Saturday 2 May 2015

What you see at sea

“Doesn't it seem to you, that the mind moves more freely in the presence of that boundless expanse, that the sight of it elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal?”
These words were put in the mouth of Madame Bovary, key character in Gustave Flaubert’s novel of the same name.
It beautifully sums up what happens to your mind when you stand on the outside deck, a tea in hand, and let your gaze wander in the distance. There is no other place like the ocean.
Here, on the stretch between England and Norway, the vast expanse is punctuated quite a bit by modern time architecture of the technical kind. The North Sea is not very deep, which made her the ideal testing ground for seismic exploration in the past. And those who searched, found. A lot. So there is an astounding amount of oil rigs all around us, serviced by a large fleet of strange-looking ships, clearly built for practical purposes and not for a beauty contest for vessels. So there is a lot to see at sea.
But not only that, a fully-fletched lecture program is presented all throughout the day, and we are especially happy to welcome Prof. Julian Dowdeswell as a guest lecturer.
Have a look what you can learn in only one day:
Professor Julian Dowdeswell is the director of the renowned Scott Polar Institute in Oxford, which houses also the most comprehensive polar library on the planet. He is an expert on ice and climate and luckily has agreed to give a cycle of three presentations during this voyage, shedding a light on changes to our environment.
Olav Orheim is a well-known figure in Norway, scientifically and beyond that. Hardly any museum founded he wasn’t on the board of, he holds two titles equaling knighthood, and his knowledge about ice and exploration history is nigh unfathomable. Today he is talking about the incredible voyages of the historic ship FRAM, used by the three most sophisticated explorers of their time -  Fritjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, and Roald Amundsen
Katja Kern, our art historian, is specialized in the field of medieval architecture and culture, so her knowledge about Vikings and post-Viking culture and buildings are just in the right spot. Today she shares all there is to know about stave churches.
Arne Kertelhein is a passionate historian who not only has worked in many museums but feels mostly at home on expedition ships, especially in the polar areas. Today you learn about “Fjords, Trolls, and Cloudberries”, a comprehensive account of Norwegian tradition and history.
Steffen Biersack, as the geologist, probably has to deal with the longest time periods on the team. Today he gives an account on the History of planet Earth, so no less than 4.600 Million years.
So, after a wonderful day of contemplation and education, the sun sets warmly in the western skies.
A day at sea..