Bremerhaven – Fram Strait – Bremerhaven: since 24 May, the Polarstern has once again been underway. Her goal: to gather samples from the Arctic waters between Greenland and Svalbard. For five weeks, the crew and researchers will live together in cramped quarters on board the icebreaker. People run into each other on the working deck, in the gangways, in the break rooms or on the bridge. Time to ask a few questions.
How many trips on board the Polarstern does this make for you?
My seventh or eighth.
What is your research project here on board?
I’m mapping the deep sea, and this time my plan is to document whale corpses in the Arctic. This time we have a new camera with us for the task.
What do you hope the outcomes will provide?
Some great academic publications, new observations and a better understanding.
What’s the most challenging part of doing your work on a ship?
The remoteness. For our equipment, we need to download a great deal of software, drivers, updates, etc. You have to be really well prepared to make sure you have it all with you.
What’s your favourite part of the ship?
The winch control station: you can see everything from there, and it’s also where I do much of my work.
What was the biggest surprise when you first came on board?
The swimming pool!
When you travel, what do you absolutely have to take along?
Mamite; it’s an English tea.
What do you think is special about living and working on the Polarstern?
With my deep-sea camera, here I can go places no one has ever seen before. On every cruise there’s something new and undiscovered. And of course, later you can impress people with that at clubs.
What do you do after hours?
Making illustrations, sketching and enjoying the view from the ship. Plus trips to the sauna.
Sauna, or watching for whales on deck?
Sauna, no question. I’ve seen plenty of whales.