Nares Strait 2012: From Thule towards Smith Sound

The CCGS Henry Larsen lifted anchor about 6 hours ago sailing north towards Nares Strait and Petermann Glacier. Air temperatures in port were a balmy 10.5 C this morning, but now have dropped to 6.3 C this evening at sea. We are steaming at almost 9 kts with clear skies overhead most of the day. We hit a fog bank or two and I mistook the blowing fog horn for a fire alarm.

The day was largely spent with setting up gear, re-arranging lab spaces indoors and deck spaces outdoors. The usual drills and introductions to emergency procedures (fire, abandon ship, helicopter) to a few hours, too. Access to the internet is severly limited: it takes about 1 second to send and receive 64 bytes from the ship to either Delaware, England, or California. About 20-40 of these “pings” fail, meaning that actual data transmission and receive rates are even slower.

There are faster connections aboard, but those are limited to the ice observer who receives severely downgraded RadarSat imagery for ice navigation that will guide ship and helicopter for visual observations on where to go and what ice to avoid. Petermann Ice Island apparently moved another 4 km and has its tip now sticking almost into Nares Strait perhaps touching coast near Offley Island at the north-eastern side of Petermann Fjord. That image is 24 hours old, we may receive a new one over night.

Local time (same as Montreal or New York) in 9pm and the sun is still about 30 degrees above the horizon, no darkness all night. Greenland and its ice cap are visible in the distance, about 30 miles to my right. A few icebergs are scattered loosely here and there. We are 48 people aboard … more laters.

2 responses to “Nares Strait 2012: From Thule towards Smith Sound

  1. Good time to turn around – your data can be retrieved next year – the storm is a monster.


  2. Postponing data recovery — while sometimes inevitable due to local weather (and ice!) conditions — is never easy. It is not clear whether there will be another ship going that way next year, e.g., and by then the instruments’ batteries may have died, so that we wouldn’t be able to get them to surface for us.

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