Cruise Journal

Final Stop: Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

The Healy arrived at Dutch Harbor, Alaska early morning of September 28, 2011.  The USGS Arctic Ocean Acidification Team disembarked there for the flight home. Water samples taken on the cruise will remain on the Healy for a couple of months until she arrives back in port at Seattle, Washington.

In Seattle, landside members of the team will unload the samples from the Healy, load them onto a refrigerated truck, and drive them back to St. Petersburg, Florida, for analyses.

Thank you for following us on our journey to the Arctic Ocean.  Please stay tuned for more updates and highlights from the cruise!


Arriving in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Arriving in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The rising sun is being reflected on the mountains.

Sky at sunset over Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Eastern sky at sunrise as Healy is approaching Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

OA Team at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Ocean Acidification Team members Jonathan Wynn, Paul Knorr, and Lisa Robbins, beside the Healy at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Garbage is off loaded from the Healy.

Garbage from the 44 day trip is taken off the Healy at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

The Healy from the plane.

The Healy taken by Lisa Robbins as her airplane left Dutch Harbor en route to Anchorage, Alaska.

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Ophiuroid ossicles on the Healy

Here are some pictures of the Ophiuroid ossicles on the Healy.  The ossicles are contained in porous sample bags similar to”tea bags” within a Nalgene bottle. The seawater flows though the top and out the bottom of the bottle.  After the cruise, the ossicles will be analyzed by Molly Miller at Vanderbilt University to look for evidence of ocean acidification.

Ophioroid ossicle containment device.

Ophioroid ossicle containment device.

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Passing the Magnetic North

The Healy passed the magnetic north a few days back.    According to one of the captains aboard, the magnetic north pole is at 82°18 N Longitude and 113° 24 W Latitude. A gyroscope is used on the Healy to determine direction instead of a magnetic compass so there are no navigation issues with passing the magnetic north.  However, it could be a problem for sailors and boaters in smaller vessels using magnetic compasses.   The movement of the magnetic north pole is a natural process.

Magnetic North plot.

Observed north dip poles during 1831 – 2007. Image credit Arnaud Chulliat (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris).

Gyroscope on the Healy.

Gyroscope on the Healy.

Gyroscope reading showing latitude and longitude.

Gyroscope reading showing latitude and longitude.

Navigating at the helm of the Healy.

ENS Erin Sheridan navigates at the helm of the Healy.LED gyroscope reading at the helm of the Healy.

To find out more on the magnetic north try this link:

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/GeomagneticPoles.shtml

 

 

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Ice Liberty

There was time for a short break for ice liberty on the Healy.  Initially, a small Coast Guard team did recon of an area on the ice floe that was chosen because of ice thickness.  The specially trained team went out and made sure that it was safe for the rest of us.  Also, two buoys were deployed on the ice to relay information back to land on temperature and movement of the ice.  After the Coast Guard deemed the ice was safe for the group, everyone was allowed off the ship to enjoy a bit of Arctic fun!  As is protocol, the Coast Guard personnel keep watch for Polar bears.

The Coast Guard ice recon group gets ready.

The Coast Guard ice recon group gets ready to survey the thickness of the ice.

Team members on the steep plank.

Team members going down the steep plank from the Healy to the ice.

Bottom of the steep gang plank.

Science team members at the bottom of the steep gang plank.

Ocean Acidification team on ice.

Ocean acidification team on the ice (Jonathan Wynn, Lisa Robbins, Brian Buczkowski, Paul Knorr).

Coast Guard watching for polar bears.

Coast Guard watching for polar bears.

Pablo and Steve with buoys.

Pablo Clemente-Colon and Steve Liligreen with the buoys. They placed the buoys on the ice to gather data about temperature and location of the ice floe.

Science team member Dan-Dan waves on the ice

Science team member Dan-Dan waves on the ice. Dan-Dan is UNH student from China.

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Ophiuroid Ossicles: An Indicator for Ocean Acidification?

