Posts from Tuesday 30 Sep


Sparker unit deployed by the British Geological Survey team

Sparker unit deployed by Carol Cotterill and Dave Smith, the British Geological Survey team, to image the sea-bed using seismic technology.

Polar Bear Beating

Lemn Sissay

It’s an iceberg. I’m telling you it is” said a normally sedate Marcus Brigstocke. “it is not!” frowned Sunand Prasad, head of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Sunand marched away back to the ship. “It is though” muttered Marcus.

A few miles away Vicky and Hannah of the Cape Farewell team have marked out a chessboard into the beach. They’re playing “indigenous chess” using seals in various poses as the chess pieces. “It is eco tourism “ whispers Hannah with an intense frown. “knight takes prawn”.
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Sound & Vision

The sound just isn’t right. Despite the undoubted talents of all involved, what’s coming out of the speakers is a meaningless din. A lot of noise without even a clear base line. And, no, it’s not just that I’m getting older and this isn’t for me – everyone agrees that something is badly, possibly terminally, awry. The venue is the prime candidate for blame – an echoey acoustic nightmare which drowns everyone’s efforts in its own throbbing. But my travelling companions aren’t just creative, they’re determined. They adjust amps, tweak pitch, even change the tempo…. until finally the instruments and their surroundings are in harmony – and the steady beats coming out of the boom-box build up into a sweeping epic track: one which takes hours to record and reveals the layout and geology of miles of sea-floor beneath our ship.
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See – la echhchlengnongnahra!

Ok so we’re at the end of day 4 of the expedition, sorry for not having written sooner. I seem to have been rendered incapable of being able to put into words what I’ve seen, heard, said and thought since beginning this expedition to Disko Bay, I’ve been entirely overwhelmed by it (in a good way!). I’m not sure I’m in a better state to communicate now, but guilt is getting the better of me – so here goes!
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Pleased to announce that I have finally arrived

Shlomo taking part in the climate change expedition in Greenland
Shlomo. Photo: Nathan Gallagher

Hi. Shlomo here. I am pleased to announce that I have finally arrived at Disko Bay. And I am totally shell shocked.

In the past 36 hours I’ve travelled from Moscow to the Arctic, with a quick stop off for a performance at Wembley Arena. Somehow I feel quite surprised to have actually arrived. I spent the whole of the last week trying not to visualise what the Arctic would be like, seeing as nothing ever turns out to be how you pictured it.

This seems to have left me a little unprepared for the combined experience of a a) seeing my first giant iceberg (the size of a small bus station) and b) being introduced to Jarvis Cocker, KT Tunstall and Laurie Anderson, all within 10 minutes. Definitely time for a peppermint tea break.
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Jakobshavn Isbrae

The day started with a walk to the viewpoint for the Jakobshavn Isbrae ice fjord – approximately 15km of the largest icebergs I have ever seen, grounded against a terminal moraine complex. Frustratingly the weather closed in and it started snowing with a vengeance. Whilst it looked lovely, the snow storm and accompanying gloom masked the iceberg calving events that were tantalisingly audible through the murk!
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Ilulissat Kangia icebergs

Diminishing Ilulissat Kangia icebergs
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Ilulissat Kangia

Icebergs at the foot of Ilulissat Kangia (Danish name Jacobshavn Glacier)

Icebergs at the foot of Ilulissat Kangia (Danish name Jacobshavn Glacier)
Four photos of icebergs at the foot of Ilulissat Kangia (Danish name – Jacobshavn Glacier).
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Ilulissat Kangia

Ilulissat Kangia (Jacobshavn Glacier)
Ilulissat Kangia (Danish name Jacobshavn Glacier)
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Leaving Ilulissat

Robyn Hitchcock on an expedition in The Arctic where they are investigating the affects of climate change
Robyn Hitchcock on the top deck of the Grigory Mikheev as we leave Ilulissat. Photo: Nathan Gallagher

3 new voyagers arrive

Graham Hill joins the boat in Ilulissat, along with beatboxer Shlomo and Jude Kelly

Graham Hill, founder of joins the boat in Ilulissat, along with beatboxer Shlomo and Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre.

This too shall pass

Thank you to all the bloggers, critics, supporters and climate change Armageddon fan club members out there filling the skies with messages of support and love and bafflement – deftly plucked out of the clear cold air by Kathy and team in their electronic catching glove and passed on to us all. The interest in what we are doing up here floating, trudging, debating and snowballing our way round the Arctic is invigorating and also grounds me (poor metaphor on a boat, I know) at a time when everything else seems so utterly extraordinary and unreal. Hearing from back home makes it feel that this is more than just a big poncy gang of greenies bellowing into the wind while no one listens. Hectoring like misguided enviro-priests who’ve missed the central point that Sarah Palin has embedded in her baked Alaska of a brain – that this all part of God’s great plan for the world. Palin sees God as an Emo teenager going through a needlessly destructive stage, self harming and breaking all his things in a fit of adolescent petulance. “Just keep on loving him and don’t ask too many questions, he’ll grow out of it once he’s let off steam, now lets’ get some drilling done in the pristine wilderness”. She is wrong (and mental and greedy and dangerous too, but that is for another time).
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