BreezySeas Explorers bLog

Captain Breezy Grenier, FRGS MN'17 Ocean M.E.S.E Mariner, Educator, Scientist, Explorer

Life is Learning How to Adapt

breezyseas-explorersblog:

Yesterday, I endured the lost of my mother. She has been battling neurological Lyme’s Disease for the past decade. There are no words to describe what I am going through right now, but I know she is finally at peace. I wanted to share the speech, that was so gracefully read on my behalf at Celebrate Women Divers Day 2019, because my mother taught me so much about life, and how my experiences can hopefully put someone else at ease, or even inspire strength through hardship. Over the next week I will be spending with my family and friends, adjusting and adapting, because that is life. You learn to find strength to move on but never forget and cherish the amazing memories you’ve been blessed with. I want to thank everyone who has been there for myself and my family, and to please respect our privacy during this tough time.

“If I were to tell you I am sorry for missing such a great occasion, a day bringing together groups of friends and strangers, becoming one big scuba family, with a common passion of experiencing our oceans, along with food, diving, and fun, to celebrate the great feats of women divers, it would be a lie. Sorry is a word that is just thrown around too casually in our society, taking away from its intended meaning. I am not sorry because I am currently with my mother, during her final moments in this world. At the age of 59, she has been fighting for over ten years, an up-hill battle with neurological Lyme’s Disease, and on Thursday, I had to make the hardest decision of my life, to place her into hospice care. The easiest way to describe her symptoms is by saying she has severe dementia, but it is much worse than words can describe. It is not having any control of your mind or body, but she never lost her spirit. She was a fighter and the strongest woman I have ever known. An unfortunate series of extreme events led for her condition to take a toll for the worse, and that is why my father and I had to make the decision and choose to make her as comfortable as possible during her final days. It is time I would never be able to replace, and that life is, a collection of time filled with memories. I hope everyone here can respect that.

In addition to taking care of my mother throughout my twenties, this past year, my father was diagnosed with multiple stage four cancers. So why am I having all this information read to you. Why is it important? I do not want you to be sorry for me. Going back to sorry, what is being sorry anyways? It is feeling distress, especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune. But who is it to say my life has been unfortunate.

Just like the sea, life is not predictable; it never goes according to plans, it can go from bad to worse in an instant, but remember the tides will always rise, and the seas will calm after a storm. My whole life I was preparing for a life on the water, from serving in the Coast Guard, to studying multiple ocean sciences, to becoming a scuba diving instructor and licensed captain. My choice to adapt and to take care of my parents, couldn’t have prepared me any better for life on the water. What I have learned from my experience is something I could have never have learned from any school or training. It has granted me some of the most amazing opportunities to explore this world. So again don’t be sorry, I am not a victim. Playing the victim card will not get you anywhere. It will only defeat all of the fight and sacrifices our foremothers made, to get us to where we are today. What some may call misfortune, I call an opportunity to continue to grow, learn, and challenge myself. Life is not easy, its not always fun, but the more work you put into yours, the more rewarding it will be. Life is what you choose to make of it.

We are here to celebrate women divers, so what does eXXpedition Round the World, a sailing voyage have to do with diving? Aside from the fact I am a diver, eXXpedition is an all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission that will explore plastics and toxins in our oceans. Round the World will begin this October in the United Kingdom, covering 38,000 miles, broken into 30 legs, over the next two years. I will be joining the first leg from the UK to the Azores. What connects sailing with diving is our oceans, the fact that we love being in and on the water. We will be raising awareness and contribute to collecting valuable data to our every growing marine plastics problem. Life at sea is always unexpected, but one thing I always know I will see is unfortunately plastics and garbage debris. Just because it is out of sight, it shouldn’t be out of mind, and by bringing it to light, we can hopefully inspire change. We are a collection of amazing individuals, everyone unique and different, from all backgrounds. As humans we all evolved from the sea, and that’s what unites us. Our connection and curiosity is what draws us back to the bottomless depths.
I do wish I could have been there today, and I want to wish everyone happy and safe diving! Have a great time in the water. When your passionate about something, you want to preserve that for generations to come, and as divers we can bring to light what is happening to our oceans. Share the things you see first hand, challenge yourself and learn about what you experience. Protect what you love. Thank you.”