Molly Miller is part of the scientific research team for the USGS Arctic Cruise 2011. Ophiuroids,  or brittlestars,  have “hard parts” that are are part of an ocean acidification study on the Healy. Here is some information from her on ophiuroid research.

Ophionotus victoriae, brittlestar, lives on the sea floor all around Antarctica, from water just a few feet deep to over 3,000 feet deep.  Its mouth is on the bottom of the central disc.  It’s skeleton is internal and made of ossicles that are linked by cartilage and muscles.  Each ossicle is made of the mineral calcite, a mineral that dissolves in acid.  One of the effects of ocean acidification might be that ossicles of ophiuroids dissolve after the animal dies and the ossicles are scattered; the same might happen to ossicles of starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars and sea cucumbers, all of which are in the same group as ophiuroids – the Phylum Echinodermata. Another effect might be that it is more difficult for the brittlestar to secrete the ossicles, consuming more of their overall energy.  This potentially could be difficult for Ophionotus victoriae because in some places where it lives there is very little food available and the brittlestar does not have extra energy to dedicate to secreting ossicles.

Brittlestar.

Opiuriod or brittlestar on the seafloor off the coast of Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Shawn Harper.

The brittlestar above was living on the seafloor at a depth of about 75 feet just off the coast of Antarctica at 77 degrees south when diver Shawn Harper took its picture.  Notice all the marks on the sand that the arms have made as the brittlestar moved across the sediment, probably searching for food.  It eats almost anything: sediment, algae, one-celled organisms, krill, dead animals, other ophiuroids, and even seal poop.

Each arm of the brittlestar is composed of a long stack of ossicles that, surrounded by thin tissue and some other smaller ossicles.  The ossicles are held together by muscles and connective tissue. The next picture shows a close up of one the ossicles in the center of the arm of the brittle star.  Each arm has ~400 of these ossicles.

SEM of Ossicle.

A close up view of one of the ossicles taken by a scanning electron microscope (SEM) at Vanderbilt University. The white line is approximately 1 millimeter.

 

Vanderbilt geoscientist Molly Miller asked the question:  Do ophiuroid ossicles dissolve on the seafloor?  She wondered if, even before Antarctic ocean water became much more acidic, the calcite in the ossicles would begin to dissolve very soon after the brittlestar died and its muscle and other soft tissue decayed.  She and M.S. student Bev Walker thought this might be happening because skeletal pieces like this are rare in the recent fossil record of Antarctica retrieved from cores drilled on the Antarctic continental shelf.

To answer the questions Miller and Walker did two experiments: 1) they put the ossicles on the seafloor in Explorers Cove for 2 years and then evaluated how much they have dissolved (if at all) during the two years; and 2) they carefully weighed ossicles, put them in porous bags, and suspended them just above the ocean floor in Explorers Cove for one month.

Results:  the ossicles left for two years in the ocean dissolved significantly.  The ossicles left in seawater for only one month lost a measurable and significant amount of weight – ~0.06% of their initial weight.

Will the ophiuroids dissolve as much in the Arctic Ocean water in the Healy’s aquaria than they did in Antarctic Ocean water?  More? To answer this, Vanderbilt senior Zach Wright has prepared ossicles that will be submerged in Arctic Ocean water in aquaria on the Healy for the duration of the cruise.

No information about the ocean chemistry was recovered while the ossicles were submerged in Explorers Cove in Antarctica.  It will be exciting to see how the ossicles respond during the cruise to the Arctic Ocean water whose chemistry will be monitored so carefully onboard the Healy.

 

 

 

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Weather Balloons: Launching Daily

Our shipmate, Aerographer’s Mate Second Class (AW), Bill Dearing of the U.S. Navy, launches a weather balloon everyday.  The balloons gather data about the upper level winds, temperatures, relative humidity, and air pressure over the Arctic Ocean.  Amazingly, the Arctic is one of the most “data-sparse” regions of the earth in terms of weather information.  The data gathered by the radiosonde attached to the balloon are sent back to super computers at Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Monterey, CA, where scientists and modelers use the data to improve weather prediction numerical models.

