Tuesday 30 March 2010

Housekeeping is the new Fram Olympic Champion

Another barbeque outside on deck 7. Every day for the last week we have been eating a bit more than normal under the excuse of this being the last barbeque. But the next day the weather has been good again –and we have been able to use the same excuse:-)

For the Fram Olympic Games final there was no more running, jumping, pushing, eating and throwing like it has been in the previous round of the games. Now it was time for mind games, safety questions and Fram quiz. Do you know the full name of Captain Hansen and Hotel Manager “Miss Else”, and where and when Fram was baptized?

Before the final, team Leftover with the ship management was leading. But in the final Housekeeping proved they had the strongest minds and won the Fram Olympic Games. Deck Department was only one tiny point behind on 2nd place. And team Leftovers ended up with 3rd place.

Housekeeping is now challenging passengers to compete with us on the next crossings. As said earlier on the blog we are inviting passengers to join us for this work and fun. Of course the work is voluntary and it is also a nice opportunity for a relaxing holiday, just to enjoy the time at sea. You can choose the short re-positioning cruise from Spitsbergen to Reykjavik, 4 days from July 12th to July 16th 2010. Or you can join the long one from Halifax to Buenos Aires, 23 days from October 9th to November 1st. And Fram will also do this cruise from Buenos Aires to Lisbon again in 2011.

For more information contact chief.purser@hurtigruten .com.


Deck department




Saturday 27 March 2010


Right before our 3 o’clock coffee break, we heard the alarm fire alarm, our weekly drill started. It was simulated fire on board. One of our crew where missing, but lucky our fire team found our always smiling Richardson. Unfortunately he was hurt, so the hospital team had to bring a stretcher for him. It is heavy to carry even a always smiling person, so now the guys had to show their mussels.

When the abandon ship alarm sounded, all crew had to go to their position outside on deck 5.

When the drill was over, we observed land.

March 12th we left Buenos Aires, sailing towards Lisbon. Since we needed more bunker, we had to sail via Las Palmas, where we came today, Friday night, March 26th at approximately at 18:00 – after sailing a distance of 4697,5 nautical miles, leaving Buenos Aires.

At this moment we are leaving Las Palmas, continuing our route to Lisbon. Days are running, and we have a lot of work to do before you can come on board April 1st.

We have had a beautiful crossing so far, and it is almost amazing how nice the sea can be for so many days, be sure, we like that, and we hope it’ll continue for the coming days.

Tomorrow we will have the famous Fram Olympic Games Final.

Friday 26 March 2010

Fram Olympic Games goes on

Thursday the games started outside on deck. First we participated in sack race. All teams were off course very interested to win.

Sack race with 5 crew in it on the same time, is really something to try. It is so important to cooperate; jump on the same time, and turn on the same time and in same direction; otherwise the whole group is falling over – crawling on deck - instead of - moving forward.

Since we had borrowed the big sack from the Italian workers, they of course knew how to win the race. They won the first round – and in the sack race final – they were; SIMPLY THE BEST! Our First officer where shore that sack jumping is one of the Italian national sports, next to eating spaghetti!

Then it was time for throwing water balloons, but because of strong wind, the water balloons were changed into raw eggs. As you can see our Chief Purser is really worried about her teams’ egg. Maybe she hit her helper.

To continue the very exciting olympics, we had to move inside, because of the strong wind.

The longest one! Imagine what was going to be "the longest one"?

5 members in each team should try to make the longest line of thing they carried/had on, like key change, shoelaces, jewelries and of course clothing. Leftovers won “the longest one” last year, so you can bet that almost all crew had planned for a big revenge. But we are actually not sure which team won “the longest one”. Be glad we don’t have a picture to show.....

At all time, our judge, Captain Arnvid Hansen is the only one who knows which team is in the leading position.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Grand opening Fram Olympic Games

It`s time for the Fram Olympic Games again. Last crossing team leftovers with the ship management won first price. Tonight all the other teams were eager to get the revenge they been waiting for since last crossing in October.

First task was hamburger eating. Doctor Alex impressed everyone when finishing the burger in no time. He has spent a lot of time in the fitness room lately, probably working up his appetite.

