We got our team assignments last night after I stopped writing in my journal and watched a bit of Eurovision until half of the results had been tabulated. Australia had built up quite the lead, but later Ukraine came back at the last minute to win. The Aussie song was great, but Ukraine’s song was apparently quite political and anti-Putin which many voters felt strongly about.

Regardless, this week we’re looking at:

Red: Kelsey, Lars, Lauren, Thomas, and Jeff

Blue: Johnny (Troll), Derrick, Richard, Joni, and Kate

I’m happy not to have Johnny on my team due to him having immunity this week. It raises my chances of staying from 87.5% to 90%. I know I shouldn’t think so much in numbers terms, but I’m a numbers guy and I can’t help it.

The day starts “early” with breakfast ending at 8:00 and an 8:30 departure. We don’t drive more than 5 minutes when we’re dropped off at a beautiful boat built in 1881 (or thereabouts). The Victoria, I believe it was called. Not much later we’re out on the Telemark waters, being followed by a huge drone! This thing was the real deal, getting amazing network quality aerial shots of us enjoying the sound.

After 45 minutes or so we see crew on land up ahead, and a woman in a beautiful bunad calling out some sort of siren song – with fingers crossed hoping we may have bunads awaiting us on shore, we’re encouraged to “ask the captain to turn around the ship and visit the siren. Sure enough he obliges (and we shoot the scene about 5 times.)

Kristopher, the producer braves the water in a dingy and rows us to land 4 at a time. We’re greeted by the beautiful Tone Juren (which sounds just like “tuna urine”) who calls us forward with her siren song again (which oddly seems to include “Lars” and “Joni” in it.) Fridtjof later asks if we heard any names – I say yes, and he informs us that Lars and Joni were cows that lived nearby, and for the first competition we’d be making our best rap and putting our classic cow calling to the test.

We’re only given 25 minutes to each come up with a verse, and 4 verses to be rapped as a group. Part of me wished we had a few hours to really put together some quality lines, I mean when Jay-Z played Key Arena he played to less than 20,000… and I’d be making my rap debut to about 450,000 – an audience 22.5 times larger Jay’s. (Consider these shots fired in a rap battle… I await your response Mr. Carter.)

Regardless, it was pretty easy to see the raps were for TV entertainment, while the remaining 14 minutes of cow calling is what would determine the winner of this first team competition. We drew straws and would again go second.

The rap went fine, but it didn’t take long to realize the cow calling wouldn’t be easy at all. They were real happy with the grass on their side of the rectangle, and would hardly even give us a glance, regardless of the calls, songs, high notes, or shenanigans we tried to pull. With 30 seconds left we tried charging at the cows to spook them into activity, but this (to no one’s surprise) sent them in the opposite direction – oh well, well worth the attempt.

The best we could hope for was a tie, but we knew we wouldn’t be taking home the W. Blue coerced one cow to their side, which was enough to give them the advantage in tomorrow’s competition.

Back to the vans we were driven back to the boat we started the day on – filming as if it were still morning. It was a very peaceful cruise, topped off by a VERY cool trip up the Vrangfoss locks – particularly cool for me because Ballard is home to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, which carries more boat traffic than any other locks in the USA!

The Vrangfoss Locks (or slus) moves boats up 25 meters over the series of 5 separate locks. It still uses technology from then it opened in 1891… 125 years ago! Truly a marvel of engineering. Water spills into each lock when a hand operated crank is pulled… unreal. I can’t wait to see the drone footage of us on our hour long 5 lock adventure. Once we reached the top, we got out of the boat and headed back to the vans.

After fish and chips for dinner, Ane took us all out for ice cream, before taking us back to our rooms. Guessing never works, but I’d guess bunads tomorrow, and then drive towards Oslo after our team competition… but my guesses have all been way off, so who knows. It was another great day as usual!

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