The boat is headed to Lapland's port, Trollesund. They are to contact the witches' consulate there for help.
Apparently the witches owe Fader Coram a big favor, since about 40 years ago he saved one of them from certain death. (We learn more about this witch and Fader Coram's relationship to her later.)
We also learn that witches have daemons just like humans, but their daemons can go really far away. This is disturbing to some of the humans.
Lyra loves life on a ship. She makes friends with Jerry, who teaches her how to do ship-like things.
Sometimes while sailing, Pan swims in the ocean with porpoises. This scares Lyra a bit because she doesn't like to be separated from him. What if he likes the sea and settles in that shape?
From a seaman we learn more about daemons and how when they settle – that is, pick a permanent shape – it's part of growing up and tells you something about who you are.
He tells a story of one seaman whose daemon settled as a dolphin. This was kind of a bummer because it meant that the seaman could never go to shore. He didn't feel at rest till he died and was buried at sea.
The ship docks and Fader Coram and Lyra go to the witches' consul. There they meet with Martin Lanselius.
Fader Coram asks to be put in touch with the witch he saved, Serafina Pekkala.
He also manages to get information from Dr. Lanselius about the Oblation Board. According to the consul, the Gobblers are now calling themselves the "Northern Progress Company" and have just left the town by sledge.
Lanselius is reluctant to give the information and does so in a "you didn't hear it from me" kind of way.
There's also talk about what's done to the kids – "intercision," or "the Maystadt process" – but we don't get much detail (10.57).
Dr. Lanselius also recommends that they hire the help of an armored bear. While the panserbjørne are usually in the service of the Oblation Board, there's one living in town who's not: Iorek Byrnison.
Attention then shifts to Lyra. Dr. Lanselius seems to know somehow that Lyra has an alethiometer. While Fader Coram acts like she can't read it, Lyra comes clean and says that she can.
The consul asks Lyra to demonstrate, and she does. He asks her to find out from the compass what the Tartars are going to do with a goldmine at Kamchatka (10.94).
Lyra reads the symbols and sees that they're going to pretend to be at war, though they aren't actually going to be. The consul is impressed (he knew the answer all along).
The consul wants one more demonstration of the compass's power and asks Lyra to go outside and pick from a pile the cloud-pine last ridden by Serafina Pekkala. She does so successfully.
While Lyra is outside, Dr. Lanselius asks Fader Coram if he knows who she is. Apparently Lyra is the child the witches have prophesized about for centuries.
She's got a big job to do, or "we shall all die" (10.111). Kind of intense, no?
Dr. Lanselius says he's glad he got to see Lyra before he died.
Lyra comes back in and Dr. Lanselius gives her a piece of Serafina's cloud-pine. Fader Coram touches it longingly (interesting).
Next Fader Coram takes Lyra to get outfitted for winter gear. She gets a sweet parka made out of reindeer pelts. Score.
We also learn from John Faa that they've been able to hire the help of an aeronaut with a hot air balloon who hails from the country of Texas. (Yep, it's a country in this book, just like it's always wanted to be.)
Later that night Fader Coram and Lyra go visit the bear named Iorek Byrnison. He's working at Einarsson's Bar fixing up machinery and iron, and drinking a lot of liquor.
Fader Coram offers the bear a job with the rescue party, but Iorek doesn't answer.
Fader Coram asks why Iorek stays here in this bar when he could be out ruling the wild.
Iorek says he knows about the child cutters and he'll join up if they can get back his armor from the people who stole it.
He has to work this way – and drinks so much – because of the loss of his armor.