Sep 11 - Polar Bear Territory
Date: 11 Sep 2005
Observation Time: 12:00 Local
Latitude: 79° 19.6 N
Longitude: 001° 49.7 E
Bearing: 282 °T, 118. Nm from Ny- Alesund
Course Made Good: 291 °T
Total Distance Traveled: 2127.9 nm
Total Average Speed: 10.3 kts
Wind: Direction NW , Force 8/9, gusting 10
Sea State: Slight. in pack ice
Air Temp: -5.0 °C Sea Temp: -0.1 °C
Pressure: 993.2 Tendency: Falling
Remarks: Vessel in Pack Ice Proceeding to Position 79 27.9N 000 50.1E
for latest position/track
for latest webcam picture
With us having enjoyed some interesting wind this past week, with a Force 9 when I finished last Sunday, to a Force 8/9 today, I feel that it is worth including the following link to a page I wrote some years ago which describes the way in which we calculate wind speed and then using. The Beaufort Scale
This morning saw the ship reach the ice edge, which was a blessing as the ice keeps the sea down, so following a rather bumpy night with the ship pitching about and disturbing sleep, we are now in the position of still having strong winds but a relatively calm sea, not to mention lots of ice!
With the strong winds and spray from the sea, along with a drop in temperature, we are now starting to see a buildup of ice on various parts of the ship, one of the most noticeable being the window wipers.
Friday morning saw a short break from the science work,
with a visit to Hornsund
and the Polish Arctic Research Base located there.
Arriving at 0800 British Summer Time, 0700 Greenwich Mean
Time and 0900 Svalbard Local Time, the Polish team were
invited out to the ship for a late breakfast with the SAMS science
team, followed by a tour of the ship and then those onboard
who were able to go ashore were treated to a tour of the Polish
Base to see what work is being carried out there.
Heather Muir and huskie. The huskies are used as an early warning system for polar bears.
Whilst at Hornsund the Svalbard Patrol Vessle Nordsyssel arrived and carried out some boat and helicopter operations. One of their tasks was to look at a hut that had been ransacked recently by a polar bear. The Polish Base sees these lovely, although very dangerous, animals every few days during the summer months and special precautions are required when working outside of the buildings.
There is a small church on a point of land, which consists of a simple cross. When the base members go to church, they do so carrying a rifle!!!
On departure from Hornsund there was a flurry of activity as a number of CTD's were carried out in very close proximity to each other and so the scientists were very busy, with perhaps only ten minutes between each CTD station. The CTD's were all in shallow water, from 50 Metres to several hundred Metres.
Saturday saw a change in the weather and the wind starting to increase, to the point where it was not possible to carry out further CTD work. With the forecast showing that the blow was going to take a while to pass, the decision was taken to steam north and carry out the work that was planned for later in the cruise at the ice edge, and so an overnight steam has brought us to our current position, in amongst the pack. With winds of about 50 knots the ice had moved further to the south, and for those that have not worked in ice before it proved to be an attraction for them and the Bridge was overflowing with visitors. Lots of extra eyes to keep a lookout!
It has to be said that the SAMS scientists onboard are a keen bunch, having a band amongst them (I have yet to be invited to hear them play) and a bicycle for exercise, but it turns out that they also have a cricket team. If it were not for science I am sure that they would have been at the Oval this week!
The ship will not stay in the ice for too long and we will be heading back towards Svalbard/Spitsbergen within a day or two to carry on with the scientific sampling there.
Next weekend, due to essential maintenance at BAS Cambridge, we will (temporarily) lose our Internet and telephone link. For this reason Dave Peck, and all onboard, would like to take this opportunity to wish Ali a very Happy Birthday!!