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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

Click here for latest position/track  Click  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.

Build up of ice Ice building up on the window wipers.  Notice that the sea is still rough as we have not yet reached the ice edge. Photo M.Gloistein

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 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.

Ship's passing in the day!! The Svalbard Patrol Vessel Nordsyssel passing ahead of the JCR.  Photo Paul Provost.

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!

Dipping in!! A view from the Bridge as we headed north. Photo Mark Shields.

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!

Anyone for cricket?? SAMS cricket match on the Aft Deck.  I have no idea how many balls they used......  Photo Katie Doig

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!!