Up at 3 a.m. – seems the usual wake time my first night in Europe. I’m sort of relieved we are still going to be at port today. September 4 was originally our departure date, but it’s been postponed until tomorrow. Part of the reason for the delay is that the helicopter has not yet arrived. Another reason is the weather. Waves larger than 4 feet mean this small ship will be tossed around quite violently. The crew keeps mentioning how sea sick most people get on the Arctic Sunrise. At the briefing today more mention was made of sea sickness – now I’m starting to get worried. I brought along the patches, I hope they work!
Today it’s been raining on and off all day. I spent part of the day setting up the radiometer for measuring sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and making sure everything was working. So far so good! Haven’t installed it yet on the rail of the ship since the conditions during our passage will mean the instrument will be wet the entire time. I’ve been told it will take about three days to get to the ice edge. I hope at some point conditions will be better so that I can collect some SSTs.
One thing I will be doing before we are able to get physically onto the ice is making two hourly Ice Watch observations from the ship’s deck using Ice Watch software from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. This will involve recording the ice concentration and type of ice types encountered. First-year ice will be determined from multiyear ice primarily on the basis of topography. I will also try to estimate the fractional areas of melt ponds (mostly frozen melt ponds), sediment-laden ice and biologically rich ice. In addition to the ice observations, photographs and video taken from the ship will help to further characterize the ice conditions. After all the talk about sea sickness I’m not too psyched for the journey out to the ice, but really looking forward to getting to see it!