Today we awoke with a message from our Sea Ice Training staff notifying us that there will be an outdoor component to the course and we are to pack and wear our extreme cold weather (ECW) gear. In order to know what items from my ECW gear to pack I did a quick check of the weather: -40°F with 20 knot winds…so…EVERYTHING. I wore every layer that they gave us and although I looked like the marshmallow man I felt great out on the ice. They cancelled the outdoor portion of the class for the rest of group, but Andrew and I went out with the instructor after the classroom portion to profile a safe route to the site of our next ice hole. A BIG thank you to Jennifer Erxleben and the Field Safety Training Program’s crew for allowing us to get on the ice and survey our next dive site so we can get our samples as soon as possible.
Before we headed out to the ice Andrew and I climbed to the top of the radar platform above Crary to have a better look at the area where we planned to explore today. The morning light made the surround areas look amazing. We used some of the techniques from this morning’s class to assess sea ice conditions and travel safely on the sea ice to the GPS coordinates for where we wanted our next ice hole to be. We used the longest handheld drill and drill bit I’d ever seen to profile the cracks in the ice around our next dive site. After a series of measurements we determined the location was safe and the ice was nice and think, 1.5 meters, along all the sea ice cracks near our site. We’re scheduled to drill the dive hole tomorrow morning with the help of the drill team and dive our new site in the afternoon.