Edge of the Arctic Shelf
Daily Update
Images and Maps
 August 2002
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 July 2002
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Daily Update

Dispatch 01 - July 15, 2002
Heading North
Greetings from the cold gray waters of the Bering Sea! We are now steaming north on the world’s most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker. In a few short days, we will begin our science mission in the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait. More

Dispatch 02 - July 16, 2002
Where’s my Room Again?
Our first night was a whirlwind. It still seems unreal to me that we are actually at sea on a 400 foot-long icebreaker steaming toward the Arctic Ocean. It certainly helps that the seas are calm, so the ship hardly seems like it’s moving. More

Dispatch 03 - July 17, 2002
Testing the Waters
While our mooring crew were breaking open more crates and testing their instruments, the CTD crew decided to test the operation of the ship’s CTD. More

Dispatch 04 - July 18, 2002
Beyond the Circle
We have now officially entered the Arctic, and our hopes are buoyed by success in fixing the CTD. More

Dispatch 05 - July 19, 2002
Over the Side
Both the first mooring and some Coast Guard divers went over the side today. More

Dispatch 06 - July 20, 2002
A Sea of White
The ice is all around us. With creaks, groans, and squeaks the Polar Star grinds forward through the ice, cracking the giant floes and thrusting them to the side. We have entered another world - a sea of white. More

Dispatch 07 - July 21, 2002
Getting the Hang of It
Science operations are becoming more routine on the Polar Star. Today we put in two more moorings in a fraction of the time it took to put in the first. CTD operations are also progressing smoothly as we steam north on another transect. More

Dispatch 08 - July 22, 2002
The Polar Star batters against the pack ice in a race to Barrow Canyon where we will deploy a fourth mooring. More

Dispatch 09 - July 23, 2002
Odobenus rosmarus
We saw hundreds of walruses hauled out on the ice today in our transit through the marginal ice zone. More

Dispatch 10 - July 24, 2002
The Ice Wins
Upon arriving at the Barrow Canyon mooring site, we encountered a sea of broken ice where only weeks before had been open water. Despite the valiant attempts of the crew, there wasn’t enough ice-free water to safely deploy the mooring. More

Dispatch 11 - July 25, 2002
On the Edge
Gusty winds sent flurries of snow swirling around the ship today as we steamed north through the ice to the edge of the Beaufort shelf. More

Dispatch 12 - July 26, 2002
Plan B
Our careful depth survey revealed a much steeper slope than we anticipated. Bob Pickart was forced to make a tough decision - we will put in the moorings along a shallower section to the west. More

Dispatch 13 - July 27, 2002
Back to Business
Bob Pickart’s decision to move the WHOI mooring line to the west paid off in two ways - the bottom slope is more gentle and there is much more open water. It’s back to business for the CTD and mooring crews. More

Dispatch 14 - July 28, 2002
Ups and Downs
It was a day of mixed blessings for the science team, starting with a crash of the XCTD system but ending with a successful mooring deployment. More

Dispatch 15 - July 29, 2002
Bird’s Eye View
After another successful mooring deployment, I rode along on one of the ship’s Dolphin helicopters to pick up some scientific supplies from the icebreaker Healy, working in the ice just to the north. More

Dispatch 16 - July 30, 2002
Around the Clock
We may have left our “open lake” behind, but it’s full speed ahead for the science party - moorings by day and CTDs by night. More

Dispatch 17 - July 31, 2002
Necessary Evils
Despite the “necessary evils” of getting to our mooring locations, mapping the bottom and determining our set and drift, we still had plenty of time to deploy two more WHOI moorings today, leaving only two left for tomorrow. More

Dispatch 18 - August 1, 2002
Hole in One
We celebrated a great success today in completing the deployment of the difficult WHOI mooring array. The placement of the final, and most challenging, mooring was so accurate it could be described as an oceanographic “hole in one!”

Dispatch 19 - August 2, 2002
Fata Morgana
Double suns, fogbows, and the Fata Morgana - the Arctic continued to mystify as we steamed west to Barrow Canyon. More

Dispatch 20 - August 3, 2002
This morning a group of bluenose land-lubbers and pollywogs (including most of the science party) were formally inducted into the society of Polar Bears during the Arctic Circle crossing ceremony. More

Dispatch 21 - August 4, 2002
Unsung Heroes
While most of the ship savored the restful weekend routine, the science party and the Marine Science Division worked hard through the night sampling with the CTD. More

Dispatch 22 - August 5, 2002
Snow Day
A wet snowfall and subfreezing temperatures didn’t stop the CTD crew from pushing ahead today and finishing another section across the shelfbreak. More

Dispatch 23 - August 6, 2002
Icing on the Icing
Having finished sections across the head of Barrow Canyon and to the west, we have now turned east to explore the waters at the mouth of the canyon. More

Dispatch 24 - August 7, 2002
The Last Cast
Today marked the completion of our data collection, but now we have some big jobs ahead: packing up for the potentially rough weather in the Bering Sea and processing our new data. More

Dispatch 25 - August 8, 2002
Ice Free
We have finally left the ice behind today; open waters lie ahead to the south. More

Dispatch 26 - August 9, 2002
Ten Miles From Russia
We passed within ten miles of the Diomede Islands today on our transit south. The westernmost island is part of Russia, the easternmost, the United States. More

Dispatch 27 - August 10, 2002
Fun and Games
Pizza and live entertainment made this Saturday night a fun one on the Polar Star. More

Dispatch 28 - August 11, 2002
The Sunday Routine
Starting with brunch and ending with a steak dinner, the Sunday routine is a welcome break for the hardworking science party and crew of the Polar Star. More

Dispatch 29 - August 12, 2002
Back to Dutch
The last of the science gear is packed, and so are our duffel bags. Tomorrow the science party disembarks in Dutch Harbor and flies back home. More