Posted 85 weeks ago

How to Stay Strong

It has been a month since I lost my mother, and one day since my father has been moved out from the ICU. Love is a powerful thing; it can burn bridges or save lives, it’s a reason for living. My father in November was diagnosed with multiple stage 4 cancers, during his treatment he never experienced any side effects, he was never sick, never lost his hair or skin color. You would have never in a million years thought he was going through chemo treatments. He was cured of two of the four cancers, and only had a “smidgen” of cancer left. Doctors called him a medical marvel.
Three weeks after my mothers passing, my father was rushed to the hospital, I was offshore the coast of Greenland, above the Arctic Circle, on a new job contract. When I heard the news, my life shattered. I couldn’t imagine loosing both of my parents, my father is the strongest man I know. The company I just started working for, One Ocean Expeditions, bent over backwards and got me back to the States so quickly to be there with my father. I couldn’t be more grateful for their support this whole time.
When you work in the industries I do, and have experienced life hardships I have, you learn to trust and rely on your support team back home. You have your plans, you know your team, but you never know how everything is going to turn out. My friends and family were checking in and spending time with my father, helping him adapt to his new life. My parents were together for 41 years. When they knew something was wrong, my uncles got him to his doctor, where he was then rushed to the hospital. I couldn’t believe I had friends with my father within minutes of finding out, and they where there by his side until I got to the hospital. It was such a comforting feeling, knowing my father wasn’t alone, and he was with someone I could trust.
I couldn’t be more thankful to have such kind and genuinely amazing people in my life, who have been there for my father and I. They still don’t have a full explanation for my father’s symptoms, but thankfully he is doing much better. We can just take it one day at a time, and continue to pray for the best.

Posted 88 weeks ago

Life is Learning How to Adapt

Yesterday, I endured the lost of my mother. She has been battling neurological Lyme’s Disease for the past decade. There are no words to describe what I am going through right now, but I know she is finally at peace. I wanted to share the speech, that was so gracefully read on my behalf at Celebrate Women Divers Day 2019, because my mother taught me so much about life, and how my experiences can hopefully put someone else at ease, or even inspire strength through hardship. Over the next week I will be spending with my family and friends, adjusting and adapting, because that is life. You learn to find strength to move on but never forget and cherish the amazing memories you’ve been blessed with. I want to thank everyone who has been there for myself and my family, and to please respect our privacy during this tough time.

“If I were to tell you I am sorry for missing such a great occasion, a day bringing together groups of friends and strangers, becoming one big scuba family, with a common passion of experiencing our oceans, along with food, diving, and fun, to celebrate the great feats of women divers, it would be a lie. Sorry is a word that is just thrown around too casually in our society, taking away from its intended meaning. I am not sorry because I am currently with my mother, during her final moments in this world. At the age of 59, she has been fighting for over ten years, an up-hill battle with neurological Lyme’s Disease, and on Thursday, I had to make the hardest decision of my life, to place her into hospice care. The easiest way to describe her symptoms is by saying she has severe dementia, but it is much worse than words can describe. It is not having any control of your mind or body, but she never lost her spirit. She was a fighter and the strongest woman I have ever known. An unfortunate series of extreme events led for her condition to take a toll for the worse, and that is why my father and I had to make the decision and choose to make her as comfortable as possible during her final days. It is time I would never be able to replace, and that life is, a collection of time filled with memories. I hope everyone here can respect that.

