September 24 to 27 – Life on an icebreaker

September 24

Life is pretty great aboard the [Federov]. We got some northern lights the first night and tonight we had phosphorescence in the wake, tons of very small bulbs of bright light flashing and disappearing quickly.

Our routine is fairly regular, breakfast at 7:30 a.m., lunch at 11:30 a.m., tea time at 3:30 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m.. Time for writing and conversing with scientists in-between, as well as relaxing and playing cards in the evening.

Northern lights from the MOSAiC expedition. Photo by Stefan Hendricks

September 26

Today we started with a safety meeting at 10:00 am. I joined a crossfit session in the afternoon which was interrupted by a polar bear sighting. There is now so much ice, so beautiful!

We reached the ice edge at 1:30 a.m. and within just a few hours there was complete cover. At first we saw here and there some little floes… but then at the horizon is the white of the ice edge.

The ice pushes aside as the icebreaker glides through. Loud metallic noise can be heard. The intensity somewhat proportional to the ice thickness. Suddenly, we came across some grease ice [very thin, soupy layer of randomly oriented ice crystals clumped together], and then we were surrounded by nilas [young ice].

We also have crossed paths with two polar bears (single, probably male), two seals, plenty of gulls, three polar bear tracks (one adult with one cub) and one Arctic fox.

Arctic Ocean ice edge. Photo by Esther Horvath.

September 27

This morning we tried the sauna. It was a bit on the warm side at 208°F, especially since the outside air temperature was 28°F and the Arctic Ocean was at 30°F.

Several lecturers came over from the Polarstern for MOSAiC School, for which 20 early career researchers are onboard until the end of October to learn about Arctic climate through hands-on experiences.

Go back to MOSAiC expedition homepage.