Next competition was newspaper dance. When the music stopped the dancers had to get their feet inside the newspaper, every round the newspaper was folded and became smaller and smaller, while the creativity became bigger and bigger. The judge Captain Hansen found it impossible to select a winner, so the points were divided between Deck department, Galley and Housekeeping.

Then it was time to get undressed, one female and one male member of each team had to change clothes inside a duvet cover. Deck department was superior here, as they have a lot of experience changing their clothes quickly when the Expedition Leader and Captain suddenly decide to do an unplanned landing.

Last contest was apple eating, it might sound easy, but when the apples are hanging from the roof and you are not allowed to use your hands it`s not easy at all. Still Deck department managed to get their third point for the evening.

Fram Olympic Games will continue tomorrow. Let`s hope the Italians and Engine team can get some points then.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Basketball tournament

Can you believe to play basketball on a ship, outside on deck? Yesterday the very exciting basketball tournament started on board MV Fram, between the team from Engine/Galley, Deck and Dining. It was some exiting games yesterday, and today the final was between MV Fram Dining vs. MV Fram Engine/Galley.

It was a close game. Following points was made by;
Engine/Galley: Irvin 8, Barry 7 & Alex 1, in total 16 score
Dining: Elmer F. 6, Elmer E. 11 & Marvin 1, in total 19 score
Brian & Eric did a good profile on their team as substitutes.

Rest of crew where cheering for their favorites .
We even had a cheerleader; Lyn dressed in the MV Fram Dining suit was definitely the one making the most noise.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Cleaning the whole ship

The Italian workers are now finished with replacing the bathroom floor in all passenger cabins. Only the crew cabins left now, but fortunately for the workers they have run out of tiles. And there is now place to get supplies in the middle of the Atlantic sea. So the only thing they are working on now is their suntan. New tiles will arrive when we are bunkering in Las Palmas March 26th.

But after the work is done, somebody has to clean up. Cabins and corridors are full of dust. Housekeeping has already started on this job. They have been eager to get started as they want Fram to look her best when welcoming passengers in Lisbon April 1st. Richard, Betita, Rosa and Maria always do their job with a big smile on their face and sometimes even singing.

The freeze also has to be cleaned. It looks a bit funny though, when we have 40 degrees outside and the guys are walking around in their boiler suits.

Crossing Equator March 20th at 15:37:20

All seafarers must be baptized the first time crossing the Equator, if not King Neptune will not protect us from bad weather. At 15:37:20 today we crossed the Equator line, going north, from south. To honour the traditions we had a solemn ceremony.

All crew and workers were invited out on deck 7. After crossing line, Captain Hansen welcomed King Neptun  and the the Queen with their helpers.

King Neptune`s first victim was our Safety Officer. We had promised our colleagues at MS Lofoten to make sure he was baptised probably, since he was on his first crossing at sea. After that all new crew had to be baptized according to Neptune`s rules. His helpers had a lot to do since 30 crew and 12 italian workers were crossing the Equator for the first time. They were served a mixed soup, fish, eggs and a special biscuit.
On the look on their faces and the smell in the air, the food wasn`t up to the normal Fram standard.

King Neptune alias First Engineer Jonny and his Queen alias Chief Engineer Tormod, were very happy with the ceremony on board MV Fram today. They want to thank all their helpers and of course all participants. They would also like to invite you to join us for the next crossing in October 2010, then crossing Equator sailing from north to south. If you think this looks interesting, please send an email to chief.purser.fr@hurtigruten.com

PS; as a passenger you can choose to participate in the baptism, or just watch, but as seafarer or worker, there is now excuse to not show up – then the police will find you – MV Fram is a “small” ship.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Northern Gannets

Today we got company, from a lot of Northern Gannets (birds). They can be 95 cm, and the young once like to fly south to the cost around Africa. And as you know, we are sailing between South Africa and South America - so they want to join us. When we are coming to Europe, we might meet their parents. Once for sure, it is not easy to catch them on a picture. It is probably easier for them to catch the flying fishes we also see here.

Vanessa had her birthday recently, and she has celebrated for a couple of days now. Vanessa is normally working as a Waitress and Stewardess, but on this crossing she is working all over the ship. As you can see on the picture, she was very happy to get this nice birthday cake from the guys in our galley. We all were singing for her.
Tonight we will continue with our chess competition and start our shooting competition.

