>February 5th, 2010
Last night, the weather and the seas have finally increased in the Bering Sea. We've been blessed with beautiful weather for most of the past week. During my daytime watches, I've seen the beautiful scenery of the Aleutian chain, specifically the mountains and volcanoes. During my night watches we've been able to look at stars, find constellations, and witness wonderful sunsets. In fact, our most recent visit to Dutch Harbor had perfectly calm seas and no wind! This is hardly what I expected to see in the Bering during February. But it looks like Mother Nature has little intention to keep things tranquil. Right now, this 378' ship seems to be getting beat around more like a bath toy.
We've been rolling pretty hard all day, and it shows as table settings have been trying to make their way to the deck and my piles of paperwork look more like I've lined my stateroom to match the bottom of a birdcage. But that is part of the fun (and frustration) of being out here. Today we even had our first encounter with icing, as the forecastle had patches of ice up to 2" thick by dawn. Luckily we have a hard working group of deckies that keep the ship free from ice as they work outside in these snow squalls, 30+ knot winds, and below freezing temperatures. The weather should get better soon, so we'll be back to work as we conduct safety boardings, helicopter operations, small boat training, and continue to be a search and rescue asset in the Bering Sea.

LTJG Jim Cepa