By Carin Ashjian for The Arctic Winter Cruise 2011
Another day, another storm. The Bering Sea is relentless! We managed to sneak in three stations yesterday afternoon and early this morning but then the weather deteriorated and our sampling operations were shut down again. This time we were out in the open, far from the safe shelter of the sea ice or even an island. The pitching and rolling began while many of us were still sleeping, turning a normally comfortable sleep into a fight to remain in position on the bed. As the day dawned, conditions worsened. Healy is a wonderful ship in a storm, she rides well and moves with a ponderousness that I find comfortable. However, we had waves breaking on the bow and then, in the afternoon, waves washing onto the fantail. No small feat considering that the edge of the fantail is about 18’ above the water line! The afternoon was no picnic for the ship drivers and Captain, as waves crashed on board at both ends of the ship, spreading foamy seawater in swirls across the decks. We were safe on board but no one would venture out lightly!
We are running out of time here in the Bering Sea. We are due in Dutch Harbor on Saturday at 1400. The weather is not looking promising for doing more stations. After this storm passes by, we may have a lull during which time we will sample. But there is another, even more menacing storm building to the south that will no doubt shut us down again. Now we start to strategically plan our exit. We know that we won’t use the fluorometer again, so we can start to pack it up. We know that we won’t use the Multinet again, so it is packed. All part of a campaign to clean, list, and pack. The amount of stuff we have brought is monumental and now it must all go back into the packing crates again.
Yesterday morning the moon shone brightly over a calm expanse of frazzle ice (young ice in very small pieces) as we transited to the south to where we wanted to work. A stark contrast to the angry Bering Sea of today.
By Carin Ashjian for The Arctic Winter Cruise 2011, WHOIExpeditions http://arctic-winter-cruise.blogspot.com/2011/12/crashing-waves.html Wednesday December 14th, 2011