Friday 19 March 2010

Visit the bridge

On the Bridge 2nd Officer Sobers is checking the planned route to Lisbon. We want to get there as early as possible and at the same time use as little fuel as possible. To achieve this Captain Arnvid Hansen has taken weather and sea conditions into consideration when planning the route. He has sailed this distance many times before and is familiar with the area.

Betita and Johnny from Housekeeping are also on the bridge today. They are cleaning every corner of the bridge, floor, walls and roof.

The Captain is in his office answering emails and planning the upcoming Europe cruise. Outside it is around 40 degrees Celsius. So it is totally understandable that the Captain has put away his uniform and found his Hawaii shirt.

Now we are all very excited about the darts final that will take place in the gym tonight. Let`s see if the favorite from yesterday AB Wyne can win tonight.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Someone is always working

It is after midnight and some of the crew is still on duty. Engine room is always manned, 2nd Engineer Yadav is giving us a big smile as his duty is about to finish. 3rd Engineer Victor is probably at the moment being woken up from his sweet dreams. Tonight he is relieving Yadav at 01:00 instead of midnight as normal. This is due to that we are advancing the clock by one hour tonight, reaching Mid Atlantic Standard Time at position S 20’ 04” W 038’ 12”.

Shop Manager Rowena is also working at this time. AB Rey is passing by on his security round and is kind enough to help Rowena count postcard. From the picture it might look more like he is disturbing her than helping. And of course, myself Chief Purser Line, photographer and writer of the blog is still on duty.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Destroying bathrooms

It looks like our 12 Italian passengers are not happy with the service on board. They have been destroying bathroom floors all over the ship, starting on deck 6 and working their way down. But the reason for their behavior is not the service given on Fram, I think all previous passengers can agree on this. During this crossing we will replace the bathroom heating in 140 cabins. It is a lot of work, first they must remove the tiles, replace the heater cables and then finish with new tiles.

Yesterday the welfare arranged pushball and table tennis competitions in the bar. After many rounds of hard competition, the proud winners of the pushball were Headwaiter Elmer and Motorman Miko. Best table tennis player onboard was 2nd Cook Barry.

Monday 15 March 2010

What a beautiful sunset

Today Sunday, we have been working with counting provisions, paper and pens.
Our newly hired blog photographer AB Arwin  managed to get some pictures of the hard working deck crew. Today they have been varnishing chairs and tables, and painting forward on deck 5.

The weather couldn’t be better, calm sea, nice temperature and a beautiful sunset.
Our Hotel Manager was walking around checking the preparation for our barbeque, when she saw the beautiful sunset. As the picture shows, the colors were amazing.

As mentioned, we are going to have a barbeque dinner tonight again. Today Barry and Brian are preparing lamb ribs, and of course there will be some salads, rice (always rice even for breakfast and lunch), toasted garlic bread (hmmmmm that’s so good) and some desserts. Our Waitress Lyn, Hotel Manager Else Kristine and our Nurse Janitza, are all looking forward to taste the food, and hopefully they can watch the beautiful sunset while eating.

Sunday 14 March 2010

15 days at sea..

Fram has started on the re-positioning cruise to Lisbon. At the moment we are sailing outside the coast of Brazil in good weather. Due to this nice weather Chef Johan-Ludvig has already arranged two successful barbeque outside on deck 7 and there will be many more to come. His plan is to serve dinner outside as long as weather is permitting.

The happy people of Fram now consist of 63 crewmembers and 12 Italian workers. We were also hoping for adventurous passengers to join us for this crossing, but nobody signed up for this. Now we are hoping to show you that we do have a lot of fun these next 15 days, so you might be tempted to join us for the next re-positioning cruise.

