The Arctic Ocean: Searchin'

At Sea

MV Nordstjernen

August 9, 2015  



I first heard the word logodile on a motorboat trip on the New River in Belize.  Our destination was Lamanai, the archeological site of an ancient Mayan city deep in the jungle.  Along the jungle river route we encountered what you might expect at 17 degrees north latitude in Central America:  a thick green canopy of variegated flora and several species of birds. 

One bird in particular remains vividly in my memory:  a slight creature that gingerly scampers across the water atop the lily pads.  Who can remember the proper name of this species?  But the nickname is unforgettable: the Jesus Bird!

Plants and birds are fine, but somewhere out there lies an ancient, yet elusive reptile species.   We search and search and search.  Suddenly a passenger excitedly shouts, “I see one!  I see one just over there!”  The passengers scamper over to see.  The tour guide takes a look and calmly responds in his oft repeated nonplussed manner, “Sorry folks, it’s only a logodile.”  (A portmanteau word if there ever was one!)

There are no reptiles and nothing green here in the Arctic Ocean, at 78 degrees north latitude.  There’s plenty of black and white and blue - a very special beauty.   Plenty of sea birds too who make a living in the frigid north and surely some of the passengers aboard ship are counting and cataloging them. 

Binoculars, however, are mostly focused on the surface of the sea and on the distant shorelines.  We search and search and search.


What is that black blob I spy in the water?  A wave?  Or could it be one of those enormous ancient mammals who make a living on strained plankton or other small sea creatures? 

What is that beige blob I spy on the shore?  A huge glacial boulder?  Or could it be that most elusive of four-legged furry creatures who make a living on just about anything they can find and kill?

We are told that the crew on the bridge will announce any significant sightings.

In the meantime, we search and search and search and search.

And search.