In addition to taking care of my mother throughout my twenties, this past year, my father was diagnosed with multiple stage four cancers. So why am I having all this information read to you. Why is it important? I do not want you to be sorry for me. Going back to sorry, what is being sorry anyways? It is feeling distress, especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune. But who is it to say my life has been unfortunate.

Just like the sea, life is not predictable; it never goes according to plans, it can go from bad to worse in an instant, but remember the tides will always rise, and the seas will calm after a storm. My whole life I was preparing for a life on the water, from serving in the Coast Guard, to studying multiple ocean sciences, to becoming a scuba diving instructor and licensed captain. My choice to adapt and to take care of my parents, couldn’t have prepared me any better for life on the water. What I have learned from my experience is something I could have never have learned from any school or training. It has granted me some of the most amazing opportunities to explore this world. So again don’t be sorry, I am not a victim. Playing the victim card will not get you anywhere. It will only defeat all of the fight and sacrifices our foremothers made, to get us to where we are today. What some may call misfortune, I call an opportunity to continue to grow, learn, and challenge myself. Life is not easy, its not always fun, but the more work you put into yours, the more rewarding it will be. Life is what you choose to make of it.

We are here to celebrate women divers, so what does eXXpedition Round the World, a sailing voyage have to do with diving? Aside from the fact I am a diver, eXXpedition is an all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission that will explore plastics and toxins in our oceans. Round the World will begin this October in the United Kingdom, covering 38,000 miles, broken into 30 legs, over the next two years. I will be joining the first leg from the UK to the Azores. What connects sailing with diving is our oceans, the fact that we love being in and on the water. We will be raising awareness and contribute to collecting valuable data to our every growing marine plastics problem. Life at sea is always unexpected, but one thing I always know I will see is unfortunately plastics and garbage debris. Just because it is out of sight, it shouldn’t be out of mind, and by bringing it to light, we can hopefully inspire change. We are a collection of amazing individuals, everyone unique and different, from all backgrounds. As humans we all evolved from the sea, and that’s what unites us. Our connection and curiosity is what draws us back to the bottomless depths.
I do wish I could have been there today, and I want to wish everyone happy and safe diving! Have a great time in the water. When your passionate about something, you want to preserve that for generations to come, and as divers we can bring to light what is happening to our oceans. Share the things you see first hand, challenge yourself and learn about what you experience. Protect what you love. Thank you.”

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
🍀 “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam” 🍀
July 1st, 1960 – July 29th, 2019

Posted 92 weeks ago

Week 5: All Good Things Must Come to an End

Breezy Grenier on the USCGC Healy: Last week aboard the Healy. The science party disembarked in Unalaska and we are now enroute to Juneau. STARC is packing up for the season.

Last week we were wrapping up our science operations, this week we are wrapping up the science season. After we successfully recovered the mooring, we went into full steam back to Dutch Harbor. Within hours of wrapping up with science, the USCGC Healy was called into action and used as a refueling station for a rescue mission for one of the Coast Guard helicopters, which went late into the night. Semper Paratus, Always Ready! The hard working men and women of the Healy have definitely earned their well deserved rest after a 6+ month deployment, wrapping up 3 successful science missions in the Alaskan High Arctic.

After the science party departed in Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, it went from a busy beehive to a ghost town. The marine science technician’s office is near our work quarters, so we still see them, and we have the occasional watch stander walking thru on their rounds, but nothing like it was before. The deck team is busy with flight training operations, instead of on-deck running CTD, XCTD, and Van Veen deployments. We are not calling down to the engineers requesting pumps to be turned on; we are not out on deck observing science evolutions. We went from the science labs being full of scientists running and analyzing their water samples, to an empty compartment. We went from having minimum two STARC techs working 24/7, to only two of us onboard working 0800 to 1800, packing up and preparing for the overhaul. I have the entire science sleeping quarters to myself, since the other STARC Tech and C4IT are on the 3rddeck. I have never gotten to say I have an entire deck aboard a ship to myself! Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and what a great feast the culinary specialists put out for us. The moral is highly affected by the quality of dishes the chefs put out, and we definitely lucked out with the delicious meals produced onboard.  I am not even saying that because the CSCS (Culinary Specialist Senior Chief) was my A-school instructor. 

