Author Archives: Michèle Noach

Ten musicians, one vanishing ice cap

The Word magazine cover feature

Look out for “Jarvis in the Arctic – Ten musicians, one vanishing ice cap” a feature on the Disko Bay expedition written by Michèle Noach, and The Word magazine’s cover feature for December 2008 (Issue 70).

Even I Have Not Seen What I Have Seen

Our Second Mate has a fondness for the phrase: You have not seen what I have seen. This delivered ominously in a rich Russian voice. I think he’s probably right and am keen to keep things that way. But on Monday, after a walk through snow-wrought hills, we topped a level and before us swept miles of glacier debris in graded chunks, with the larger ones leading to the glacier itself, some 30 km upfjord. The sky was doing its usual “I can do this, and have you seen me do this, and then there’s this” routine. Words were a bit redundant so we stood looking out and talking about really unrelated things to keep calm. The record industry, Battenberg cakes, Sarah Palin, Michael Palin.

Then off we waddled in our Thinsulate symphonies on another walk led by our Inuit guide Ludvig, twisting through icy swampish land, heading downwards this time. Lemn pointed out a scene of polar gorgeousness and what a great picture that would be. I agreed: it didn’t make a bad reality either.
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Who Rocks?

Lying in my cosily-lit bunk last night off the coast from Kangerlussuaq, as the sea slowly rolled us around, it felt like being in a giant cradle, rocked by a patient, powerful hand. Our ship is a steady big ole affair with dashing (both senses) Russians, crewing like troopers. We’ve been fed a great, great deal of food and not yet had landfall as we’re trying to get to a specific place where the scientists can throw something over the side, but in a productive way. Science is so reassuring. And yet not. And we seem to already be growing fat.

We’ve had a day of lectures, visuals and conversations about climate change: the science, the apocalypse and the good news. Gallons of each (actually, bit less of latter) to mull and ponder and shape into something useful. All the while remembering how to be practical in plan and grand in ambition. Tricky. This ship seems full of fast-breeder, original minds and cross-pollination is already in full, filthy congress. A sprawling, ideas-kicking friendly match. A kind of weather condition of thinking. In some ways the more ridiculous the ideas the better they seem, but that could be the lack of sleep. Extreme left-field thinking and trying to keep one’s pecker up in the face of colourfully illustrated catastrophe seems the ticket.
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The Ice Pages

decaying glacier 2004 voyage

This non-captain’s log will be the mental spillage from what is now my second voyage with Cape Farewell. This expedition features some major differences from the 2004 expedition, which was on a gorgeous 1909 Dutch 2-mast schooner that everyone fell madly in love with. There were 25 of us onboard: 5 ship’s crew and the rest were CF scientists and artists. (See the artwork, science and education that came out of that trip).

This 2008 trip is on the mighty Grigory Mikheev, a Russian ice-breaker. It boasts a huge crew-list of 40-plus musicians, artists and scientists and then the 20 or so Russian crew. I imagine, a very different voyage. So let’s see. Snoods on, sketch-book and hip-flask packed, expectations set to the sun. We’ll leave the stars to the navigator.
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