Friday, May 16, 2014


We hit ice yesterday evening! Up until then we were pretty much just getting used to the ship, getting to know each other, and getting over any sea sickness. I haven’t been sea sick exactly but I haven’t really felt like myself until today. Apparently the desalinated water we drink is very very soft and completely free of the minerals and electrolytes that are in normal fresh water, so it makes you a little dehydrated no matter how much of it you drink. I haven’t actually looked it up, but that’s what I’ve been hearing. So besides the motion of the ship there is this kind of weird tired headachy dehydrated feeling. I woke up this morning feeling much better though. 

I have a work space in the “future lab” to do my work, but so far I’m mostly getting set up and just starting to get going with work. Mostly I’ve been talking to as many people and learning as much as I can, plus spending as much time as possible on the deck watching the ice go by. Sampling starts today, so after that there should be a lot more going on and a lot more material to work from. All of the scientists are really friendly and usually excited to talk about their work and answer my millions of questions. I’m learning a lot already and getting lots of ideas but still waiting for plankton visuals to work from.

But in the meantime there is plenty to look at outside on the deck. The ice is completely mesmerizing. It changes constantly and I could watch it all day if it wasn’t so cold out there. I found a little spot on the bridge with a good view too, so I’ve been spending some time up there. We saw some walruses on the ice yesterday but they were too far a way to see much without binoculars. I’m hoping for more wildlife as we get into more and more ice, but even just the ice itself is amazing. We also passed the Diomede Islands today which were beautiful. The clouds were really low and we could just see the bottoms of the mountains coming straight out of the water and into the clouds. There are two islands and one belongs to the Alaska and the other to Siberia, so now I have seen Russia! And wild walruses on icebergs! And it’s only day three. I have to keep reminding myself of that every time I miss a walrus or iceberg that someone else saw. There are still 39 more days of this, I have plenty of time.  

Leaving Dutch Harbor

Amanda is the official outreach photographer and also my roommate

Walrus pile!


  1. So many Walruses! With such impressive tusks!

  2. That's soooo coooooool! It's 80 degrees here and I'm sitting outseide wearing a straw hat with a dolphin on the band, Alaska seems so magical in comparison.

  3. It is magical! A magical land of 24 hour daylight and walruses and polar bears. But you would be cold!