Monday, September 23, 2013

Moving back in

The winter crew has moved off, we've moved in, the ship has left and now finally the place is settling down enough to properly write.

The trip down from PA on the LMG wasn't as bad as some years past, but it wasn't great.  The first day of the Drake was reasonably rough, and while the next two days weren't quite as bad, we ran into a lot more ice than we were expecting.

The LMG isn't technically an icebreaker; it's official classification is ice-strengthened.  It doesn't have the horsepower to plow through ice at speed, and it's not nearly as well armored as dedicated icebreakers like it's larger cousin, the Nathanial B. Palmer (The "Natty-B").  Endless fields of pancake ice such as this don't pose any threat to the ship, but it can't safely make more than 5 knots through it and it added a solid day to our transit.

Even after we got to station, we were thwarted again by the weather; sustained 50mph+ winds with gusts over 80mph forced us to stand off the station in deep water for another day, waiting for the winds to die down enough for us to tie up. 

As soon as we did tie up on a Thursday, it was almost non-stop work for everyone on station.  There was the crew changeover, the emergency team changeovers, and quite a number of milvans and cargo that had to be slung off the ship and onto station, and not much time with which to do it.  It was a busy and stressful few days, with almost three times the amount of people running around station that we're accustomed to (winter crew, summer crew, and the ships crew).

But finally, at 10am yesterday, they took off.  We un-tied the LMG and it took the winter-overs north, back to PA, and left us alone in peace and quiet.  We got another six inches of snow last night, and the temps are sill in the upper 20s; we won't start to lose most of this snow for another month or two.

Now we finally get to start settling in; doing the final bits of unpacking, getting back into the routine of station life.   I've already started shooting time-lapses of the ice flows moving around; until I get a chance to get them edited and uploaded, here's a panorama version of one of my favorite pictures that I've ever taken of Arthur Harbor.

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