Screeching in

13-16 August 2012

We are on our way back. The days are filled with servicing weather stations and recovering/replacing more tide gauge moorings, while at night we do more CTD sections. I feel sad realizing that I will have to leave this wonderful place shortly, but privileged at the same time to have seen and experienced it all. While steaming southwards we spot more wildlife. The polar bear in particular attracted much attention, and I must admit that this animal looks majestic in his natural habitat. We also saw walruses doing a group hug on an ice floe close to Alexandra Fjord, where we recovered and redeployed a tide gauge mooring. This fjord is also home to a small science camp for biologists, who had just run out of coffee and were therefore very happy with our surprise resupply.

A walrus in Alexandra Fjord in 2009

Before leaving the ship there is one more thing that has to be taken care of. As a non-Newfoundlander (the ship is based in Newfoundland) you are given the opportunity to become an honorable member of the Royal Order of Newfoundland Screechers, better known as “being screeched-in”. For this test you need to dress as a Newfoundlander, eat like a Newfoundlander, drink like a Newfoundlander, talk like a Newfoundlander, and kiss the cod (“you kiss what you catch”). All of this is done while you hold your foot in a bucket of water and ice. Without revealing too many details, I can report that five of us took the test and the jury found us all worthy. I am therefore now the proud owner of an official screeched-in certificate, which is valid all over the world…

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