Getting ready to inflate the balloon.

Bill Dearing and Liz, Marine Science Technician, help prepare the weather balloon for inflation.

Inflating balloon.

Inflating the balloon with the helium tank.

Balloon is inflated.

Bill Dearing holding the inflated weather balloon.

Ballon on helicopter pad.

Liz opens up the door while Bill takes the balloon out to the helicopter deck.

Ready to launch balloon.

Bill is ready to launch the weather balloon.

launch.

Launch!

Balloon leaves the Healy

The weather balloon leaves the Healy.

The Balloon will float anywhere up to 65,000 to 80,000 feet where it will eventually burst due to the expanding helium inside the balloon stretching it to over full capacity.

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Air Dropping Supplies to the Healy

Today there was an air drop for the Healy! The Coast Guard from Kodiak Alaska flew a C-130 plane over the Healy to drop parts to repair broken equipment on board, including a pipe and flange for cooling water for one of the engines, and an antennae coupler associated with helicopter communications.  These parts were critical for the Coast Guard to carry on the Healy’s mission.  As the C-130 plane circled the ship, it dropped/parachuted the packages onto the ice. Unfortunately, one of the parachutes didn’t open and the can holding the supplies was damaged.  Luckily, nothing inside was damaged. Three Coast Guard personnel from the Healy, who are trained in ice deployment, then were lowered down onto the ice via crane using a “Man Basket” and they carefully went to retrieve the packages.

Coast Guard C-130 flying near the Healy.

Coast Guard C-130 flying near the Healy.

C-130 dropping package.

C-130 dropping package onto the ice.

Man lowered onto ice in basket.

Healy crew member being lowered onto the ice to retrieve the air drop packages in the "man basket."

Crew members are lowered onto the ice.

Crew members are lowered onto the ice.

The air drop package are transported on a sled back to the Healy.

The air drop package is transported on a sled back to the Healy.

Healy crew members preparing to place the air drop packages in the "man basket" to be lifted onto the Healy.

Healy crew members preparing to place the air drop packages in the "man basket" to be lifted onto the Healy.

Healy crew members with damaged air drop capsule.

Healy crew members with damaged air drop capsule.

 

 

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A Trip into the Hold

Here is a series of photos of Lisa Robbins going down a hatch on the Healy to get
some equipment out of the hold below.   You have got to be fit and limber on
this boat!

Lisa Robbins opening hatch

Lisa Robbins opening the hatch.

Lisa Robbins goes down the hatch.

Lisa Robbins goes down the hatch.

Lisa Robbins peeking out of the hatch.

Lisa Robbins peeking out of the hatch.

Open hatch.

The hatch is open while Lisa Robbins is down in the hold.

 

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How “small” is the Arctic Ocean?

The Arctic Ocean is the smallest of the Earth’s five oceans at approximately 14,056,000 km2

Map of Arctic Ocean

Map of Arctic Ocean. Courtesy of IBCAO (International Bathymetric Map of the Arctic Ocean)

Sea Ice in the Arctic Ocean averages about 3 meters thick.  The USCGC Healy can go steadily through Sea Ice up to 4 meters thick.

Healy in Sea Ice

USCGC Healy cutting through sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Courtesy of NOAA.

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Arctic Night: Sunlight 24/7

Now that the Healy is near the North pole, the days are longer with 24 hours of sunlight. Paul Knorr took some photos around 2:30 AM and, as you can see, the sun is low on the horizon but does not set.

Arctic sky with the St. Laurent in the distance.

Arctic ice and sky with the St. Laurent in the distance.

More Arctic Ice and Sky

More Arctic ice and sky.

Shadow of the Healy on ice.

Shadow of the Healy on the Arctic Ice.

The sun on the Arctic horizon.

The sun low on the Arctic horizon.

Arctic sun with the St. Laurent in the distance.

Arctic sun with the St. Laurent in the distance.

