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Dispatch 25: Mooring D Redeployment in the Company of a Sweet Polar Bear!

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Mengnan Zhao

October 12, 2015

Our final mooring operations – redeployment of Mooring D – began as planned after lunch today at 74N, 140W. I went to the fore deck for this one. This mooring includes a Bottom Pressure Recorder (BPR), sediment trap, MicroCAT, McLane Moored Profiler (MMP), Upward Looking Sonar (ULS), Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and Acoustic Wave and Current Profiler (AWACS). Today was extremely cold, with temperatures dipping below -15C and the wind later became so strong that I could barely remain standing on deck. The wire over the side tilted up to 45 degrees by the time we were nearly ready to release the mooring. Scientist Sarah Zimmerman came all the way up to the fore deck to offer me warmer boots and gloves (she takes good care of us and we adore her!). In spite of the weather, the rich experience of the WHOI team, with many years of mooring operations, made for a successful deployment of the last mooring, together with the perfect workings of the officers on the bridge and all the crew on the fore deck. The top floatation sphere, finally released, and gradually sinking to depth marked the consummation of all the mooring work this year.

Just before lunch, we were lucky to see a polar bear walking slowly towards us at a close distance. Just as I thought this would be the highlight of my day, a bigger surprise was waiting for us. As we were waiting for the 1995 meters of mooring wire (with the MMP) to spool out, Rick pointed me to the starboard side, and the cute track of polar bear footprints. Gary found another track on the other side of the ship. It seemed that our mooring location was in the playground of a polar bear. Later, this adorable bear showed up, wandering around our ship curiously, and glancing towards us from time to time. The polar bears we’ve seen before have all been on thick snow, this was the first one we’ve seen directly on the ice. I nearly melted when I saw this bear slipping over the ice as she walked. In the end, she even took a nap beside our ship and watched over our mooring redeployment until we had finished. It would seem that a mooring deployment in the company of a sweet bear was a unique experience among all the BGOS cruises since 2003.

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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