In the dream, I receive an e-mail from one of the research groups I have previously gone diving with notifying me that they had a space open and needed an additional assistant for a research trip to the arctic circle to study seal and whale populations, and look at how their behaviors have changed in response to shifting and melting ice-caps. All travel and work related expenses would be covered, it would be a month to two month commitment and I was eager to join in on the project. I gathered my stuff and was flying to meet them in Quebec the following day with my dog (not sure why or how he ended up coming, but he did and the group was very happy to have him and two others brought their dogs). We had a quick briefing and I was partnered with one of the senior researchers who I had never met before, but she seemed nice. The following day we traveled to a big cabin farther north in the arctic circle that we would be staying at. The interior of the cabin has slightly different each dream, but every time there is a single little penguin that is always hanging out in and around the cabin and sometimes it would follow people out on the boat and hang out their while research was being done. Thinking about it now it seems strange because there are no penguins in the arctic circle...oh well, the penguin's there each dream.
I already knew some of the members of the group I was placed with such as the boat's captain and his wife, as well as our EMT, but I didn't know the senior researcher that I would be diving with or our tech person. The following day we geared up and headed out for a test run. We used a new kind of wetsuit still in its testing phases. I was expecting to have to be gearing up in a dry suit, but the suit was similar to a regular warm water wetsuit. It was made of a super durable and stretchy material and had a gel like filling that was supposed to almost mimic blubber. The suit had to be put on in a warm climate, a room with the heat on or warm water (like the shower or hot tub) the gel would sort of relax and become more pliable with the heat so it was easy to slip on and as it cooled it would compress to fit the body like a glove. It was the most comfortable wetsuit I have ever worn, and hardly restricted range of motion. Somehow the gel would respond to your body temperature to either hold in more heat and stay tightly fit letting in little to no water, and or it would loosen ever so slightly to allow the body to cool. Essentially it was the perfect all purpose wetsuit. The wetsuit really stood out in the dream - I was fascinated by it and spent a lot of time testing it in different conditions and trying to better understand it. Now to get back to the action...
Our specific project was to look at these little coves or ice caves many seals were gathering in and to try and better understand what was drawing them to these coves, and how they were using the space. The first one we checked out seemed like nothing more than a spot the seals could get air and they seemed a bit more sheltered from whales or polar bears. The next one we went to though we found an elaborate system of tunnels through the ice that the seals somehow created branching out from the coves. It was always nice once we got to the little coves because we could often relax and breathe freely without our regulator since it was essentially a large air pocket in the ice. When we encountered the seals in the coves they were often very playful and not really on guard, whereas if we encountered a group of the same seals in open water they were defensive. We were able to put a few tracking devices on some of the seals and began to track their movement from our computers at the cabin. Some clear patterns began to emerge as there almost seemed to be a few 'seal highways.' There were certain paths that at some point or other all of the seals had taken. And it wasn't just a similar path, it was the exact same path from point A to B, or B to C, etc. We began to map out the locations of the caves that we could find and transposed them onto the map we were tracking the seals on and realized that the caves were the points (A, B, etc.), and the 'seal highways' were the tunnels the seals created. We had always assumed that the tunnels served as almost a slide from the cave back into the water somewhere close by. While they did this sometimes, they tended to stretch for fairly long distances and served as a route to get from one cave to another through the ice instead of the water.
The dream was so elaborate and went into great detail about how the seals would create the tunnels, map them out and use them. But all of this meant very little to me as a whole. The first time I had the dream all I remembered was having a really pretty dream somewhere that it was cold out, but I was never actually cold, and there was scuba diving and seals and a penguin, and I was on a fancy boat. A few days later I had the dream again and remembered a bit more of it. After that references to it appeared in my dreams randomly, such as telling someone about the experience, or looking back through photos from the trip. A month or so after the last actual dream and as it seemed to be fading away, I had it again and remembered what seems like every little detail of the dream. Since then references to the dream keep popping up in my other dreams even if only for a moment...it's a missed call from someone in my group, or looking back through my journals, or responding to an email from one of the other researchers, or even while playing never have I ever with friends. This morning (about 2 weeks after the last focused dream), one of my little dream vignettes consisted of me going out to check my mailbox like any other day, only to find a large envelope with the study I helped with published in a magazine. The only other thing in the envelope was a post-it note saying: 'Thanks again. Planning our next project now and can't wait to see you soon!' attached to a photo of our group on the boat sitting around the table with our map and the penguin just hanging out with us. How vivid and realistic of a memory it is has been bothering me all day so I figured it was time to post it so I could reference back to it.