition so far, click "Our Journey" button below.

Thanks to Rob at Feral Equipment for supplying us with equipment.

Our Journey


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The mountains, islands, and headlands on the north coast of Norway hove into sight at 0930 Monday, the last day of September, 2013. Shall we call that the end of our cruise, though we’re still 24 hours from the dock at Tromsø? When does an oceanographic expedition end? When the science is complete? When we pull within cell phone range of civilization? When we pose on the bow for the group photo? When the heaving lines arc over the rail onto the dock?
We ran the final CTD section on Friday, across a deep trench trending north-south, another likely conduit of warm Atlantic water. Then we turned onto 180°, Tromsø bound. But the “tourism” was not complete, some fantastic sights still to see on the northeast coast of Svalbard. [read more...]

Captain Iversen’s voice on the intercom during breakfast: “Hallo, kan noen i messa fortelle at vi ser hval rett forut for Lance?”
“Hval. Whales,” Chef Tom explained. “Ahead.” (It’s “val,” with a silent ‘H’) We fetched cameras and binoculars and hustled to the bridge, others to the bow….
No, this day could not be real, an Arctic fantasy spread out before us. Diamond-facet silver light glimmered on the sea surface, flat as a dance floor. Away to the horizon, the sea shifted color in bands of blue, black, and under a law bank of cloud in the far distance, Caribbean turquoise. North of the sun hung a perfect half moon. The Arctic Ocean often lies behind woolly fog, a monochromatic slate-grey—secretively—but on occasions like this the murk lifts to reveal its extravagant magic. [read more...]

It snowed last night, and it’s cold and slippery on deck. The mooring ops complete, Lance is quiet, hardly anyone topside. In several days, we’ll head for Tromsø, her homeport, a three-day steam from our present position. She’s been parked on that position for the last 24 hours of repeated CTD casts in order to measure local tides. Though of small moment to mariners, tides ebb and flow in the open ocean, but they only become visible when they encounter land features like bays and fjords that constrict and accelerate tidal flow. Vladimir and Bob need to know the set (direction) and drift (velocity) of the tides in order to remove those signals from their calculations of the more slowly varying currents of interest to this study. [read more...]