Jun. 26th, 2008

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Awakened at 6:03 by a telephone call in Russian. E answers the phone, groggy, listens, and hangs up. Wrong number: just like home. The phone is hard to answer because the handset is locked to the cradle. The water noise in the radiator is louder today; the heat's on. The call was particularly inconveniently timed, E tells me, because she was just about to learn the punch line to a really funny new risqué joke in her dream.

Yesterday's thermos jugs of not-quite-hot water in the lounge down the hall have been replaced by a gleaming new press-button machine which can dispense all kinds of fancy coffee drinks, hot chocolate, or steamed milk at the touch of the right button. Fortunately, it also produces plain hot water, and morning tea today is much better.


Adult kittiwake


First-year (nonbreeding) adult kittiwake


Kittiwakes are crying outside the ship just before 8:00 as I drink tea and catch up on writing. The expedition leader tells us in his morning wake-up call that we have traveled about 500 nautical miles from Murmansk and that it's just under 4C (40 degrees F). He also tells us our official position: 77 degrees and a fraction I missed North and 45 degrees and a fraction I missed East and the wind is 10 kph; noon readings for the ship haven't been posted. (I ask at the information desk during breakfast, and the expedition leader tells me I can get that information on the bridge. The staff plan to put up a map with the ship's course and noon positions marked on it, but haven't done it yet. I kind of think captain and the bridge crew don't want everyone pawing through the logs, though...) The weather is dully overcast and dim, but less foggy than yesterday. The expedition staff say that when we cross into the ice pack later today, we'll probably have clearer skies.

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