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19 March, 2001

Tidbit of History

St. Lawrence Island is 95 miles long, 25 miles wide and is located 130 miles SW of Nome. The principal villages are Gambell on the west end, and Savoonga on near mid-island. Captain James Cook, Royal Navy, passed east of the island in 1778, and west of it in 1779. He named the eastern end "Anderson Island" for the surgeon aboard the HMS Discovery, believing it to be a separate island. He later found it to be part of St. Lawrence Island, but Cook died before making corrections.

I am planning to travel by helicopter to the island with an opportunity to visit Gambell and Savoonga communities. I will be traveling with Dr. Lee Cooper and Gay Sheffield, biologist with Alaska Fish and Games.

Science Observations

Yesterday's journal shared information regarding Dr. Jim Lovvorn's research. He is a professor at the University of Wyoming. One of his goals today was to find the spectacled eider ducks. The ducks are thought to be found about 30 miles away from our current location. After several hours of helicopter flight time, Dr.Lovvorn was able to collect his data in order to study the health, breeding success, and life expectancy of the spectacled eider ducks.

Tonight the Northern Lights should be visible due to the clear sky. Mark Geesey, Research Associate from the University of Charleston, SC provided me with a nice description of this event. The sun produces parcticles which are ejected toward the earth. The earth is surrounded by the atmospheric layer. The earth's magnetic fields are outside the atmospheric layer and naturally move in the direction of the north and south poles. The magnetic fields attract the parcticles from the sun, much in the same way as metal is attracted to a magnet. As these high energy parcticles hit the upper atmosphere, the phenomenon known as the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis occurs. When the parcticles hit the lower atmosphere the phenomenon is known as the Southern Lights or Aurora Australis.

Daily Update

It is very cold out today but with our warm clothes, most of us aren't having a problem with the cold temperatures. The air temperature is 7 and wind-chill is -18. There are no problems with visibility today. It is sunny, clear, and beautiful outside. There are numerous pressure ridges along the icy landscape. Two of the decks have been closed temporarily due to ice on the metal and slippery conditions. The ship became stuck in the ice for about an hour this morning. The ice isn't very thick but there is quite a bit of snow on top of the ice. This results in difficulty with friction between the ship and the ice. As the ship moved through the ice slush formed. This slush got into the intake interfering with the natural flow of cooling water. Consequently, this caused overheating in the diesel engine. This resulted in about an hour of down time to resolve the problem.

The ice is a couple of feet deep at this point. It is packed in due to southerly winds. We are making good speed through the ice right now. We have experienced a problem with current resulting in drifting along the International Date Line. Flexibility is definitely the name of the game.

The emails in and out are about to be resolved. We will have all the access that we need tomorrow. Please send any emails to kstevens@pacd13cutters.uscg.mil. Please don't hit reply if you send a response back to me. The address needs to be typed into each message.

This has been a very unusual day in the sense that we were not able to do any stations on our 12-hour watch. We thought several times that we were going to work our station and we got dressed and prepared to be outside. This was a major undertaking in itself. Getting dressed involves mustang suit, mukluks, neck gaiter, balaclava, hat, hard hat, gloves, gloves, and more gloves! One time the CTD was launched but it got too cold and needed to be returned to the ship to thaw out. The problem involves moving the apparatus from the enclosed garage to the outside deck sitting there too long before entering the water resulting in freezing metal.

Changes in the ice today. <>

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