It is hard to make cleaning up, breaking down, organizing, and packing sound fun and exciting, but something that has to be done, and you actually learn a lot taking apart a lot of the equipment. When breaking down the CTD’s I discovered that one of the brands of hose clamps shared my name, but of course they spelt it wrong!

Tomorrow we are due to arrive in Juneau and that’s when I will catch my flight and head back home. I want to thank the MATE program for the opportunity to come onboard the USCGC Healy to learn with STARC, WHOI, and the U.S. Coast Guard. I am grateful to have been given the chance to help build upon my academic background through hands on training, and add to my experience in being the support of ocean exploration. I am always striving to challenge myself and continue my education to makemyself a valuable contribution to the next generation of ocean explorers. In the near future I wish continue my education and eventually obtain PhD in Exploration Sciences and Technology. I had a great time, and it was a pleasure meeting with and working with everyone.
Fair winds and following seas! Time to get some rest before my next expedition!

Posted 127 weeks ago

Week 4: As the Sun Sets, Winter Awakes

Breezy Grenier on the USCGC Healy: What an exciting week it has been, chasing the formation of winter water around the Beaufort! We just wrapped up our last week of science, and started our steam back to Dutch Harbor.

It certainly has been a game of ping-pong going back and forth across the Beaufort Sea. Last week when we were starting our transit back West, and near Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) where we stumbled upon the formation of winter water, and when you stumble across a scientific phenomena, you to try and gather as much data as possible, in this case we needed to best document how it spreads across the Beaufort slope. So we headed back East, filling in the gaps between our CTD line transects, then we headed back West due to time constraints, and then because the Coast Guard crew was so amazingly efficient at the CTD cast evolutions, they bought us more time to head back East! I also want to mention, this week we also experienced our shortest days with just about 2 hours of daylight, and our coldest temperatures yet, dropping down to -21°C (-5°F) with -28°C (-18°F) wind chill. Bravo Zulu Captain and Crew of the Healy!!

The Franklin Mountains of the Brooks Range on the North Slope borders the Beaufort Sea. So on a clear day, during our two hours of sunlight, and our 6-ish hours of twilight, the majestic mountains were our backdrops. Even if it wasn’t clear, it was snowing beautiful, big, fluffy snowflakes. If you are a snowboarder like I am, this just kills you. I teach snowboarding at Rhode Island’s number one ski area, Yawgoo Valley, I also organize and lead the snowboarding staff as an Instructor Trainer and Snowboard Hill Captain, so I am very passionate about the sport. Yawgoo is pretty flat, with 95m (310ft) of elevation, so when waking up to fresh powder on the decks every day, and with the ocean between you and the soaring mountains, it’s torture! Also getting news that back home that they just got their first snow of the season, I can hear my snowboard calling my name! I am also a polar and ice diver, and happen to be one of the members of the Sedna Epic Expedition, where we are snorkeling the Northwest Passage in 2020, so between no snowboarding and no scuba diving for the past 4 weeks, I am going through withdrawals! But the reality is, the mariner in me is still just as excited being on a ship up in the High Arctic in the beginning of winter, I am truly lucky. People always assume just because the water is cold, that there is no life, and high latitudes the water is always murky because it LOOKS dark. Oh on the contrary, the ocean is teeming with life! Winter in New England is my favorite time to go diving because the water is so much clearer, and instead of the average 3m of viability you can easily have up to 10m+, and unless you are at the foot of a glacier, or the mouth of a river same generally goes for the High Arctic, with the added bonus of icebergs.

