Text and Photos: Jens Gruetzner, Jens is a researcher in the Geophysics department at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany.
I am currently sailing as a guest on the “Kronprins Haakon”. My home institution is the Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany. I have been doing marine research for quite some time, but this is my first cruise to the beautiful Arctic Ocean. I only recently started working with seismic data collected by my AWI-colleagues in the Fram Strait. During the expedition I can get an impression under what, sometimes very rough conditions, the data I am using has been collected. The time onboard the ship also provides an excellent opportunity to connect with international colleagues working in the same area and to get views of the spectacular nature, e.g. the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) we saw some days ago. So, I am very grateful to the organizers for having me invited to this journey and also to my department for financing the travel.
Although I have sailed on eleven ship expeditions before, every new cruise is again adventures, challenging and inspiring at the same time. The work with my colleagues in the “acoustic group” allows me to gain experience with shallow sub-bottom profiling and bathymetric methods (see Blog by Frances Cooke) in the search and characterization of gas hydrates, a field in which I do not have much experience in yet. The shift system we work on is: 8448. Which means 8 hours work, 4 hours rest, 4 hours work, 8 hours rest. Together with Frances I am on shift from 04:00 to 12:00 and again from 16:00 to 20:00. The first few days it was hard to get up at ~3:30 but now I am already used to it.
Compared to some older vessels this new ship is quite spacious and offers many amenities to spend the off-shift time: lounge, gym, sauna, lecture room, board games, video games…not to talk about the massage chair. Recently I managed to cope with the Norwegian menu control on the laundry machine. From Ranghild I learned that u/toymyk means “uten skyllemiddel” which in turn means “without softener”.
I sometimes walk around with my camera and try to get some objects of daily life documented (see photos) and also look at the pieces of art decorating some of the labs and the hallways. Like my shipmates I enjoy very much eating in the mess hall with panoramic windows. Reminds me that I had too many of the Norwegian deli “Smash” consisting of salted corn cones covered by milk chocolate. I am off to the gym