Surprise wedding – a new concept by Per Frejvall

Everyone has heard of surprise birthday parties – annoying to some, a dream to others. I decided to push it a little…

In January I made the decision that if Cecilia and I are stable enough to live together, we should be stable enough to be married. Yes, I have said “never again” about marriage, but I am also rational enough to admit that I was wrong. Anyway, one of my friends at home is the priest in our church, so I approached him with the crazy idea of arranging a surprise wedding for Cecilia. He agreed to it so we started the planning. Right before my trip to Antarctica I booked a meeting with her father to “discuss a few items”.

I arrived at Cecilia’s parents’ apartment and had a little discussion. They had been trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to discuss, and one of the possible things in their mind was that I would ask for Cecilia’s hand in marriage. I did, and they approved. I also swore them to silence.

A few select people, like mothers, fathers and sons, were invited to a supposed talk about my expedition to Antarctica. All agreed and I promised something to eat and a little champagne. The church was reserved and music arranged. It felt like a daring adventure subject to risk assessment, and I had no plan B what so ever.

Friday. We got ready to go to the talk. I chose to wear a jacket but not a suit. Cecilia got into a nice outfit that matched mine in color. Good. No questions. Off we go. Earlier that day I had received the catered food, picked up the ring and carried the box of champagne from the cellar to the church. All set. Off to Lasses house right next to the church.

Cecilia was pleasantly surprised at seeing her parents there. And her brother. And her other son. I opened a magnum of Wilmart and gave everyone a glass. We mingled. Cecilia was confused as to the composition of the crowd, but very pleased.

So, I called everyone’s attention and told them that I had been on a wonderful trip, full of animals and pretty scenery, and that I would love to tell them about it – but not tonight. I told them that I have another chain of events planned for the evening. Confused looks…

That is when I did it: I went down on my knees and proposed to Cecilia. Baffled? Oh yes! But she did say yes, so I continued and said that it is all arranged – let’s go out there and do it.

We did do it. A wonderful small ceremony with piano music and singing by Annika. Afterwards, we sabred a Jero of Gardet on the balcony and the feast commenced.


Expedition over

2010-03-28 16:26 UTC (18:26 local)

So, I have been home for two weeks digesting a massive experience on the southern half of the globe.

Flight home went fine, even i Santiago. I was, however, completely pooped when I got home.

Life is back to normal, and I’ll post a batch of pictures from the last part of the voyage soon.



2010-03-10 11:32 UTC (08:32 local)

52° 35.10’S

069° 43.35’W

Winds W-SW at 14 m/s


We are approaching Punta Arenas and are working on getting ourselves ready to disembark. Reports to be written, deciding what to bring and what can be left onboard and picked up in port at home, checking that airlines are operating, re-confirming tickets etc. Last minute fixes of systems are also on the program along with a few social activities.

I have experienced the southern skies! Having had a thing for astronomy my entire life, the southern skies have always been on the “things to see” list. So, the other night I armed myself with a pair of binoculars – Swedish Navy issue, no less – and got up on the bridge roof-top. A steady wind, not cold, and clear skies. The Milky way is truly fantastic down here. It is so much brighter and more distinguished than our version of it. More individual bright stars sprinkle it, and I do believe the stories that you can actually drive a car without headlights at night under the starry Pampas sky. The Large Magellanic Cloud and its smaller cousin are large fuzzy blobs clearly and immediately visible. Orion hangs on the horizon – upside down! This is something to experience, let me tell you!



2010-03-08 15:31 UTC (12:31 local)

54° 46.20’S

064° 57.76’W

Winds NW at 17 m/s


We have passed the Cape and are now blessed with a magnificent view of Argentina on the port side of the ship. Nothing much to report, except that the ”rundpingis” yesterday indeed was fun and lasted for several hours.

Position and weather below.


Steaming towards Cape Horn

2010-03-07 15.07 UTC (12.07 local)

57° 44.37’S

071° 45.72’W

Winds from N-NW at 13 m/s


The oceans are endless. You look at the map, you see our ship symbol, the waypoints and the distances are small. Yesterday we had some 9 cm left on our trip to Cape Horn. We are not yet there. The swell has subsided a bit, but the wind is picking up as the low is hunting us down. It moves at about 20 knots, so it will catch up eventually. It looks good, though.

Since we now have the big satellite system in range we have access to the internet. In Stockholm, people are screaming about how the h**l our government can rent our best ice breaker to NSF when it is so badly needed at home. Well, the same people have been yelling about the fact that we normally have four regular, pretty big, ice breakers in the Baltic year around and that it is costing too much. They took the Oden out of official ice breaker duties several years ago and she is now almost exclusively a research vessel – and a good one at that. The revenues she makes are good, and that benefits the state. The fact that 20 ships normally has to line up in the Gulf of Botnia to wait for ice breaker assistance hasn’t raised an eye-brow, but now, with a couple of party happy cruisers to and from Finland stuck – near the Capital – everybody starts wondering what’s going on. Where are the ice breakers? This is unacceptable! 24 extra hours on a cruise ship with free food and a well stocked bar? Give me a break! It’s winter!

Anyway, not much is happening here right now. The ice bergs are gone. The sunsets with them in the foreground are memories caught on film. The scientists are already writing papers for submission to international publications of high standing. Already. That is how good the science has been on this cruise. Fantastic! And I love to have been part of the whole operation.

Now, let’s see if Chile is open enough to get us home to Sweden.

Last sunset caught on “film”:


Position Update

Friday 2010-03-05 13.13 UTC (10.13 local)

62° 43.67’S

087° 02.42’W

Winds SSW at 13 m/s


Steaming along at a little over 11 knots. We have still not run into any real bad weather – in fact it is ridiculously calm. That will, however, change over next few days as we pass up between two low pressure systems.

Yesterday was table tennis day with tournament matches and round robin table tennis (rundpingis). Lots of fun on a rolling ship…

I have finished cleaning the data from the expedition and it has been delivered to the scientists onboard.

We have 1185 nm left to Punta Arenas. You can see the planed route in the enclosed screen dump from the ship’s nav system. We will arrive in Punta on the 12th as planned – most likely.

Oden is the black round symbol in the lower left of the screen.


Satellite image

Extra note. We have a Dartcom HRPT/CHRPT receiver onboard. It’s a nifty little thing with a 1.3m dish inside a plastic dome. The satellites we get data from are NOAA’s and the Chinese Fengyun ones. Both have more or less polar orbits and have a ”camera” that has a number of channels for different wavelengths. The camera is one pixel high and a number of pixels wide, and the satellite’s own movement makes the height of the picture. Data streams continuously, so all you have to do is track the satellite as it passes over you and download the data stream. Powerful processing software then transforms it into a visual image. One cool thing is that you usually assign an infrared channel to the blue of the resulting image, making temperature measurements directly in the image possible. You can see water temperature at the Falklands, top of the cloud temperature and land temperature where the skies are clear. Knowing the temperature of the cloud cover lets you calculate the altitude, and from that you can deduce a lot about the weather.

So, here is one spectacular one from an over-pass at 19.01 UTC, which is a little over an hour ago. You see the low pressure area, and from forecasts we know that there is another one right behind it. In the gap between the two we shall make our crossing of the Drake Passage, and then continue eastward around the tip – steaming at full speed to outrun the next one. It looks like a good plan.

Oden’s position is marked with a red ”X” to the left.