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26 May, 2000

And weíre off!

Today was departure day for the Healy, and everyone was busy preparing to leave. Before the ship departs, it is important that they have all the food, supplies, fuel, and equipment that they may need while at sea. Great care goes into planning so that once the ship is at sea, it will be able to run smoothly and safely. Giant cranes helped to load the many, many boxes of food, supplies, and equipment.

The ship takes a full day to refuel as it has four 12-cylinder diesel engines and can hold 1,200,000 gallons of fuel! My little Honda Accord holds about 20 gallons. If I filled my gas tank once a week, how many weeks do you think it would take for me to use as much fuel as the Healy holds? Of course, I wonít be breaking through any ice floes!

About 11:00 a.m. we raised the gangplank, unfastened the mooring lines, and set sail from St. Johnís. You can see the men on the bow in the picture below putting the mooring rope down through deck hatch to a hold below this deck.

When leaving the dock, a local pilot must escort large ships like the Healy out of the harbor. A pilot is a person who is very familiar with this parcticular harbor and able to assist in being sure that the ship safely leaves through these shallow waters. Once the Healy was out about a mile or so and the pilot felt that the waters were safe, the pilotís boat drove up along side the Healy. The pilot turned the control of the ship back to Captain Garrett and climbed down a rope ladder from the Healy onto his own boat to return to home.

As we left the shores of St. Johnís, we saw beautiful sites with rocky hills, homes and a lighthouse. We watched as the land faded from view and ocean was all that we could see.

At dinner that night I spoke with a man named Bob who had been on the bridge of the ship for the first few hours we were out to sea. Bob was lucky enough to see a humpback whale swimming along side the ship. What a treat! Maybe if I keep my eyes to the sea, Iíll spot something tomorrow, but today we mostly saw fog!

When dressing for a day in the Arctic we will be wearing loose boots, socks, and clothing to make it easy for our blood to circulate and therefore keep us warmer. Dressing in layers of clothing also keeps you warmer, and makes it easy to remove a layer if you get too warm. If you needed to be rescued, youíd be more easily spotted in brightly colored clothes! (adapted from the book POLAR REGIONS by Lorraine Hopping Egan)

To learn more about preparations for being safe in the Arctic, read Janiceís page:

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You can also find the answer to the question: Which direction have we traveled since yesterday?

DAILY DATA LOG (5/26/00):

air temperature: 3 degrees C / 37 degrees F

latitude 48N

longitude 48W

sunrise 4:15 a.m.

sunset 7:56 p.m.


This is a picture of the huge crane that helps to load supplies and equipment onto the Healy.


The pilot has returned to his boat and is heading back to St. John's. Thanks for the help! We're off to sea now.


This lighthouse is called Fort Amherst. We passed by it on our way out of St. John's. Isn't it a beautiful spot?


This is the bow of the ship. Can you see where they are feeding the mooring line into the hatch on the deck. It will be stored and dry below the deck.


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