Here is MV Fram`s own inventive welfare committee planning competitions and big happenings. Tonight will be karaoke night in the bar.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Square Dancing Penguins

We had a mixture of sun and clouds today and relatively calm seas.  As we approach Buenos Aires, the temperature continues to climb and is now a downright balmy 70 degrees F. The humidity is noticeably higher. We will be pulling out the shorts and short sleeved shirts and packing away all of the cold weather gear!
In the afternoon we had the results of our creativity contest.  There were lots of entrants and a surprising diversity of material.  There was everything from a penguin square dance, to lots of stimulating poetry, drawings, paintings and puzzles!  Congratulations to all of the entrants.  Picking one winner was impossible.  In fact it was not about winning. It was about the spirit of participating.
In the evening we held a multiple choice quiz.
Camille stalked our crew members with her camera again today.  Here are a few more members of our  hard working crew.
Tomorrow we say goodbye. Usually new passengers arrive on our port days but not tomorrow.  Many crew members will be leaving and new crew arriving but Fram will sail to europe without passengers.
 We would like to thank you for travelling with us and we very much hope to see you again, whether it is in Europe, the Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland, Spitsbergen or the beautiful coast of Norway.  For those of you reading the blog  at home we hope that our adventures in Antarctica will inspire you to travel to the Great White Continent one day.

It's Getting Warmer!

First there was fog and rain.  Then the sun came out.  Nice!  Then more fog.  There is a new dampness to the air.  You can feel the humidity and temperature increasing as we steam towards Buenos Aires.  Even though we are several hundred miles from land we have been seeing lots of butterflies.  The seas have been calm throughout the day.  When not attending lectures most of us have been busy packing and sorting through our travel arrangements for once we leave Fram.  In the evening the Captain gave a nice farewell speech before dinner. For desert the crew marched out the baked Alaska replete with sparklers and real uptempo music.  The MV Fram choir showed their singing talents once again by singing several farewell songs.  It created a really fun atmosphere.
After dinner we met in the Observation Lounge for the charity auction.  This time the money was being raised to support Shackleton's cabin from his ship the Quest.  Fram will be bringing the cabin to the museum at Grytiviken next year. A well run ship only runs well if it functions as a team.  All of the departments on Fram work very well together.  It makes it a real pleasure to work and live here.   Here is a random sampling of some of our stellar crew members and officers as our photographer Camille Seaman roamed the ship today with her camera.

Wednesday 10 March 2010

How Will You Possibly Remember?

