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August 12, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 50

Captain Wunderlich asked if he could join me on the ice today… perhaps to get some fresh air. So he joined Jackson Osborn and me on our daily walk-about around to our different stations. I decided to show him some of the other great areas on our floe as well. For me, the central part of the Fortress, now the desert scene, is the greatest place to go.


August 11, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 49

On the far side of the floe is a chunk of old ice, riddled with stones everywhere. I have no idea how there could be so many embedded in the ice. Then the transect loops back around to the First Year Ice side, where the ice is generally thinner and the coastline has eroded significantly over time leading to an ever-evolving interface with the open water. On that side there are some fantastic drainage channels…. Basically rivers that drain a complex network of ponds further inland.


August 10, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 48

Strange ice crystal formations everywhere, glistening in the sun. Standing there and looking out across the surface I felt like I was in the slickrock of the Utah desert. They have similarly eroded and curved surfaces, with layers and sculptured forms that only nature can create.


August 9, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 47

It’s getting hard to keep track as there have been so many bears lately. Visits in the evening-to-early-morning going into last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then here again last night (Monday). And this morning at 4:30 am.


August 8, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 46

The real highlight of the evening for me was the group photo time prior to the festivities. We set up a line of flags, the 20 flags of MOSAiC nations, all strung next to each other. This was placed just beyond a scenic melt pond. In front of that pond we put the big MOSAiC flag, held tight on some boards.


August 7, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 45

Today is not Sunday. Nor was yesterday. But we’ve spent both mornings onboard the ship like on a typical Sunday because we’ve had a polar bear around the area. First thing yesterday morning there was an announcement over the intercom about a bear on the port side. As is typically the case, people run for their cameras and head out to the decks.


August 6, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 44

Flying out over this diverse ice pack. One thing that struck me about the flight was the number of dirty ice floes. There are many others like our floe, and some that are much dirtier, black and gray.


August 5, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 43

Last week there would be periods of the day when melt was rampant, but then periods when the surface would freeze. Thin layers of ice would form on the top of melt ponds. That phenomenon has shifted now and we are not really seeing major shifts during the day anymore; the system appears to be mostly in a permanent melt state.


August 4, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 42

The many faces of ice. So fascinating. Today I found myself sitting on the surface, digging through little pockets of this ice and that ice. Exploring their different textures and sounds. And tastes (mostly fresh!).


August 3, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 41

“…out here in our Arctic bubble there are actually days that I don’t even think about the coronavirus. It doesn’t even pop into my head. I guess this would be impossible at home. But out here there is no virus, no social distance needed.”