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  • Writer's pictureJim McNeill

Foundation I - Day Nine

Updated: Oct 12

We sailed overnight and ended up in Ymerbukta facing the magnificent Esmarkbreen (btw bukta is bay and breen is glacier). Floating ice debris provided much evidence of carving from a very active glacier. Fantastic to experience but left you questioning how long can the glacier keep giving and was it being “topped up” enough during the winter? (Processes known as glacial accumulation – snow deposits, freezing rain, topography, etc. and glacial ablation – melting, evaporation, sublimation, wind erosion, water run-off, etc.).

This the penultimate morning, we assembled in the lounge for a group debrief. Each person was encouraged to come up with ideas, suggestions and comments on how we might conduct our 10-year programme of oceanography and comment on their own experiences on this foundation expeditions.

We discussed so many things from how we can work on making participants presence on Linden as “light a footprint” as possible. Everything from a toothbrush to clothing to soap to how they embark on their journey, i.e. getting to their embarkation point with the least possible impact.

I asked people for the high points and their low points. Generally speaking, the highs were their experiences of pristine mother nature in the extremes and of sailing such a beautiful vessel. Their lows were their experiences of how we, as humans, are affecting mother nature in adverse ways. The pollution, the avian flu, the receding glaciers and warming temperatures and careful consideration of the future was voiced. But the universal and exception High were the Procrew! Not just Rasmus and Sixten but the incredibly youthful crew members. Their dedication, hard work (work ethic), knowledge, maturity, team spirit, tenacity, even courage was outstanding and an absolute credit to Bjorn (the absent owner) Rasmus and Sixten.

Everyone felt emotional and everyone was concerned about the future. This was so pleasing for me. It augured very well for the future of Ocean Warrior and what we are setting out to achieve.

After another scrumptious lunch we all assembled at the rear of Linden for an expedition group shot. Hurrah (in the old tradition). Happy and historical.

We made haste to Longyearbyen and docked at around 16:00, despite a forceful tricky wind. It was decided rather convivially to give Louise a rest from her incredible, dedicated, wholly satisfying and edifying cooking skills by booking a table in town for our last supper as an expedition team.

Post script – It was a massive and delightful surprise to us all that Richard Painter – Director of Warrior Citizen Science, picked up the bill (personally) for our supper – huge thanks, Richard.

Serious Stuff #2

Richard and I had a specific personal and “business” debrief with thoughts about the future of crewing and financing Ocean Warrior that afternoon and an overall plan was hatched with numerous caveats and contingencies aired.

Throughout the journey Rasmus, Icarus, Sam, myself and others (pretty much everyone) were conversing constantly about what we needed – equipment, clothing, instrumentation, IT, communications, etc.

How were we going to use the Linden and what alterations did we need to make over winter – building of a laboratory, underwater ways, power generation, engine enhancements, even sail modifications. What was the most important scientific data we were going to collect and methods, procedures, protocols and practicalities of collecting and disseminating it.

Who were going to constitute the Ocean Warrior Crew (the citizen scientists), the scientific crew, the Procrew and how were we going to reach such people to fulfil our 10-year programme?

The two most important factors for me were how was I going to finance it and what real difference were we going to make to the crisis which we all now face. After all, this was my dream, my drive, my life and I’m wholly dedicated to making it worthwhile.

Post script - I cannot tell you how fabulous and valuable it is to have Sam share my life.

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