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Journals 2009/2010

Jonathan Pazol
West Leyden High School, Northlake, IL

"Law of the Sea: Mapping of the Chukchi Sea"
August 5 - September 17, 2009
Journal Index:
August 5/6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14
           15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22
           23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30
September 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
                 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16/17

September 6, 2009

What a difference a day and some ice can make! The title of today's entry refers to the classic David Bowie song, as well as to the sound my teeth are making when I'm outside (or I could have titled this "Rock the Boat" - bad 70s tune, or "Blowin' in the Wind"). It doesn't matter. Things are very different today than yesterday.

First off, we are almost totally out of the ice. Because of the ship track, we went from an ice cover of 8-9 (80-90%) to an ice cover of less than 1 (10%). Our next "way point" - the map coordinates we are navigating toward, is northwest of where we've been, and we plan on dredging to see the geology there.

Criss-crossing ship tracks in the ice left by the Healy and Louis during yesterday's rafting. (Source: P. Kelley)
Today's ice cover - or lack of it

With less ice, there is more movement of the ship. We have had 10-12 foot ocean swells, as well as wind-driven waves of varying sizes. The winds were strong enough (40+ knots) that the crew secured the focsle (forecastle - front and bow) of the ship. Consequently, we have been pitching (moving forward and backward), rolling (moving side to side), and sometimes both since early this morning. It's a very strange sensation because for so long it's been fairly-motion free, except when we were in heavy ice. No seasickness yet (knock on wood), but I brought some medicine and patches just in case.

Computers on desks, trays in the mess, desk drawers, books on shelves, etc. have to be secured so they don't go flying around. Also, the movement seems to have caused a lot of strange noises, such as water flowing back and forth through pipes, loose equipment in lockers rattling around, and people bumping into metal walls. All of these things make for interesting sleeping - or lack of it (I am now on a very random sleep schedule where I sleep for 3 1/2 hours at a time in both the morning and after dinner - getting back into a school schedule 3 days after returning is going to be a very interesting experience).

Another big change is darkness. Last week, we saw the sun dip below the horizon, but it never really got dark. Today, not only did the sun go down, but it's dark enough that the ship has turned on its spotlight at the bow. I also had to turn on the lights in my stateroom before going on watch, and for the first time since August 5th, I saw the moon.

Darkness and little ice - note the wave action as well
The moon rising over the stern of the Healy

Tomorrow we should be at our dredging site, so I'll have more science to write about. But before finishing today's entry, I wanted to include a few more pictures from yesterday's rafting with the Louis.

The Healy and the Louis prepare for rafting together. (Source: P. Kelley)
A snowman for Labor Day, built on the landing pad. (Source: P. Kelley)