From 2 July to 10 August, I was on board the USCGCS ice breaker Healy for oceanographic observations in the Chukchi Sea, Arctic Ocean.
This cruise was focusing on the deep sea of the ice-covered area, and the group on-board is comprised of 42 scientific members including physical, chemical, biological oceanographer as well as media team. The chief scientist was Prof. Russell R. Hopcroft of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).
The mother port of Healy is Seattle in Washington, and Healy traveled to Seward in Alaska for this cruise. Seward is located in the south of Anchorage, and is famous for the aquarium “Alaska SeaLife Center” which has also a research institute affiliated with UAF. Seward is also a mother port for glacier (Kenai fjord) sightseeing boats. Healy left Seward on 2 July, entering Bering Sea and passing through Bering Strait, and reached Chukchi Sea in the Arctic Ocean. Nearly one week was required for this transit. In the Chukchi Sea, the first-year ice, which was formed last winter, was covering the sea surface all around. On the ice, various wild animals such as polar bear, ribbon seal and walrus were observed.
Healy has a multipurpose heliport. During this cruise, touchdown training was conducted with a helicopter from Kodiak Island. One of the crew members suffered from a sudden illness and was transported to a hospital in Barrow by helicopter. In the next report, I will write about my study during this cruise.
*This post has been updated on August 31, 2016.
(Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University / A member of theme 6)