During our transits back and forth between lines, gave me some “down time” to get back to work on creating and/or updating SOPs (standard order procedures). My learning style, I am a do-er. I learn best by actually working on a skill, so if there isn’t a current opportunity to work on a task hands on, the next best option for me is to do a mock trial, allowing me to record observations, skills and steps. Especially when it comes to using different software. So far I created SOPs for importing Ice Imagery on QINSy, and updated XBT & XCTD cast procedures, and now creating processing procedures for POS MV, and updating Seapath.

Photo credit: Sarah Kaye, C4IT
With only one more science stop to recover a mooring, we are full steam back to Dutch Harbor. One day and wake up before the science party disembarks, and then we will continue our journey to Juneau, Alaska. We will be disassembling all the equipment for the end of the science season and the ships dry-dock. Good-bye the world above the Arctic Circle, hope to see you soon!
November 17th is when Utqiaġvik will have their last sunset, as it begins the two months of Arctic night.

Posted 128 weeks ago

Week 3: Pancakes, Polynyas, and Polar Bears

Breezy Grenier on the USCGC Healy: Three weeks down, three to go! Ice conditions have caused us to change our CTD transect lines a couple times, but nothing will slow down the Healy! Coming back from the waters of the Canadian Arctic around Mackenzie Bay, we have been working our way back west towards Barrow Point (and into cell phone service!).

It is funny on how many countdowns there are going on aboard the vessel. 8 Days until we arrive back in Dutch Harbor, 14 days until we arrive in Juneau, and 20 days until the ship arrives back in Seattle [15 days until I arrive back home in New England]. I can’t forget to mention it’s # days and a wake up.

We did get a nice change of pace this week switching from CTD casts to XCTDs, at least for a day and a half. Instead of an evolution involving several deckhands, deploying a large cylinder with several pipes (niskin bottles) designed to capture water at different depths, along with an ADCP (acoustic doppler current profiler- which measures how fast water is moving across an entire water column) and a few other pieces of oceanographic equipment, we are able to test for CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth), turbidity (clarity), and get nutrient, chemical, and salinity measurements from the water samples. So the XCTD saves a lot of time when trying to get a snapshot of an area, since it involves only three people, dropping a single probe down into the water column. It records conductivity, temperature, and pressure. So when deploying the XCTDs we stumbled across some really exciting data. We were capturing the formation of winter water and how it spreads across the Beaufort slope! So back to CTD casts for a “higher resolution” of this phenomena. 

Photo Credit: MST2 Cory Padron
We did our deep CTD cast this week. This is always everyone’s favorite event, getting to decorate and shrink Styrofoam cups! The cups started at 9 cm tall and shrunk to about 3.75 cm. They were sent down to just over a mile (1.1 miles) below the surface to 1784m (5853 feet)! I got carried away making three different cups.

I also got to work on splicing cables. It’s been awhile since I did soldering, so it was a nice to get down and dirty and do some precision work with my hands. I also re-terminated some CAT5 cables; this was a first for me. The wires are organized inside the cable white and color with solid color (ex. WO/O, WB/B, WG/G, and WBr/Br). Somewhere along the lines, someone inventing the terminal end thought that it would be a good idea to switch two of the white/color cables in the terminal end (WO/O, WG/B, WB/G, WBr/Br). Tell me how that makes sense?! I ended up having to splice the cable ends twice, because of that mix up. Now I will remember the order every time I terminate CAT5 cables, and to check and double check the guide, instead of looking at the black and white picture for reference.