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Vertical Profile Data: Fresh for the Ocean

There are three water masses in the Arctic Ocean. The surface waters range from 0-200 meters (m) depth, the intermediate waters from 200 m to 900 m, and the bottom waters from 900-bottom (Millero, 2006).  In comparing Stations 3 and 4, Station 3 was at latitude 72° 14.1N and longitude 148° 06.0W with a bottom depth of 3537 m.  Station 4 was at latitude 85° 55.85N and longitude 169° 36.27W and a depth of 3393 m. So, we are getting pretty far north for the 4th cast (station).  Station 3 had a surface temperature of 6.554C and salinity of 22.798 (pretty fresh for the ocean!) and Station 4 had a surface temperature of -1.6 C and salinity of 30.95. At both stations, the upper 500 m or so shows all the “action” in terms of changes in temperature, salinity and oxygen.

This photo shows the water profile for Station 4. You can see there is a steep thermocline between 100-200 m with the “warmest” temperatures at about 300 m (about 1 C!).  The Arctic Bottom water show temperatures of about -0.3 C and salinities of 34.95.

Station 4 profile data.

Station 4 vertical water profile data.

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What is a Lead?

Leads are large cracks or lanes that are formed by movement of the Arctic sea ice by currents.  They can open suddenly at any time.  They are a great way for the Healy to easily move through the ice.  

From the bow of the Healy, the Aloftcon shows the leads in the ice.

Healy traveling through Leads.

Photo from the Bow of the Healy taken from the Aloftcon dated Tuesday, August 30, 2011. This photo shows the Healy traveling through leads in the ice.

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Views from the RAVEN: A Remotely Operated Plane

Shipmate Capt. Steve Wackowski is testing a small-unmanned aerial system (SUAS) to use for science in the Arctic and elsewhere. He has outfitted a similar one that has been used by the USGS and FWS out in the western states.  This remotely operated plane (RAVEN) has a video feed on it and has been used by the military in combat zones but Capt. Wackowski is now testing it to see if it can be used for more scientific missions such as ice reconnaissance and marine mammal scouting. Right now he is flying it off of the Louis St. Laurent-  its launched on the deck of the bow and recovered on their helicopter pad. Video from the RAVEN was viewed on the bridges of both the Healy and Louis St. Laurent.

Images from the RAVEN:

The Healy from the RAVEN.

The Healy from the RAVEN.

Raven landing on the Louis St. Laurent

The RAVEN landing on the helicopter pad of the Louis St. Laurent.

Images from the helicopter:

Arial photograph of the Healy

Ariel photograph of the Healy from the helicopter.

The Healy and. St. Laurent

The Healy and St. Laurent from the helicopter.

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Ringed Seals Spotted from the Healy

This is from the FWS biologist Sophie Webb who is onboard the Healy:
Ringed seals are the smallest of the ice seals averaging about 4 feet (1.2meters) in length weighing approximately 120 lbs. They maintain  breathing holes in the ice with the long claws on their front flippers. They are shy so are usually found in the middle of an ice floe with their head towards their hole (an escape route). They have a year round association with the ice. Adults breed on the land attached ice while non-breeders live far out in the pack ice (as we have seen them on this trip). They eat small crustaceans (shrimp), zooplankton and schooling fish such as arctic cod.  Bearded seals are much larger seals reaching 7.5 feet (2.3meters) in length and weighing approximately 500 lbs! They are very solitary except for during brief mating periods and when females are with their pups. They live entirely on moving ice, and don’t even like large unbroken pieces of drifting ice. They are benthic feeders, eating small animals that live on the sea floor, and they are able to dive to great depths. Their long bushy whiskers help them locate their food which includes marine invertebrates (snails, crabs, shrimp and clams) that live  in the sediment of  the sea floor. They will also eat small schooling fish such as arctic cod.
Sophie took these seal photos from the
 Healy:
Front view of a ringed seal.

Front view of a ringed seal from the Healy. Photo courtesy of Sophie Webb.

 

Ringed seal.

Ringed Seal. Photo courtesy of Sophie Webb.

