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> Piloting the boat
Clythie Funnye
post Jun 1 2006, 06:58 PM
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Hi Patty,

I heard that you recently piloted the ship through the icy waters up there, what was that like?
Is it true that ice can cake up on the boat when there's rain or spray?

Clythie
Tarrytown NY
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Patricia_Janes
post Jun 4 2006, 09:24 PM
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Hi Clythie,

What a surprise to hear from a fellow Tarrytowner! You're right: I did get to put my navigator skills to the test. We were in very thick ice, and so we were doing a technique called "backing and ramming." What that means is that we pilot the icebreaker forward as far as it will go until the ice stops it. Then, we back up the ship and use the open-water path that we just created to speed up and ram the ice again. We keep doing that until we finally plow our way through. It was amazing to be behind the wheel of an icebreaker -- especially one as large as the Healy. (It is 420 feet long!) It takes a lot of knowledge about ice conditions to know where the weak spots are likely to be. The Healy has an awesome navigator!

Temperatures and weather conditions here at this time of year haven't been cold enough to build up much ice. However, every now and then I'll see small chunks of ice fall from the ship's mast. I think a ship would experience more of that in the wintertime when conditions are much more harsh in the Bering Sea than they are right now -- although there were snowflakes today!

Thanks for writing,
Patty
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