It has been an epic journey and it is not over yet.  We have done and seen  many fantastic things.  To jog your memory of our voyage to date, here is a quick recap:
  • Feb 23:  Ushuaia.  You arrived at the beginning of the most adventurous trip you have ever undertaken. You boarded Fram.  You didn't know what to expect.  You met us.  I hope we weren't too scary. What would life be like for seventeen days on board Fram?   The Drake?  Yeesh! You had heard the stories.   Remember the mandatory safety drill?  The Captain's welcome speech?
  • Feb. 24: The first day on the Drake.  Uh oh.  The stories are true. A storm. Big waves. Who the hell decided it was a good idea to go to Antarctica?  We couldn't walk a straight line if our life depended on it.  The worst part was that we hadn't even been drinking!
  • Feb. 25: Late on our second day we landed on Deception Island. Who will forget their first landing in Antarctica?  It was so great to set foot on terra firma.  I know that more than one person wanted to kiss the ground.   Dark and mysterious.  Remnants of whaling days.  Antarctic Fur Seals.  A Southern Elephant Seal.  Our first few penguins. Skuas. A large flock of Kelp Gulls. The first ride in a Polar Cirkle boat.
  • Feb. 26: Port Lockroy and our first penguin colony.  Young Gentoo penguins were everywhere.  Pecking at people's pant legs. Underfoot.  Antarctic shopping at the gift shop in the small but excellent museum. Snowy Sheathbills and their ugly chicks (don't tell Manuel I said that).  A soft snowfall with bigg fluffy snowflakes. In the afternoon a landing on the actual continent of Antarctica! Almirante Brown and Paradise Bay.  You may not remember, but it snowed again.
  • Feb. 27:  Cuverville in the morning.  It was a gorgeous morning. No wind. Brilliant sunshine.  We climbed a hill overlooking the largest Gentoo colony on the peninsula and had epic views of the Gerlache Strait, RongĂ© Island and Arctowski Peninsula. In the afternoon we cruised through Wilhelmina Bay. The water was like a perfect mirror reflecting the stunning landscape. It was jaw droppingly beautiful.   We saw many Humpback and Minke whales throughout the day. 
  • Feb 28 -  you might want to forget.  On the heels of Shackleton we encountered a force twelve storm.  Right! All part of the grand adventure.  Through the mist we had brief glimpses of Elephant Island. Our last full day in Antarctica
  • Mar. 1: A full day at sea.  The wind had abated but the seas were even larger as we were not sheltered by the South Shetland Islands any longer. A busy day with lots of lectures.
  • Mar. 2:  More bouncing on the Scotia Sea.  The storm had abated but it was still somewhat on the rough side.  A day filled with lectures and documentray films and plenty of relaxation.
  • Mar. 3: Riding on the coat tails of the storm we approached South Georgia Island.  High winds kept us from entering Drygalski Fjord. Undaunted we headed straight for Grytiviken. By 10am there was a big weather change.  The sun came out.  The wind dropped. Beautiful.  We had a full three hours on shore. We visited Shackleton's grave, the whaling station, the museum and the Church.  Most people hiked over to King Edward Point.  There was lots of wildlife.  Big Elephant seals.  Fur Seals. Our first King Penguins!
  • Mar. 4: A day playing with katabatic winds.  We started at Fortuna Bay. Too windy.  We cruised by Leith and Husivik whaling stations on our way to Stromness.  Too windy at Stromness. Back to Fortuna.  Suddenly it was near perfect landing conditions.  There were cute Fur Seal pups everywhere.  King Penguins everywhere.  Reindeer. Amazing scenery with a fantastic beach.  Remember the kilometre walk to the King Penguin colony?
  • Mar.5: A day at sea.  More big waves.  Lots of lectures. A great day for sea birds with Wandering Albatross, Black-browed albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrels, White-chinned Petrels, Soft-plumaged Petrels and Wilson's Storm Petrels.
  • Mar. 6: Second sea day on the way to the Falklands.  We finally had smooth seas but, with reduced visibility (fog). A great day to relax.
  • Mar. 7: The Falkland Islands and Port Stanley.  Really great weather in Port Stanley.  It was warm!  Everyone headed off on different excursions or roamed about Stanley on their own. Peales dolphins were seen several times during the day.
  • Mar 8: Another EPIC day!!  New Island in the morning. West Point Island in the afternoon..   We sat with Albatross chicks and Rockhopper penguins.  Both islands featured a great walk.  The tea and cakes were at West Point.  Striated Caracaras were like pets they were so approachable. More Peales dolphins. In the evening we had excellent whale sightings with many Sei whales.
  • Mar. 9:  The day started out perfectly. Calm seas. Mild temperatures.  We joined the expedition team on deck for wildlife watching in the morning.  We were rewarded with more sightings of Sei whales and new sea bird species including Great Shearwaters, Atlantic Petrels and White-headed Petrels.
Whew!  What a packed trip and there is still more to come.  Don't worry.  We will be putting all of the daily programs, a chart of our journey, staff bios and some other goodies all into a Cd for you to take home with you - just in case you forget any of the details of this amazing journey.

    Tuesday 9 March 2010

    The Essence of Wild Freedom

    To sit and watch an albatross is to contemplate the essence of wild freedom. These free spirits induce a peaceful  introspective experience in the observer. They are magnificent, gentle creatures.
    Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that it is you sitting quietly with an albatross. On second thought, forget about closing your eyes. You won’t be able to read this. Wild surf pounds on the shore. Wind sighs through the tussoc. There is a cacophony of albatross and penguin calls all around you. Watching, listening and photographing, you feel closer to nature than you ever have before. The contentment of the young bird is contagious. The stress of your busy life at home forgotten. You are at peace for the first time in a long time. In some small way you feel grateful to the young bird. The important things in life seem to come in to sharper focus.
    That was our day today.
    We had brilliant weather for two absolutely outstanding landings:  New Island in the morning and West Point Island in the afternoon.  None of us will forget this day.  Striated Caracaras were ubiquitous on both landings.  Their bold and inquisitive nature added some amusement.  Rockhopper penguins were mixed in amongst the albatross.  Most of them were moulting.  It was a beautiful walk to the albatross colonies and at West Point there was tea served with lots of scrumptious cakes and cookies.
    When we left West Point we saw lots of whales.  Of particular note was a large group of Sei whales.