On our trek back west, coming in close to land, we also came back into cell phone service off the coast of Alaska’s North Slope. It is funny when your phone hits 3g and notifications come streaming in, two plus weeks worth. I guess a lot of people didn’t listen to my voicemail saying I was out to sea for six weeks, or all the away messages I put up on my email and social media. [Verizon, I use to have service in Dutch Harbor 12 years ago, and now I do not, but I do have service off shore the coast of the North Slope?!? Thank you!]
After three weeks, we finally had an amazing Aurora sighting! The irony is the forecast said it was a low probability (2 out of 10). The past couple of days we have entered our “W” transect. We call it that because it’s the shape of a W, so we have had a pretty solid CTD cast routine, with time between casts ranging between 15 to 30 minutes apart. It also was extremely cold this week with wind chill temperatures hitting below zero, so my morning routine heading to watch has been walk down to the mess deck, get some hot water for my tea, and head back to the lab through the interior of the ship. After I get bundled up in my foulies, I head outside in the darkness to stare at the sky in hopes to see the Aurora, or the ice illuminated around the ship until the start of my watch at 6 am. Yesterday was warm, in the mid twenties, similar was predicted for today, and something just made me want to go “walk to work outside”. So happy that I did, because as soon as my feet hit the deck, I looked up to see the dancing green stream across the sky! Some call it luck, some call it fate, either way I was so excited!
We are also up to 8 polar bear sightings! We still haven’t seen any walrus’ or whales, hopefully soon now that we are near the ice edge.

Posted 129 weeks ago

Week 2: Shoot for the STARcS

Breezy Grenier on the USCGC Healy: Allure of the Arctic! Its almost been a week since we entered the Realm of the Blue Nose, and things are surely turning blue! Working on a boat is one thing, working on a boat in the Arctic is a whole different story. A good majority of our work is to keep equipment from freezing.

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Living aboard a ship is nothing new to me, being a Coast Guard Veteran, having steamed around the Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Arc with the Geological Society of America, sailed around New Zealand, with SEA Semester’s Global Ocean Program, I even have served as expedition staff aboard a Russian Nuclear Ice Breaker to the Geographic North Pole.  As a licensed captain, having worked on charters, boat deliveries, and even fishing, diving, and service support vessels, I have put on many miles at sea (almost four years documented sea time last time I checked). I have spent time out on the Okeanos Explorer as a mapping watch stander with the Explorer-in-Training program out in the Western Pacific before, but the experience of living and working aboard a research vessel always feels new to me. Having a “9-5 schedule” let alone while at sea, is completely the opposite of what I am use to. From working several seasonal jobs and employment contracts, my land schedule is always changing day to day. While at sea, I am use to rotating watch schedules, on top of a daily work schedule. Serving as a captain of vessel you are always on call, but here I worked every day from 0600 to1800 (6am to 6pm) ships time. Meals are always served at the same time. The daily duties change, but the repetition does not. The closest thing to standard routine I am use to is when my animals (puppy, dog, cat, and parrot) wake me up each morning. It’s a nice change of pace (aside from missing my fur balls). When your schedule is predictable, you can get a lot more accomplished when you are smart with your time, so I am quickly knocking out tasks (such as updating SOPs and work manuals) and working on new projects to keep busy.
If you haven’t been following, I am serving my internship with STARC (Ship-based Technical Support in the Arctic) as a Tech Watch stander, and WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) is our science team aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a polar icebreaker. The primary focus of our work is moorings and CTD casts. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature, and depth (pressure) of seawater. To paint a picture, we are around 72° North, in the Arctic Ocean. Our current area is off Prudhoe Bay, North Slope in Alaska, in November. So ice is forming all around us, day is turning to night, and temperatures are dropping. Right now we have about 5 hours of daylight. Sun rises at lunch and sets at dinner. We are limited to recovering and deploying moorings during daylight hours (obvious safety reasons), so that does put some restrictions on our CTD cast transects (we have to sometimes break away to go recover a mooring).

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The portable heater in our CTD compartment is broken, and so is the back up. The space is still heated, but pulling equipment out from the water, even just a minute, below freezing temperatures with wet equipment, is not good. We have been getting around the lack of heat by flushing the pumps with room temperature salt water, then slowly adding warmer saltwater, to bring them up from below freezing every time the CTD cast comes back aboard, so it is ready for redeployment. We also use a heat gun (much like a hair dryer) on some of the equipment parts to unfreeze them, being extremely careful, not to damage any of the sensors. Our saltwater flow system on the ship was even getting clogged with ice chunks. We’ve been busy.

