27 April, 2000

Bytes 'n Pieces


April 27, 2000

Daily Data (21:30):

Lat. 67 deg 45.957 N

Long. 058 deg 31.694 W

Heading 335.1 deg

Temp. -10.61 C 12.88 F

True Wind Direction 325.4

True Wind Speed 17.8 Kn.

Dear Everyone,

Watching the data screen in the Healy's bridge and looking out to sea as we officially entered the Arctic was an unforgettable first for me. A cheer and a photo of the infinity of water will remind me of the poignant feelings of the moment, this first Arctic encounter. The USCGC Healy officially crossed the threshold of 66-33.0 North today at 09:15.

Later in the day as I peered out to sea, a scientist casually commented to me that there was an ice floe ahead. "How do you know?" I asked, viewing nothing but water. "The clouds. Look at the clouds." he replied. French Canadian Roger (say "rrrow-zshay") proceeded with the following explanation.

>Vocabulary of the day:

>From MANICE; Manual of standard Procedures for Observing and Reporting Ice Conditions, Canadian Ice Service, April 1994.

Water Sky: Dark streaks on the underside of low clouds, indicating the presence of water features in the vicinity of ice.

Ice Blink: A whitish glare on low clouds above an accumulation of distant ice.

Frost Smoke: Fog-like clouds formed by the contact of cold air with relatively warm water. These can appear over openings in the ice or leeward of the ice edge and may persist while ice is forming.

My excitement mounted as the ship approached ice. The stark and severe beauty reminds me of Antarctica, of course, only this time I'm on a ship plowing through instead of in a C130 gazing down. I glued myself to the bridge windows to be surrounded by this moment in time and returned late in the evening to quietly enjoy the sunset. The bridge was silent except for the crashing sounds and vibrations of the ship as it drove through the increasingly thicker ice.

What do Polar Bear tracks look like? Earlier in the afternoon, I saw my first bear tracks across the ice floe the ship was traversing. Stevie, our Inuit guide on board from Broughton Island, told me he was quite certain the tracks represented three bears. We will soon see them! Am I eager with anticipation? YES!

Time to pull out your maps again. We are on our way to Home Bay to run some ice tests. Locate Home Bay and find Broughton Island, Stevie's home.

About me. I'm taking meclizine and have not yet experienced seasickness. I do get seasick, so this is very good news! I'm finally over jet-lag and have slept well the past two nights in spite of the white noise usual of all vessels, the typical clanging of the metal ship-door across the hall from me, and the booming sounds and vibrations of the breaking of ice. I remind myself that I slept through the landings of the C130 Hercs next to my tent at the South Pole Station.

I'm on deck 02 (the zero in front of the two means that it is the second floor above the main deck) in room 206. My roommate is the Healy's doctor, CDR Barbara Schoen, and I have the top bunk.

Please limit your total email size to me including any attachments or photos to around 45 KBytes. Shipboard email space is extremely limited and if the size of your email to me exceeds this limit, then it will be returned to you unopened.

Best regards,


The Arctic Circle. photo by Sandra

Approaching ice floes. photo by Sandra

Polar Bear tracks on an ice floe. photo by Sandra

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