90 Degrees North

Greetings from the North Pole! Wahoo, we made it! At 0747 this morning we arrived at the North Pole! This is the first time a US ship has gone to the pole unaccompanied by another cutter. There is a buzz about the ship, a sense of accomplishment. After being at sea for almost a month, we’re all relieved to reach our most iconic station. Currently we’re sampling, but once the station is finished, we have some fun things planned. The Coast Guard has a party planned in the helicopter hanger with Christmas movies, hot chocolate, snowflake cutting and Santa. I’m looking forward to the festivities. In the meantime, Elf is currently playing on the TV in the science lounge, I have a Christmas playlist for today’s lab work, and this morning I passed out candy canes I saved for the occasion. The candy canes brought a lot of cheer to everyone, and I wish I’d brought more.

Life aboard the ship has been pretty crazy otherwise. We finished our super-station, which was hectic. My instrument was acting up again, so I didn’t sleep very much during the station. The GEOTRACES wire broke as the last cast was lowered onto the deck, dropping the carousel onto the deck. Luckily, no one was hurt, there was little to no rosette damage, and the GEOTRACES crew was able to repair the wire during transit.

After the super-station, we spent a lot of time looking for an ice floe large enough for an ice station. Unfortunately the ice has been too thin at our previous stations, preventing us from sampling ice. The lack of ice has frustrated the ice team because they have been at sea for almost four weeks without collecting a single sample. Due to my sleep deprivation, I fell asleep watching 30 Rock with some friends. I went to bed, and when I woke up the following morning I missed the first ice station. Shucks! One of my roommates was going to wake me, but she thought I needed sleep and let me rest. I’m bummed I missed it, but hopefully there will be another that I can report about later.

A few days ago, we passed two Canadian Coast Guard ships. The Louis St. Laurent and the Terry Fox headed southward, passing the north-bound Healy. Most ships sail into the ice cap accompanied by another boat, which prevents getting stuck in the ice. As I mentioned above, it’s unique that the Healy is up here without another ship, making today more momentous.​

4 thoughts on “90 Degrees North

  1. Alison — this is so cool! (ha…) Congrats on reaching the pole, and for the whole experience, both challenges and successes. Hope the rest of the trip goes well for you and give my best to Santa (I need all the help I can get…). Can’t wait to see you when you get back and hear about it first-hand! Keep posting please…

    Uncle Dupey


  2. Hi Alison,
    The North Pole – very cool! (pun intended) A few questions: Do you ever get to go out on the ice? Is there any visible wildlife at the pole? How thick is the ice at the pole that you are breaking through? Have you seen any Russian or Chinese ships? I understand that both countries are much more active in the Arctic than we are. We are getting ready to enjoy the rest of a warm and sunny Labor Day weekend here, you and your cool adventure will be in our thoughts.

    Uncle Dave


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s