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Dispatch 3: Go with the Floe

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Fred Marin and Marshall Swartz

September 14, 2019

During the night on our steam north, we began to enter ice floes which the icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent effortlessly broke through.  The ice damped the wave energy flattening the seas, and the relentlessly steady glide of the ship through the water began to gently shudder as it broke through the floes of ice.

On the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, the meals are delicious and follow a clockwork schedule. After breakfast and coffee, everyone was busy about starting their day, or in the case of the night watch, ending their day when, over the loud speaker, it was announced that a Polar bear was approaching the ship off the starboard bow.  Those who could leave their work excitedly scrambled to the forward deck to take a look.  A large Polar bear was galloping toward the ship to intersect its path, and at a few hundred meters, turned away.  We watched the magnificent creature saunter off and glide into the water between ice floes taking glances towards us as it swam.  The Polar bear sighting was a remarkable experience to witness!

Later that morning we arrived to station CB-1 in the southeast corner of the Beaufort Sea where a CTD rosette cast was made to a depth of 645m in 1109m of water.  As we steamed onward to our next sampling station (CB-31b) the ice became sparse.  We reached CB-31b by mid-day where another CTD rosette cast was made concomitantly with a “bongo net” vertical haul from 100m depth to the surface.  After the science operations at station CB-31b concluded, we steamed onwards to the next station (CB-23a) in our migration north and west.  As we steamed onward we again entered ice-free waters.  CB-23a was reached at around midnight where the fifth CTD rosette case for this expedition was conducted.  During the transit between stations we made XCTD casts to fill in the hydrographic observations.  XCTD are tube-launched expendable probes which transmit temperature and conductivity data back through a fine copper wire to a recorder onboard the ship.

Last updated: September 19, 2019

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