Say "Cheese" Paddy

When it comes to cooking or snacking there is nothing as versatile and satisfying as cheese - be it a with a cracker aboard in bad weather or in an omelette after an early morning shift. And what's an omelette without salt.

Can you imagine our horror when Tom Moran told us in Anadyr, that the $338 Canadian worth of Mild Cheddar Cheese and $22 worth of salt purchased in Prince Rupert could not be found aboard, We were assured a thorough search of the Boat had been carried out.

Did you ever try buying Cheddar Cheese or Salt in Siberia? However we were not to be defeated in our quest of the elusive North East Passage by the mere lack of Cheddar Cheese and Salt. Our spuds and veg were boiled in sea water. All of our wash up was, and is done in the same, giving us a good taste of the salt. As we braved our way North through the Bering Strait, on past Cape Dezhnava and into the NEP happily snacking on tinned sardines, tinned tuna, crackers and jam, etc. etc. The strain began to tell.

The Skipper ordered another even more thorough search for the missing essentials. Kevin searched his area, Paddy his, Colm his and so on, and all reported negative. We were to be resigned to the hardships of our expedition without these basic comforts but we would "sailor" on.

Life aboard has continued as normal. Our six crew operate 3 hour shifts around the clock. Cameraman Gary Finnegan and Ice Pilot Slava rotate freely.

This morning Paddy decided that he would carry out an inventory of all foods in his compartment for no apparent reason at all. Kevin and Rory and myself were bemused [and ready with cameras] when he sheepishly appeared at his door holding 3 fine blocks of Mild Cheddar Cheese and a Box of Salt. We are now happily troughing on omelettes with Cheese and salt as we sail West into a force six North Westerly . Heaven?

M Brogan.

Crewmember Rory Casey on night watch - taken by Jarlath Cunnane at 10 past midnight, local time on Monday 9th August 2004.