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Dispatch 2: Aboard the Louis S. St.-Laurent

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Gerty Ward

July 18, 2008

The Canadian Coast Guard ship Louis S. St-Laurent (Louis) is named for the Right Honorable Louis S. St. Laurent, Prime Minister of Canada from 1949 to 1957. His accomplishments included promoting Canada's membership in NATO and initiating construction of the St. Laurence seaway. The Louis is Canada's largest and most powerful ice breaker.


In the Heli

The Louis S. St.-Laurent in Cambridge Bay.

MIT/WHOI graduate student Dave Griffith in the helicopter en route to the Louis

She arrived in Cambridge Bay yesterday and today all of the scientists will arrive on board as well as a new captain and crew, comprised of 13 officers and 33 crew. Because of her 9.91 meter draught, she cannot dock at Cambridge Bay--we cannot just walk on. Instead we fly on, aboard a MB105 helicopter piloted by a Canadian Coast Guard veteran of Louis scientific cruises, Chris Swannell.

Transferring scientists, crew, gear and supplies takes most of the day. As we settle in on board, we can see and hear the helicopter flying back and forth until late afternoon. Watch the movie on my PolarTREC site to get a sense of riding in the helicopter across the ice, on approach to the Louis.

Once aboard, we are assigned rooms, transfer our gear and begin to find our way around the ship. This is the 8th cruise for WHOI scientist Rick Krishfield so we take advantage of his experience and ask for a tour.

Boat tour Room view

Rick Krishfield gives a boat tour. Here he descends from the bridge on the starboard side overlooking the life raft and the rosette shack.

The view from my room:  the round yellow object left of center houses the anchor and chain.

It has been an exciting, and long, two days. As I unpack my gear and settle in, I look out the window to a most beautiful and unusual view. I am fortunate to have a Louis cruise veteran for a room-mate. This is  Kristina Brown's second Louis cruise and she has much ship experience to share. We get underway tomorrow. We will all sleep well tonight!

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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