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Everyone’s Job is Important on the Healy

Coast guard MK2 Christopher Schumacher (Machinery technician) gave a talk to the scientists on board the Healy about “What Blue can do for you.” Shu has a wonderful southern accent and the ability to be entertaining- from the standpoint of a scientist.  This talk was very informative, describing the duties of the different “Coasties” aboard and how they work as a team to accomplish their mission.  In order for the scientists to be able to do all this science aboard, it takes a whole team of ‘non’ scientists to help us.

 

Coast Guard giving informational talk.

Coast Guard MK2 Christopher Schumacher giving a talk about how the crew helps the scientists on their seven week journey.

 

Shu is from Florida and has a stuffed animal named “Frogfrog” that travels the world with him.

Coast guard and stuffed frog

"Shu" with his stuffed Frogfrog.

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Home for Seven Weeks

Life on board the Healy is very busy. Most of the time is spent in the lab, sampling or analyzing data on the computers.
Here are some pictures of the stateroom and shower of Lisa Robbins. Most of the scientists share a room with one or two other people. The room is has a bunk bed and a couch that is also a bed.  Lisa’s roomate has the lower bunk bed with the curtains drawn. The curtains allow people to sleep while others are up working. There is a little sink in the room. Four lockers and assorted drawers throughout the room and below the beds are storage space for clothes, etc. There is no need for “ship showers” on board the Healy. During this trip, they make their own water.

 

Lisa Robbins Cabin

Lisa Robbins' cabin on the Healy. She sleeps on the quilted bed in the foreground and her roommate sleeps on the bunk bed.

Desk and storage in cabin

Desk and storage in the cabin of Lisa Robbins.

Small sink and cabin storage lockers.

Small sink and storage lockers in the cabin.

Shower in Healy cabin.

Shower in the cabin.

 

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Rendezvous with the St-Laurent

The Louis St. Laurent is an ice breaker vessel from the Canadian Coast Guard. The St. Laurent is working in collaboration with the USCG Ice Breaker Healy. The two vessels met and are now tied up together so scientists aboard each vessel can exchange scientific information.


As the Healy approached the St. Laurent, the scientists from the Healy were serenaded by Santa playing the bag pipes on the deck of the St. Laurent.  Well, they are near the North Pole!

 

Santa playing bagpipes on the deck of the Louis St. Laurent

Santa playing bagpipes on the deck of the Louis St. Laurent.

 

The Healy and St. Laurent

The Healy and Louis St. Laurent are tied to each other for the purpose of scientific exchange.

To learn more about the primary missions of the ships, you can go to: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/08/geologists-ship-out-hoping-to.html

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Polar Bear Tracks

The scientists did not see them, but the mom and cub are nearby!

polar bear tracks

Polar bear tracks on top of the ice.

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Is Ice Just Ice?

Pablo Clemente-Colon (Chief Scientist of the National Ice Center) gave us a science talk the other night and told us some interesting facts about ice. You may think that “ice is just ice”- but actually there are specific designations for the ice depending on its age. First year ice, as its name implies, is ice that is less than one year old. If you melt it and taste it, it is salty. “Old” ice is second year and multiyear ice and tends to be thicker and less salty than the first year ice.  In fact, if you melt 4 year old ice, it is so fresh you could drink it!  In the Arctic Ocean, where we are right now, more than 5 years ago multiyear ice would have dominated the ice pack.  Now there are vast areas of open water with first year ice and multiyear icefloes that are melting.  In terms of the study of ocean acidification, as the ice melts, more ocean is exposed to the atmosphere and in turn, allows more uptake of carbon dioxide.

Dirty Ice

First year ice in the fore ground and multiyear ice behind. Algae can grow under, through, and on top of sea ice floes making the ice look "dirty."

 

Ice team on the deck of the Healy.

Pablo Clemente-Colon and Steve Lilgreen (National Ice Center Analyst) stand on deck with first year ice and multiyear ice behind them.

Scientists on deck with ice in the background.

Pablo Clemente-Colon and Steve Lilgreen on the deck of the Healy.

