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.