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Photo Credit: Brandon D'Andrea
Still nothing is better than stepping outside, in the clean, crisp, Arctic Air and watching jaw-dropping icescapes. We have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox out on the ice, ring seals sunning, and even a polar bear mother with her two [one year old] cubs, not to mention seabirds. We also got a glimpse of the Aurora, peeking between the clouds one night. We are entering a high-pressure system, and with a waning moon, it will give us more optimal conditions for viewing, fingers crossed! The sunset on Halloween blessed us with a sight of perihelia sun arcs! Also known as sundogs and ice halos. Think of a rainbow, but the arcs are reversed. When you see sundogs, it’s a sailor’s weather prediction that snow is coming, and lo and behold, it started to snow an hour later.
We are continuing to push east, as far as the ice allows us. Stay warm!

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Posted 130 weeks ago

Week 1: Up up up and Underway

Breezy Grenier on the USCGC Healy: Departing for the High ArcticAfter 23 hours of travel time turns into 32 hours and finally arriving in Dutch Harbor, the internship begins! The next day the science party arrived, and we are finally underway heading towards the waters around Point Barrow.


The flights to Dutch Harbor are always a hit or miss, but with 4 legs of flights, the flight to Dutch was the only flight NOT delayed. The previously flight delays, just happened to cause me to miss that flight, luckily there was a flight later in the day. It feels good to be back in Alaska. I cannot believe how much has changed over the past 12 years.


It is funny, after previously serving in the Coast Guard, you forget how small of a world it really is. Upon arriving I immediately ran into the Commanding Officer of the Healy, whom happened to be my previous CO when I served on the USCGC Hickory as a non-rate. I also ran into my old roommate from TranCen Petaluma and another whom was my A-School instructor. It’s a large ship, with about 120 souls on board, so I can only imagine whom else I might run into.
After a good nights sleep, I hopped right in, learning the ship and where everything was, and what my duties and responsibilities would be. I am working with STARC (Shipbased Technical Support in the Arctic) as a Tech Watch stander, and WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) is our science team aboard the Coast Guard Polar Ice Breaker Healy. We will be doing mooring work on the continental shelf of the Alaska Beaufort Sea, along with CTD work spanning the Chukchi and Canadian Beaufort Sea.
Immediately getting to work I got to fabricate a bracket to hold an instrument, the scientist wanted to add to the CTD. Loving puzzles, I got quickly figured out how we would attach the instrument close enough to their other sensor, but far enough to not cause interference.  


Photo Credit: Matt Hirsch
The other issue was creating a structure strong enough where it would not cause vibrations. A saw, dremel, and some scrap metal did the job! We are deploying two test casts later today, fingers crossed the fabrication works out.

Once getting underway we booted up all the systems that would be running over the course of our voyage such as the multibeam, knudsen echosounder, EM122, ADCP, Hypack, QINSy, seawater flow through, pCO2, along with calibrating the instruments. Setting up, double, and triple checking the data flow, serial servers, and syncing the systems to ensure all the data is collected and it is being filed in an organized manor.
Upon departing we had a good test to make sure all of our gear was secured for sea, heading straight into 6-8m seas. It looks like there is a high-pressure system on the horizon, so it’s forecasted to have smooth sailing as we go through the Bering Straight this weekend.

Posted 131 weeks ago

Preparing for an High Arctic Expedition

Breezy Grenier aboard the USCGC Healy: 10 days before departing to meet up with the ship in Dutch Harbor, AK.

10 days before I depart up to Alaska to meet the USCGC Healy!

