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12 September, 2001

Dark News From Home

The news of the attack of our country arrived to us on the Healy several hours after it occurred. All members on board were called to a meeting where the captain announced the grim news. There was little information at the time, but as the evening wore on more became available. We learned that 4 airplanes were hijacked-two hit the World Trade Center buildings, one hit the Pentagon, and one plane crashed near Pittsburgh. Few details were available and all of the questions we had were unanswerable. Most of us were unable to comprehend what we were hearing.

As I write this, it has been exactly 24 hours since the act of terrorism occurred. Through a special phone, we were able to receive several newspaper arcticles and a radio report from the BBC. People sat around silently staring into space as they listened to the radio report as it was transmitted throughout the ship. We have had no access to the Internet or e-mails, so we have not seen even 1 image yet. I am undecided as to whether this fact is a blessing or not. With no pictures of the destruction, one's imagination takes over.

The mood of our expedition has certainly changed along with the news, and it has been intensified with poor conditions here for science. We have gone 24 hrs with terrible, heavy ice coverage, no successful dredge operations, and foul weather. The Healy is covered with ice and crewmembers can be heard scraping the decks to clear them. Today also marked our first moments of darkness in our 44 days at sea. With the sun finally dipping below the horizon for several minutes, the seasons seemed to change overnight. As the days proceed, the amount of darkness will increase. We hope that this is not a sign of things to come.

To be in the Arctic and removed from the situation at home is very frustrating to most of us here. It is my sincere hope that as you read this journal, you are safe with your loved ones and that you know that we are thinking of our country, communities, and families as we somberly continue our journey.

<> A dreary, gloomy day to match the news from home.

<> Coast Guard crewmember Eddie Foster clears ice with a stick from a deck on the Healy. Other items used to clear ice include mallets, shovels, baseball bats and of course salt.

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