August 20, 2006
Speaking of bears, while we were stopped last evening we were visited by our first polar bear of the cruise (not counting one bear that was spotted far away early on). Animal researcher Joe Illasiak estimates that the bear was rather small, only about 400 lb. The bear circled around the ship at a distance of about a hundred yards or so, swimming occasionally between icefloes, and quietly departed. It's always fun to see the animals in their native habitats, and most of the scientists suddenly became tourists, running out to the railing to snap pictures of the curious creature. The next day, Joe and Ian Green also reported seeing seals in the area.
But down time does not necessarily imply dawdling. Borden Chapman (NRCan), Ryan Pike (NRCan), and Joe Manning (DFO/Maritime) see this as an excellent opportunity to tune the ship's depth sounder, with assistance from Electronics Technician Heather Kinrade. Chief Scientist Sarah Zimmermann continues to acquire seawater profile data with a smaller self contained CTD and wire bottle sampling for chemistry (harkening back to earlier days in the history of oceanography). And of course, the watch schedule remains unchanged for the ship's officers and crew. Furthermore, the annual Cribbage tournament has begun, and cards are flying!