That’s what we’re having for dinner tonight. Technically, we’re having baked beans with brown bread and hot dogs with onion rings. These are four of my all time favourite foods, I’ll have you know. I can’t believe they’re happening together.

The bread is made here on the ship. I saw the dough rising this morning. I’m pathetically excited about this dinner, I can hardly tell you, even if I am eating it at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Life on the ship has started to establish a certain rhythm. I get up (overslept two days in a row, despite using two alarms). I eat breakfast. I get the daily media relations briefing. Today I napped instead of going to a science talk. I take photos. I eat lunch and discuss major policy issues of the day or inside government baseball. I take more pictures. Today I experimented (totally at the wrong time, sadly), with the video camera. I eat dinner. I have a nap or read or play cards. Then I go to the lounge for some socializing, and I go to bed around 10pm, only to repeat again the next day.

I’m very VERY relaxed. Like, pathetically relaxed. I could snuggle up on the sofa or in my bed all day and read. Even when the ship is going through thick ice (which it is right now, with the ice at least 3′ thick all the time), and is rocking and rolling and backing up and ramming the ice again, it’s still remarkably soothing. I’m so relaxed I swear if I didn’t have a mortgage I’d try to get a job on this ship. Sure, I’d need major retraining (and a new accent), but I already have the potty mouth and am a decent person to work with in close quarters. Yanno?

This afternoon I went up in the helicopter over the ice. When I said I experimented with the video camera at a bad time, I wasn’t kidding. I experimented while I was ON the helicopter. As a result, I messed up the video and didn’t get the money shot of the helo circling the ship in ice on a nice sunny day. I got it with the still camera, but I’m pretty sure my colleague who went up this morning got a much better shot, since she was brave enough to open the helo doors while in flight, and I wasn’t. I wish I’d done a better job with the video camera. I think I probably should have read the instructions before getting on teh flight, but it was a spontaneous thing, yanno? Still, it was an incredible experience. I just looked at the helo pics from my colleague who was on the ship last week, and he got the most amazing shots of a polar bear and her cub while he was in the air. Truly remarkable.

I just spent about an hour outside, getting some video of broken massive sheets of ice rushing along the side of the ship. If any of them turn out, we’ll put them on the internet so you can get the same feeling that we’re having here on the ship. I think the crew thinks I’m a bit on crack, but it’s also the first arctic voyage for a lot of them, so every time we see a polar bear or seals they make a general announcement over the PA and everyone scurries to the correct side of the ship to take photos. It’s really rather funny.

I will say, I was hanging over the side of the ship, trying to get a good shot when all of a sudden a pipe erupted onto my legs and shoes. It was doing what it’s sposed to do (I think it’s tossing ballast water so we can get over a chunk of ice), but holy CRAP was that a cold very wet and squishy surprise. Holy.

Tonight I’m going to try to write some blog posts about my experience so far. Kerry’s Excellent Arctic Adventure is really progressing well so far. Now that I’ve figured out how to use the camera, I’m going to start interviewing some of the science and policy experts we have on the ship. My colleague hit a lot of the crew, and he left me an assignment to try to get together a piece on how the ship functions as a floating city.

Kirsten asked me about the gloves that I’m using up here in the North. Good question, and you’re gonna hate this answer. It’s between -5 and 10C here. When it’s -5, I use cotton gloves if it isn’t windy, and down mittens if it is. Anything warmer than 0C and I don’t use gloves at all. It’s hard to focus the camera with gloves on, and you have a higher risk of it slipping. I am wearing a rocking good toque though, as I’ve always found that the head and chest are 3/4 of my sources of warmth.

Any other arctic Qs?