Two days ago the ship came across another polar bear. We received pages telling about a bear spotted in the distance. Again, everyone immediately dropped what they were doing and headed outside to watch the bear. We were stopped at a station, so the bear trekked across the ice to get a closer look at the Healy and all of its inhabitants. We watched in amazement as the bear trotted, swam and walked around to observe us. The bear even hunted for food by sticking its head in the water.
Current estimates indicate that it will be 40 hours until our next station, because the thicker ice slows the ship down. We have started backing and ramming the ice, which slows our speed to about 4 knots per hour. Without ice, we typically average about 11-12 knots while steaming, but the slower travel gives us time to catch up on some sleep and work. I’ve even had the pleasure of playing a few games with friends here on the ship, a true luxury when the majority of my time is spent in lab.
We now have 24 hours of sunlight, and will not see the sun set until about September 16th. Also, for all of those interested, we reversed our track, and are going clockwise due to thinner ice on the side nearer to Russia.