Tags: Emily Venables

New songs and shifting practice

David Buckland and KT Tunstall discuss personal responses to the voyage, being in an Arctic environment, new songs, shifting practice and engaging with climate change as an artist.

Every time I sit down to write, something unmissable happens

First of all I’m sorry, yet again, for taking so long to write. Time is running away and I’ve been busy taking everything in! Every time I sit down to write, something unmissable happens! Now the Argo is launched and we’re heading south I have a little time so I’ll start where I left off last time. Little did I know back then that later in the evening Carol and I would be on stage with Kate, Luke, and the Disko Bay Blues Band! We pulled up to Ilulissat in the dark, having watched David’s projections onto icebergs. Karen led us to Murphy’s bar, which she’d had opened especially for us and organized a local band to play. Jarvis kicked off his Disko Bay disco with some classic vinyl before the blues band played. Later they were joined by Robyn and his harmonica, Kate and her icebergs (us- Art/Science interaction at its best!) and many fantastic acts that followed.
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Expedition route

KT Tunstall and Emily Venables follow our route on the map
KT Tunstall and Emily Venables follow our route on the map as we return South towards Kangerlussuaq.

Disko-very Bob the ARGO float

Simon Boxall and Emily Venables launch the ARGO float

BBC's Quentin Cooper at the launch the ARGO float

“Disko-very Bob” has made it into the West Greenland Current with everything running smoothly – at last! The water column sampling didn’t start well last week (hence lack of my blog) with the failure of the CTD, designed to measure profiles of temperature and salinity to 200m. However what we did see in a test run was that the waters in this part of the ocean show strong inputs of fresh water from the melting glaciers that border the coast.
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Introducing Disko-very Bob

Emily Venables introduces Disko-very Bob, launched this morning from the boat and now the UK’s most northerly ARGO float. Over the next few years this remote unit will measure ocean temperature and salinity as it follows the West Greenland current, beaming back information every 5 days by satellite.

Launching the ARGO float

Launching the ARGO float
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Emily Venables mid-snowfight at the Uummannaq Children's Home
Emily Venables mid-snowfight at the Uummannaq Children’s Home.

Navigating icebergs

Travelling past an iceberg that is melting from rising sea temperatures
Arriving in Uummannaq early in the morning, navigating icebergs in a zodiac covered in snow.

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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The Disko Bay Blues Band (with special guests)

The Icebergs, Carol Cotterill and Emily Venabless backing KT Tunstall at Murphy's Bar, Ilulissat
KT Tunstall backed by ‘The Icebergs’ (scientists Carol Cotterill and Emily Venables) and local band The Disko Bay Blues at Murphy’s Bar, Ilulissat. Photo: Nathan Gallagher

Excuse the spelleng mistakes, the grammatical errors and the mistaken cultural references, but this blog comes after only 6 hours sleep total in two nights (holding a satellite phone outside, pointing at the sky in the snowing Arctic is certainly a new experience for 3am internet roaming). This alongside the introduction to the most dramatic landscape on earth can only lead to a brain that somewhat resembles the broken ice floating through the sea.

David Noble and 'Murphy' locals.
David Noble and ‘Murphy’ locals. Photo: Nathan Gallagher
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Looking Up!

Good news this morning – A new software CD is on its way to us with the latecomers of the group! Once the artists had ventured ashore, we had a couple of hours of ship time to go and test out some solutions for the seafloor sampling. The fantastic news is that it worked! I’m sure you’ll hear all about it from Carol and Dave soon enough. Aside from the science bit, we’re on the edge of a massive iceberg field. These things are huge, I’ve never seen anything like it, and they’re pouring out of the fastest retreating glacier in Greenland at a rate of knots. The scenery is breathtaking and I’m off out to see some more of it before we start another survey line. Hope all’s well back home! :o)
Read more about the previous days…

Technical Hitches

For the science team, Sunday was a day that we’d rather forget, so I’ll keep it quick. Whilst the rest of the group went ashore to visit a Greenlandic settlement and even see an iceberg tip over, we were sat in a container full of dysfunctional kit! The geophysics side managed to get all theirs working, only to find that the ship was too noisy to hear the sea bed returns and the Oceanography side failed to get the software to read the data from the CTD. It wasn’t all that bad though, plenty of hope, and a Marcus who can always be relied upon to cheer us up! Have a look at the previous days…