** Note, the following was written on Saturday, 2 August. We out-ran the internet providing satellites shortly after. **
Well, today’s edition of the ice chase will likely be described as comical after a few more hours have passed and the team regains its composure after the fresh hit of this morning.
We packed up last night in anticipation of being at our new ice island target (Petermann Ice Island-A-1-c), now in the Nares Strait between Canada and Greenland, at 9 am this morning. There was going to have to be a miracle change in weather for the helicopter to operate this morning, as we had been socked in with fog for the past week. Someone’s prayers worked, because I looked out my port-hole this morning, and after not too much neck craning, was able to spot a patch of sky! Incroyable!
The ship and science crews were rocking. The teamwork between the ship’s crew, the on-ice team, other scientists and the ‘decision makers’ is fantastic this year. There are others on board who are interested in samples from the ice island, as well as testing the surrounding waters and underwater mapping. It is great to have the whole ship involved because the boat is no longer idling just for you and everyone can benefit.
With everyone on-board readying for their own sampling, the on-ice team (The Ice Pac – our new team name!), left with the helicopter so that we could get a head start on work, as well as beat the rain that was following us.
The Canadian Ice Service has been a huge help, as they are every year, by providing me with the latest coordinates of these ice islands from the daily satellite imagery which they receive. I got the latest position about 20 minutes before take-off. This is important because the island had drifted east (not the way we would’ve liked!) since 31 July and when we were in the air we realized that it had moved suspiciously close to Greenland. Bright skies, light winds, no fog, warm working conditions… I thought that we were set! You can imagine the shock when we get the radio call that the ice island was within 12 miles of the Greenland shore and we were therefore unable to land as the ship does not have permits to operate in Greenland waters. Bam! That was it.
The good news is that we did some great photo work by flying at set altitudes and flight patterns. paths. Like the photo work we did on Saturday, this can lead to some 3D modeling (photogrammetry), and is one positive to take away from today.
We’re currently headed to our northernmost point for the cruise. It won’t be as high as we had hoped, as the ice bridge between Ellesmere Island (Canada) and Greenland is breaking apart and making navigation tricky. The ice flushing out of this region after the break may be chasing us soon enough!
So we will turn a 180 at that point and come back down, and hopefully there is still some sun and the perfect winds, pushing this morning’s target just a pinch west…
Over and out!