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Dispatch 24: Making Sure No One Goes Hungry

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Hugo Sindelar

September 30, 2018

Location: 70° 58’ N 129° 41’ W

Weather: -5°C (23°F), Mostly clear, seas ice covered, Northwest winds at 5 knots, seawater temperature -0.8°C (30.6°F)

Sea Ice: Heavy and thick ice floes

Feeding eighty-five hungry people is no easy task.  This morning after breakfast I took a brief tour of the galley with Assistant Cook, David Ralph.  The ship does not lack for fridge space, I will tell you that.  They have walk in coolers just for fruits and vegetables (though supplies are low now because we are at the end of the cruise), dairy, and desserts.  And that was just the downstairs space that I saw.  David also told me there are more coolers upstairs!  This amount of storage helps them keep a diversity of foods on board, allowing Chief Cook, Blair Walsh and his team to serve a wide array of different dishes.  We have had steak, mussels, cod, buttered chicken, lobster tortellini (oh man was that good)…..just to name a few.  There are always multiple options at every meal.  No one goes hungry.  Even after hours when those late-night cravings strike, we have access to an ample supply of sandwich fixings, snacks, and the day’s leftovers.  My personal weakness is the soft-serve ice cream machine.  Sundae at 1 am after a long day of filming and writing; hard to resist.  Food is the fuel that helps run this operation, and Blair and his assistant cooks, Jeffrey Pardy, David Ralph, and Wanda Lee Burton are much appreciated for all the options they provide for us three times a day, seven days a week.

Our way progress towards Amundsen Gulf has slowed dramatically today.  We sailed through this area earlier in the cruise and while it had ice, it was nowhere near as thick as it is now.  Consistent winds have pushed thick ice south, and that ice has reached the coastline and begun to compress and pile up against shore.  This scientific term for this piling up is ridging.  Ice ridges are much thicker than normal sea ice, and extremely thick ones can stop a ship the size of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.  We are still getting through the ice, but it is taking all five engines and some “backing and ramming” to get the job done.  It can take multiple ramming attempts to get through some of the thicker areas of ice!  Capt. Duffett told me this was the thickest ice he has seen in years.  We still hope to make it back to Kugluktuk for our flights on Tuesday, but it could be close.  Stay tuned for updates!

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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