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Polartec fleece, long johns, parka, woolly socks, sweaters, liner gloves, hat, extra hat...

On Sunday I'm leaving for a (short) three-week trip that starts with three legs (ugh! Chicago!) of flying, to Helsinki. I've never been to Helsinki and I'm excited about seeing it! I need to buy a guidebook---so far I've struck out in two local bookstores, but I'm sure that either Books Inc., the travel bookstore, or Stacey's will have something.

On Tuesday, after a night in Helsinki, I travel to Murmansk with the rest of the tour group. That's right---I signed on for another Quark trip, to the North Pole. This time I'm going "with" someone, too, a friend I met on the Fram last year. ER is a single-malt drinker and a great traveler. I just hope I'm going to be as agreeable a companion as she! Her husband said he'd seen the North Pole already, from underneath (ex-Navy submariner) and didn't want to go again really. I wish he had come as I do think it might be different from on top. But we'll see.

Chuck Cross from Polar Cruises tipped me off that places were available still on this trip, and he's going to be on it himself. The ship is in its first tourist service season and as a booking agent he wants to check it out. Also, icebreaking is fun. Or so they tell me. Reportedly, a nuclear-powered icebreaker is not daunted by 8/10 to 10/10 ice, as the poor old Kapitan Khlebnikov was.

I've been looking at the National Snow and Ice Data Center's Sea Ice Index page and it looks like the Arctic is, though icy, not heavily, densely iced. The extent this year seems to be in the normal range. This trip won't involve much land time---on the return from the 90-degree mark, we're supposed to maybe stop at Franz Josef Land, and there I hope to get a look at some bird colonies. But I expect we'll have some chances to see a few seals and a walrus or so on the ice, maybe even polar bears, although I'd expect any animal with brains to stay well away from a nuclear icebreaker bashing its unswerving way onward.

Date: 2008-06-21 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paulaandandrew.livejournal.com
Chicago need not be ugh, y'know. In any event, bon voyage!

Date: 2008-06-21 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] poletopole.livejournal.com
Oh, I LOVE Chicago the city. It's the AIRPORT that's always an exercise in self-control. Changing planes there in the middle of a hot summer day is risky in so many ways! I always seem to end up going from one side of the state to the other at 2 mph with the clock running.

Date: 2008-06-25 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antemadeus.livejournal.com
have a safe and (another) fabulous trip!!! more pictures! and commentary! and wave to the polar bears (very cautiously) ;-)

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