27 June, 2000
27 June 2000
Going Out With A Bang!
No, don’t worry. Nothing blew up, or burst. We just had a fantastic day yesterday to help wind down the end of the science-testing phase. Rather than sailing AROUND the tip of Greenland with the potential for stormy seas and little to see but open water and patches of ice, USCGC Healy sailed THROUGH the tip of Greenland. A series of fjords connects from the western coast of Greenland to Prins Christian Sund on the eastern coast of Greenland and allows passage from one side to the other. This time of year, only an icebreaker like the HEALY could manage the voyage because much of the way is clogged with ice. The all-day sail was nothing less than mystical. Every turn through the channels brought some new view that elicited oohs and ahhs and “Here take my picture in front of this”s. Landscapes carved by the power of glaciers left scientists and crew awed by the dazzling array of patterns left behind. Glaciers in the mountains left streaming tails of waterfalls, and glaciers that reached sea level generated icebergs that crossed our paths like icy ships on their own journey. The mountainsides were streaked with multihued layers of rocks, and spires and towers of ice-clad peaks rose above our heads. I could go on for pages, but words, and even pictures could never fully express the experience. The day was treated almost like a holiday for a cast and crew that had done all that was asked and more during this atypical cruise. The bridge and decks were crowded for hours on end as each of us took in our own perspective of this very special place.
We left the majesty of Prins Christian Sund and headed into the fog bound coastal waters of the North Atlantic on our way to Iceland. I’ll be heading home from there and the crew will get some well deserved down time before they continue on their journey.
My journals would not be complete without some recognition of this outstanding crew. You have met the MST’s and the Engineers of USCGC Healy in previous journals, and now I would like to introduce you to the other crewmembers of this cutting-edge icebreaker. You will meet the captain, Captain Jeffrey Garrett, in tomorrow’s journal. The executive officer (XO) is CDR David Oliver and he has answered many of my questions about the ship, the Coast Guard, and icebreaking in general. LCDR David Vaughn (Ops) is in command of the Marine Science detail, the deck crew, and communication. CWO2 Smith (“suppo”) is in command of supply and food service. The EO, LCDR Meister, you met in the journal on USCGC Healy’s power plant. CDR Schoen, who was introduced in one of Sandra Kolb’s journals, heads the ship’s medical staff.
Each department is an integral part of the ship’s operation. LTJG Balmaceda and his “Commo” group are responsible for ship communications. CWO2 Malcom and his deck crew take care of line handling, anchoring, small boat operations, crane and winch operations, survival gear, and general cleaning and painting. FSCS Sylvester and food service personnel keep a very hungry group of over 100 people very well fed. Supply keeps everyone supplied with whatever they need, and CWO2 Schuler and his navigation group keep us on course to our designated destination. The aviation detachment, headed by LCDR Cubanski, use their helicopters to aid with science and navigation and they are available for search and rescue operations.
All of the officers and crew on this vessel have interesting stories, and it would be wonderful to have the time to tell them all. However, my time on the ship is running out, so their pictures will have to do. Thank you all for making me feel welcome on this ship and good luck with all your future journeys.
Last Journal Tomorrow - The Captain’s Closing Comments
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