It is funny talking about Alaska to people in general conversation. I use to be stationed there with the US Coast Guard aboard the USCGC Hickory in Homer for a year, back in 2006-2007. When I lived there, I would always get the craziest questions like “Do you live in an igloo?” “Do you have a pet penguin?” and even “Do people ride moose to work?”  So when I mention that I am meeting the ship in Dutch Harbor, everyone always tells "stories” of what they “know” (mostly from the Deadliest Catch), not realizing that I have actually been there before. I am more than ecstatic to go back. This will be my 4th time heading above the Arctic Circle, while participating on this cruise, but I have never been there this late in the season, so I am excited to see the differences from 12 years ago, and compare to my recent time in the High Arctic in Canada, Greenland, and Russia.

With the day light hours dwindling, temperatures dropping, and the Northern Lights beginning their dance high above, I am looking forward to working with the STARC program. Polar and deep-sea exploration has always been my passion, since there is so much we can learn from our oceans, a database can be created of information needed to better understand global change, filling gaps in the unknown to convey reliable and honest science that is foundational to providing prescience about the future. From rapidly receding glaciers and ice caps, to plastics being found everywhere, to oceans chemistry changing, there is a lot we need to still learn, to better help us prepare for the future.

With participation with the internship, I am also fortunate it enough to attend the RVTECH and INMARTECH conferences next week in Woods Hole. Luckily it is a short 45-minute drive from my residence! Looking forward to meeting everyone. I am so grateful for the opportunities this internship has already provided for continuing my education, training, and support, and I haven’t even left yet!

Time to start packing!

Posted 133 weeks ago

It's all in the Name

This past September I got married to my best friend… But let me take a few steps back…
My full name is Briana Eve'lyn Lucia Grenier, that’s pronounced Br-eye-on-a EVE-lyn Lou-sea-a Gr-N-yay
but my entire life everyone has pronounced my name wrong. Luckily my parents also at the time of birth gave me the nickname Breezy, which suits me much better, and yes it is on my birth certificate. So kind of like Cher, my whole life (including my time in the military) I went by Breezy, so the idea of a last name really was nothing more than something I wrote formally on paper, or something announced in a waiting room when it was my turn for an appointment, which again would never be pronounced correctly.

So after I got married, I was excited to maybe have a new last name, because I might actually “have a last name” (I knew that wouldn’t be the case with a name like Breezy, you never know), but then I went to go change it… See not all women are like me. Changing your last name is suppose to be “free”, yes with Social Security, “free” if not a few of dollars for changing it on your license, and if you had a new passport again “free”… but that is not the case for me.
Along with my driver’s license ($72) and passport (because I had it over well more than a year $110), I also have several certifications and licensing (ex. captains license, TWIC, GE, etc.), in which changing your name is not “free”… So if you total it up, to change my last name, it will cost almost a thousand dollars… to be precise $892 plus if I needed anything expedited (which I would, because I am always traveling outside the country last minute) would cost extra.
So back to the story, people are extremely upset that I haven’t changed my last name yet. My husband and I both agreed that spending $1,000 right now would be a waste of money, when a good majority of my licensing is due up for renewal in 2023, I would wait a few years to change everything then. Again we both agreed.
If it is something informal (Christmas cards and thank you letters) of course I write my new last name, Mollicone, but everything official (such as paperwork, newspaper and TV interviews) I use my legal last name (some have published my last name with a hyphen, but I personally don’t like that… Grenier-Mollicone… doesn’t have a pleasant ring to it, and much to long). On Facebook I changed my last name before looking into the cost of legally changing it, so I am going by my future last name, and it is actually funny how much trouble that has been causing. From people not being able to search of me, to having checks written out to the wrong name, and my previous experience not being “Google search linked”, to being accused of misleading people, I have been astonished with the outcome.
So this is what I have to say: “It is my last name, which I never go by anyways, and if you are that offended that I haven’t changed my last name yet, I will gladly accept one thousand dollars from you for me to change my last name, so you can sleep better at night.” Please make the check out to BREEZY GRENIER

Posted 151 weeks ago