August 17th now. Back on land. I’ll take you post by post through a few remarkable days. First however another glimpse of that amazing midnight sun…at midnight.
ON BOARD THE GOOD SHIP LINDEN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 13TH.
On board the Linden…out of Longyearbyen. Forty-six degrees, feels much colder to this New Mexico-habituated body. We’re sailing (well, actually there’s no wind, so technically we’re…what? Chugging?) now to our berth for the night which is at Basecamp’s other outpost where a couple of the crew and a couple from Amsterdam will put out fish nets for tomorrow night’s meal. I, on the other hand, will try for a full night’s sleep…I must have this catch-up in order to enjoy a few more midnight suns before leaving this sunny Arctic place…wherever I go there I am, just me and my best friend, the sun.
So the Linden did haul cargo back in the day and, we are told, because of that it’s a safe, sound ship. It is simply beautiful. Many photos will be shared! With the book upstairs in hand, the Story of the Linden, it might be called I will offer up some more details. For now I’ll just say it is gracefully, elegantly, sensibly beautiful.
There’s a crew of five: the Captain and First Mate, a cook, and two young jack-of-all-trades crew members, all Danish. Then the Captain has his parents and a friend visiting for this adventure. There’s also Elodie, a journalist/information officer from Paris who works with a research ship funded by a number of countries but sailing under the French flag. Our expedition leader, Mette, a Norwegian, is an absolutely incredible woman with years of work in bomb-removal and other dangerous occupations in Afghanistan and the Western Sahara. She’s also been an emergency mental health worker/trainer in Oregon and now works as director of expeditions for various companies in the Arctic and Antarctic. I intend to be her in my next life…and what a knowledgeable resource she will be for my 2020 trip to Antarctica. Finally there are three of us passengers. A couple, he’s a test-making company official and she a medical doctor, from Amsterdam. And me. How much better could it get…not possible.
For dinner the Captain, who was Chef for the day, broiled fresh salmon, with plain boiled potatoes, drizzled with butter and a really tasty green salad. It was simple, flavorful, and I’ll sleep well.
Tomorrow we will look for walrus and any other wild life around the fringes of the fjord and then our science-journalist is gathering plankton which we’ll examine with microscopes; we’ll look at documentaries about plankton; and then be guided through a bit of individual research. And another interesting fact, walruses suck seals’ brains right out through their ears or mouths or eyes (can’t remember which right now) if they can catch them.
I’m very briefly connected so probably won’t be back in cyberspace for another couple of day—by which time there’ll be many posts; hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photos; and more exciting facts about plankton. I love it here.