Please note: You are viewing the unstyled version of this website. Either your browser does not support CSS (cascading style sheets) or it has been disabled. Skip navigation.

Dispatch 8: "Shuga" Ice

   Print Change text to small (default) Change text to medium Change text to large

Related Multimedia

September 27 Photos
» View Slideshow

Peter Lourie

September 27, 2016

4 AM. I’m in the lounge typing this and Gillian who has been on the bridge says we’re getting into the “shuga” ice.  She says it’s lovely up there, with a crescent moon appearing through the fog.  The shuga ice will turn to pancake ice with the “motion of the ocean,” before it starts to bond to form bigger floes.

Although Coleridge was writing about the South Pole, he caught how I begin to feel as we come into the fog and the ice:


And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald….

 The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled…

 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

As the day goes on, we’re in thin plates of ice, and occasionally the jerking boat reminds Michiyo of the many earthquakes in Japan.  She’s smiling when she says this, but I can tell that going through earthquakes has plenty shaken up.  Rick and Will are going to fly out in the helicopter to look for good ice far enough away from the shelf so that the buoy they hope to deploy tomorrow won’t be drawn by the current and melting ice next summer into the land, which might ruin the instruments and shut down the data he hopes to get for more than a year.  But finding good ice is problematic.  The ice line is much farther north and consists of broken bits. We may have to go north quite a while to find stable ice for the buoy launch.

I pass Bosun Bill Galliot who is all suited up and heading outside, bouncing with a ton of energy.  He’s helping Seita organize his equipment for ice corings and other measurements that will be taken tomorrow out on the ice.  Bill says, “Now this is what I love.  Being busy.”  “Sort of like bartending on a busy night?”  “That’s it,” he says.  And he pops outside.  Bill joined the Coast Guard in 1992 and has been on a number of ships. 

I really like talking to the crew; the majority are from various parts of wild and beautiful Newfoundland.  I spoke today to Seaman Everett Payne who gave up fishing to join the Canadian Coast Guard. Bill, Everett, Trevor, and Nathan and many have graciously promised to do video interviews with me.  Later I’ll link the video pages to this blog so that people will get a real idea what it’s like to work on an icebreaker.

At dinner Sarah says that Rick didn’t find good ice.  Will Ostom says they went out 25 miles and found not even a place to land the helicopter.  Sarah says we’re heading north.

To learn more about Peter Lourie click here.

Last updated: October 7, 2019

whoi logo

Copyright ©2007 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, All Rights Reserved, Privacy Policy.
Problems or questions about the site, please contact