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> Stuck.....But Entertained, Making the Most of Being Ice-Locked
Steve_Marshall
post Jun 17 2005, 04:20 PM
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6/15/05 #1
Stuck….But Entertained


We were hoping to get moving this morning or at least by mid-day, but that didn’t happen. At least I was able to use the “down-time” to catch up on journal entries and get some more pictures. We were definitely pretty well locked in. Although the following pictures were taken during a helicopter ride at a later time (6/16), they relate well to the situation we are in, so I will include them in this entry:

Stranded on a Desert Ice Pack
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This wide-angle view shows how well we’re locked in the ice (photo by Greg Cutter)

Erasing our Tracks
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In this picture, you can see the ice quickly filled in behind us (photo by Greg Cutter)


Ice is Strong Too
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If you look close enough, you can see the force of the ice is strong enough to tilt the boat a little to the port (left) side (photo by Greg Cutter)


Dry Docked?
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You can also see part of the bow that would normally be under water is actually up above the ice some (photo by Greg Cutter)


Although we have all done a great job of trying to find ways to keep busy and get ready for when we finally do get out of the ice and to our sample locations, I have to admit I could sense a little frustration or boredom building in some people. That’s why what happened next was an example of perfect timing…

At about 10:15am Alaska Daylight Time, an announcement came over the ship that two polar bears were sighted. It was a shot of enthusiasm that came at just the right time. People immediately got up, grabbed their cameras, and headed out on deck to see the bears. There were two of them, an adult and a cub. Although they were rather far away (about a half-mile), they started to come towards us and came within about 800 feet of the ship before they turned perpendicular to as and away along a channel of open water.

Not only was the timing of this experience good to bring some excitement to everyone, but it was also kind of a funny timing too. The Plan of the Day (POD) that had been given out this morning had an entry about “Ice Liberty,” with the description that “within the next two weeks, we will give you the chance to leave the ship and be devoured by a polar bear!” blink.gif Coincidence? While we didn’t actually leave the ship, I thought it was funny that the bears should show up right on cue for their part of the “Ice Liberty” plan. smile.gif

Anyway, since a question about whether we see polar bears seems to be one of the most common asked by students, there’s obviously a big interest and excitement about them, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves for the remainder of this journal entry. Enjoy!

Straining for a Better View of Us Too?
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It almost looks like the bear is positioning itself to get a better view of us too! (photo by Joe Ortiz)


Getting Ready for a Swim?
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The cub had already been swimming at least once, maybe the mother was going to join it (photo by Joe Ortiz)

Drying Off
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It’s hard to tell, but it looks like the cub’s fur is wet from swimming in the water (photo by Greg Cutter)


Checking Us Outt
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It still looks like the bears are trying to have a look at us too. (photo by Dave Forcucci)

Not letting Us Out of Their Sights
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The cub may be losing interest, but is looks like the mother is definitely posing for the camera. (photo by Dave Forcucci)


Back at Ya!
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The crew was just as excited about the polar bears as the scientists were (photo by Steve Roberts)


Think They Can Pull Us Out of the Ice?
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Some of the crew and the scientists line up along the bow (front) of the ship to get a better view of the bears. Maybe we should throw a rope to the bears to see what THEY can do to get us out of this biggrin.gif (photo by Steve Roberts)

Protecting the Little One
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It looks like the adult is standing up for a better view while the cub stays close (photo by Joe Ortiz)

A Day at the Beach
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Mother and cub go for a casual stroll along the water front (photo by Steve Roberts)

You Wanna Piece of Me?!
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Check out the two big blocks of ice leaning against each other behind the bear. If you have a good imagination, it almost looks like a lean-to house with a polar bear standing nearby to protect its property smile.gif (photo by Joe Ortiz)

An Ice Ladder?
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Ice is packed high enough against the ship that we were cautioned to be alert for polar bears near the fantail (lower, backside) of the ship. The concern that smells of the great food being cooked on the ship might attract bears that could use the ice as a ladder to board the ship. (photo by Greg Cutter)
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Janet_Warburton
post Jun 17 2005, 06:14 PM
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What great photos and quite the adventure - even if you can't sample smile.gif
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Ute_Kaden
post Jun 18 2005, 03:27 AM
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Hi Steven,
I follow your trip with great interest. Very interesting pictures indeed. Being in Houston and enduring 100F heat, we enjoyed the polar bears and the amount of free ice. tongue.gif
However being stuck huh.gif is no fun and we hope that the situation will change soon.
I am looking forward to your next journal entry.

Ute and UH (University Houston). smile.gif
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Robert_Oddo
post Jun 19 2005, 02:59 PM
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Steve,
Great Pictures of the Polar Bears. I am really enjoying your descriptions. I feel like I am on the ship.
Bob
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