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> Ecological change in the Bering Sea

Examining the Ice


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Description: Edmond Apassingok scans the ice from the Healy’s uppermost deck. As a subsistence hunter that relies on thick sea ice, he has seen firsthand the effects of climate change.

Science Chat


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Description: Bob, Bobby, Lee, and Jim discuss changes that are taking place in the Bering Sea.

Water Purifier


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Description: The ship takes in water from the Bering Sea, feeds it into a tank, and heats the water. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind sea salt and other impurities. What remains is fresh water that’s safe for drinking.

Gas Station


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Description: Each pipe, duct, wire, etc. throughout the ship is color-coded or labeled for its function. This is where the fuel oils get pumped into the Healy. Here are the “fuel caps” for the F76 diesel fuel (yellow), hydraulic oil (orange), and JP5 aircraft fuel (purple).

Power Plant


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Description: This is Generator #4 of four. If necessary, the whole ship could run off of just one generator.

In Control


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Description: Master Chief Podhora stands watch in the Healy’s engineering control center. Fifty percent of the Healy’s crew is in the engineering division. Only five of them are electricians, meaning that Podhora is always in high demand!

Big Effort, Small Payoff


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Description: We received a satellite radar image today showing the indentation that the Healy made in the ice. Despite an hour’s worth of back and ramming, the ship only carved a very tiny notch. The Healy’s track is superimposed on the image.

Front-Row Seats


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Description: Thick ice, beautiful scenery, and the excitement of “back and ramming” drew a crowd to the Healy’s bow for the best view around.

Hull Mark


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Description: You can see the “V” shape left by the Healy’s hull as we back away from an earlier ram.

Top-Notch Navigator


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Description: Coast Guard navigator Tim Sullivan maneuvers the Healy in a back and ram fashion.

Clifford Sees the Sights


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Description: Clifford the Big Red Dog, a Scholastic character, poses in front of Big Diomede, Russia. One of my co-workers, Mirtha Williams, gave Clifford to me as a “bon voyage” present before I left for my Bering Sea expedition.

The Diomedes


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Description: Sam and I pose in front of Big Diomede (left) and Little Diomede. Open water surrounds the Healy here, but soon we find ourselves in very thick ice.



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Description: The Healy visitors were welcomed in the community’s city office. During the visit, Captain Oliver presented a plaque to the Mayor, Mr. Patrick Omiak, Sr., paying tribute to the isolated sea-faring community. (Photo courtesy of Lee Cooper)

Cold Cave


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Description: Subsistence hunters on King Island placed their meat in a cold cave to keep it fresh. The cave sits just to the right of the village.

Stilt Village


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Description: In the 1930s, approximately 45 stilt houses clung to the side of King Island.

Land Ahead!


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Description: King Island pokes out of the waters of the northern Bering Sea.

Quick Glimpse


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Description: This adult bearded seal was too big for us to catch. Even so, it wasn’t about to stick around. It quickly slid off the ice and into the water.

On the Lookout


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Description: Bill Conroy of the Coast Guard (left) and Perry keep an eye out for seal pups.

In Search of Ice


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Description: Since seals are found near ice, we left the open waters surrounding the Healy to get to some pack ice.

Suiting Up


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On: 1149018481

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Description: Here I am with my dry suit on, just about to climb aboard the orange RHIB that’s hanging behind me.

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