Thank you for your interest, and thanks to Vermont Public Radio and Mitch Wertlieb for linking you to my arctic blog. Although my time on the USCG icebreaker Healy is past, I will continue to post items relevant to ongoing policy and environmental developments in the Arctic;
but today I simply want to share some images from the trip. You may have heard me describe being in a "constant state of awe" on board. I hope that including some of my photographs in this entry will help to convey some of the splendor of the Arctic Ocean in summer.
For the three weeks we were at sea, it was almost constantly light as the sun never dipped fully below the horizon at most of the latitudes we were traveling through (getting well north of the 83rd parallel, though still short of the North Pole).
Imagine that you are not only always surrounded in light: you
are also floating some 3,000
meters - almost two miles! - above the ocean
floor, suspended over the inky indigo darkest blue of frigid arctic waters.
Imagine, too, that the ship is moving at a slow, steady speed (5 to 7 knots, or m.p.h.) through an ever-changing ice scape: sometimes tightly compacted with tall pressure ridges, other times with broad "leads" of open water:
Sometimes the ice itself or the melt pools on top of it assume a stunning azure, because much of the salt has leached out of this older ice:
Arctic ice infuses the concept of "white" with an entirely new meaning, given its endless shades of frost, grey, snow, and shadow; in mist and in fog and in brilliant sun; in not-quite-twilight, not-quite-dawn shades of rose, pewter, lilac... words eventually fail and you are left to simply soak in the vastness and beauty of the place.
Thanks once again for your interest. I hope you will stay tuned, read a few of my earlier entries to learn more about the mapping trip (see above, right) and that you will send me your questions and comments, either by posting below or by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.