 

 

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First Water Sampling Station – What is a Rosette?

The Healy arrived at the first water sampling station in the Arctic Ocean. The scientific team used a device at the first station called a rosette that can take multiple water samples and measurements at once. The rosette sampler is a set of 24 sampling bottles called Niskin bottles. These bottles are connected to a frame that is lowered to the seafloor from the ship by a cable. The bottles remain open at the top and the bottom while being lowered to the desired depth beneath the sea surface. Each bottle can be automatically triggered to close and capture a water sample at the desired water depth. Typically, one bottle is closed near the bottom, then the remaining bottles are closed one at a time on the way back up to the surface to create a vertical profile of water samples from the seafloor to the surface of the water. Once the rosette returns to the surface, it is placed on the ship so the scientists can collect the water from the bottles and preserve it for chemical analyses. The pictures below show a rosette of 24 Niskin bottles after it has returned to the surface after collecting vertical profile samples.

The rosette is lifted from the water:

Rosette is lifted from the water.

The rosette is lifted from the water.

 

Data from the water sampling is seen on a computer.

The computer shows the depth progress of the rosette and ctd.

 

 

 

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What is a Mustang Suit?

The Arctic Ocean is a very harsh environment. Survival in the water is only minutes without proper protection. The mustang suit is a thermal survival suit for just this type of place. On the Healy, team members are required to have them on when they are sampling on deck or out on the ice.

Here is a photo of Jonathan Wynn, Paul Knorr, and Lisa Robbins with mustang suits on for first day briefings.

Lisa, Paul, and Jonathan in mustang suits

Lisa, Paul and Jonathan in mustang suits.

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Icebergs!

First the first time on the cruise, the Healy is moving through a patch of icebergs in the Arctic Ocean.  Here are a few photos from the Healy:

 

Iceberg

Iceberg near the Healy.

Iceberg close up

Close up of an iceberg.

Lisa Robbins with icebergs in background

Lisa Robbins with icebergs in the background.

more icebergs

More icebergs

Jonathan Wynn and Paul Knorr

Jonathan Wynn and Paul Knorr with icebergs in the background.

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Measuring CO2 in the Air – From the Bow of the Healy

Jonathan Wynn and Lisa Robbins install a sampling tube to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) using a CO2 analyzer on the bow of the ship.  Data from the CO2 analyzer is sent to a computer on board the vessel for later analysis.


It took three marine technicians to help Lisa Robbins and Jonathan Wynn put the sampling tube up on the bow.  Installing equipment on a moving ship is not as easy as it looks.  One technician had to climb up a ladder to get the tube as high as possible to help prevent uptake of CO2 from people on the deck of the ship.

Putting up the tube for CO2

Jonathan Wynn and Lisa Robbins place a sampling tube on the bow to measure CO2 in the air.

Placing the tube on the bow.

A technician places the tube high on the bow to prevent uptake of CO2 generated by people working on deck.

Lisa Robbins explains how it works.

Lisa Robbins explains how CO2 measurements are taken.

Securing CO2 tube

Securing CO2 tube.

Brian Buckholtz on the bow.

Paul Knorr on the bow of the Healy to help with the CO2 tube installation.

 


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Lab Set Up and Ready to Start Working

The scientific team are making themselves at home on board the Healy. They have unpacked the lab and are busy trying to set up water sampling. They have been briefed on safety procedures and have tried on mustang suits (post coming soon with photos).

Here are some more photos from the first few days:

Unpacking Lab equipment for set up

Unpacking Lab equipment for set up.

Jonathan Wynn setting up lab

Jonathan Wynn setting up lab.

Paul Knorr in Lab

Paul Knorr checking the computer in the lab.

 

 

 

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Traveling Via Helicopter

Traveling by helicopter to the Healy was quite an experience. Here are some photos of the scientific team as they made their way to the ship via helicopter transport.

Luggage and extra equipment

Luggage and extra equipment waiting in the hanger in Barrow, Alaska

Boarding the Helicopter:

Boarding the helicopter

Boarding the helipcopter

Boarding the Helicopter

Opening the door of the helicopter.


