Written Thursday, 20 December
2.3 knots... 2.0..1.9...1.2... 0.0. A glance at the screen in the red saloon during tea reveals it quite unambiguously: we are still stuck in the thick pack ice near Neumayer Station. The courageous Polarstern moves forward and backward and forward again, listing slowly to one side, shaking as if under a heavy burden — again a few meters gained.
It is a lovely day, the ice gleaming white under a pastel blue sky, like lightly dropped dollops of meringue — but the nice picture is deceptive. The imposing pieces that Polarstern forces out of the closed ice cover hardly move, and we can only guess how impenetrable the ice is. For the first time I feel like it is becoming something of an adversary. Turning back in the track that we generated on the way to the shelf ice edge has turned out to be impossible, unfortunately. We push those 30 hours to the next station, impatiently awaited by everybody, ahead of us all day long. In the labs the samples from the last station are being processed, DNA extractions are being prepared, but nonetheless the scientists are beginning to feel that it is time for something unusual to happen.
The idea of pushing the ship is quickly dismissed -— but we all want to help!! So after the evening seminar we gather on the uppermost deck in the evening sun to join forces to help our ship in breaking the ice by carefully practiced and coordinated jumping. The bridge blows a thank-you with the horn, we deliver an impressing performance- and it works!! At least for a little while, Polarstern glides forward, with renewed courage, as one can feel. Except that it seems to me that our expedition leader is still looking rather sorrowful across the bough over the ice, even though he participated in our courageous effort without hesitation!
How the Naja Arctica is faring we do not know. Two days ago, she arrived in the “parking spot” that we had vacated, and we got a message from her crew thanking us for the sculptured snow woman we left in the ice.
Brigitte Ebbe, Senckenberg
Photos: B. Ebbe
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Friday, 21 December 2007 06:32
Polarstern: In the pack iceWritten by Polarstern Expedition
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