Friday, October 19, 2012

The big orange thing returns

Another month, and another visit from the LMG, our pudgy orange link to the world.  This cruise brought in the first batch of scientists for the summer season, swelling our ranks temporarily to 35 people.  I set up my Go-Pro and took this time-lapse of it's arrival.

The arrival wasn't without incident; due to on-shore wind patterns and unseasonably cold temperatures, the ocean here has frozen solid.  Most guesses have put the current ice thickness at between one and two feet, which for a Class 1 icebreaker such as the Gould is pretty hard to get through.  Just getting to station was a struggle for it, and it had to do all those manuvers in the harbor to break up the ice enough so it could dock.

The ice has messed up the science schedule for this cruise as well.  The plan HAD been for the ship to dock, spend a night here, and the next day take off to spend 5 days doing coring and sampling of the ocean floor a few dozen miles to the south.  But the ice has been so thick and problematic that they couldn't even get more than a mile away from station; after spending a day trying to get out, they turned around and came back.

So they're still here, sitting at the dock while they figure out what to do.  At this point, fuel is becoming an issue; punching through the ice takes an amazing amount of gas, just getting that mile away from station through the ice burned over 10,000 gallons.  So rather than try and go out and come back to station again, which might not leave them with enough fuel to get home. they may leave us earlier than planned, and do the science on the way north to PA.  No one is sure yet, and everything is a little chaotic while we try and sort it out.