Flying to the USCGC Healy:

Jonathan Wynn in Helicopter

Jonathan Wynn inside the helicopter.

Barrow, Alaska coast from helicopter

Coast of Barrow, Alaska from the helicopter.


View of Healy from Helicopter

View of Healy from Helicopter

 

Finally, on Board:

Helicopter pad on the Healy

Helicopter pad on the Healy

 

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Arctic Cruise: Day 1 – On Board, Unpacking, and Lab Set Up

The USGS ocean acidification team is on board the USCGC Healy! Unpacking and laboratory set-up are the first order of business. Setting up is an exhausting process but the sooner the lab is set up, the sooner the team can begin taking and processing water samples.

Healy main Lab

Healy Main Lab. Courtesy of NASA.

 

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It’s Official – The Arctic Research Cruise is Underway

Today is the official first day of the ocean acidification Arctic research cruise. The scientific team has been transported to the USCGC Healy via helicopter today to begin their seven week journey. Stay tuned for more information!

Helicopter Landing on the Healy

Helicopter landing on the Healy from a past cruise. Courtesy of NOAA-RGBrady.

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Waiting for the Healy

The team arrived in Barrow, Alaska late in the day on August 13th. The sky was overcast, the weather cool, and there were only dirt roads. They spent the day of August 14th exploring the area while waiting for the USCGC Healy to make it’s way north through the Bering Strait for boarding on August 15th.

View of Chukchi Sea

View of the Chukchi Sea from Barrow, Alaska

As the team anticipated, sleep can be a problem in the Arctic during the summer in that there is not much of a night.  The sun came up at 4:55 AM and did not set until 12:00AM. That is exactly 4 hours and 55 minutes of night and 19 hours and 5 minutes of daylight!

Street in Barrow

Street in Barrow

 

 

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Where is Barrow, Alaska?

Barrow, Alaska has the distinction of being the farthest North of all North American cities. It is also the port from which the scientists will board the USCSC Healy.

Map of Barrow, Alaska.

Map of Barrow, Alaska from the Fairbanks, Alaska website.

It is approximately 725 miles from Anchorage, Alaska to Barrow, Alaska. There is no train, bus or car route to Barrow – it is only accessible by air or boat. Yesterday, the scientific team flew into Anchorage and boarded another plane to fly into Barrow.

Paul Knorr at Anchorage AirportPaul Knorr at the Anchorage Airport on August 13, 2011.
Glacial view from plane

View of a glacier from the plane between Anchorage and Barrow.

 

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2,524 Miles to Seattle, Washington

The 13 pallets left St. Petersburg, Florida on May 3rd and arrived about a week later for loading on May 11th. Technician Chris DuFore flew out to ensure the safe loading and proper storage of the equipment and supplies aboard the Healy.

loadin pallets onto the Healy

Only three pallets to go!

Finally, the last pallet is loaded via crane three months before the cruise.  The ship will travel to Barrow, Alaska and pick up the scientific team on August 15th, 2011.

Last pallet is loaded onto the Healy.

Last pallet is loaded onto the Healy.

 


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Packed and Ready to Go!

To get ready for the Arctic cruise preparation began many months in advance. We had to have all of our equipment and personal items packed ready by May 3rd! They had to be shipped across country to Seattle, Washington for loading onto the Healy on May 11th. That is three months before the cruise.

Chris DuFore

Chris DuFore packing the spectrophormetric gear.

Paul Knorr

Paul Knorr spent some time making sure all of the equipment fit.

Lisa Robbins

Lisa Robbins packing for the trip.

pallets of equipment

Thirteen pallets of equipment were packed and wrapped in plastic for shipping across country.

Kim Yates, Lisa Robbins, Robert Creel, and Chris DuFore pose by the loaded truck ready to leave for Seattle, Washington from St. Petersburg, Florida on May 3rd, 2011.

Kim Yates, Lisa Robbins, Robert Creel, and Chris DuFore

 

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