NOAA Teacher at Sea: Caroline Singler
Ship: USCGC Healy
Mission: Extended Continental Shelf Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Arctic Ocean
Date of Post: 2 September 2010
Ice, Ice, Baby!
I’ve had that song in my head since we left Dutch Harbor – well actually that’s the only line I know, and we encountered our first sea ice early this morning, Friday 6 August 2010.
We knew it was coming eventually, and a look at a satellite overlay on the ship tracker during last night’s watch revealed that we were getting close to the ice. The white areas to the south of the ship are clouds, but you can see broken white patches north of the ship’s track that are sea ice.
My watch ended at midnight, and we estimated that we’d be in the ice around 4:00 a.m., so I set my alarm for that time. At first I forgot why my alarm was going off, but then I heard a new sound, something I had been told to expect, and I realized it must be the sound of the ship’s hull scraping against the ice. I looked out the porthole to see patches of ice passing by, so I put on some warmer clothes and headed out on deck and then up to the bridge for my first look at sea ice. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk more about ice and the work of an ice breaker over the next couple of weeks, but for now, I want to share with you what I saw. I think you’ll understand why I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be here.
The bridge provides some of the best views in the house. The fact that the sun chose to make an appearance through the clouds and early morning mist only added to the beauty.