Coast Guard Cutter Healy: Mission update Aug. 11, 2013

The Coast Guard Cutter Healy is a 420-foot medium endurance icebreaker based in Seattle, with a crew of about 85 and up to 35 scientists aboard. We now join the Healy’s Arctic Summer West 2013 deployment already in progress.
Republished with permission from Ensign Rebecca Follmer, a member of the ship’s operations department and public affairs officer aboard Healy.

Hello friends and family!


Bongo net recovery

Science party members recovering samples from the bongo net. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer John Cleverdon.

I can’t believe another week has already gone by! Time flew this week as we jumped from science station to science station in the ice and fog, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let me provide a re-cap for all of you.

Last week we had just set our first few science stations. This past week, we conducted 24 hour science operations. Final count this week of science stations, both full stations and mini stations, was 46. Yes, 46 science stations in one week! The crew and embarked science party have been doing a fantastic job!

Ice sample team

Scientists recovering ice samples in one of Healy’s small boats. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Bob Selby.

One of the science stations this week was unique in that we launched two small boats. One boat carried a group of scientists to collect ice samples while the other hosted a group of observers. This station consisted of having the Healy break through a very thick ice floe. After a few back and rams with the ship, the boats were deployed to collect pieces of the broken ice. The goal was to recover samples of ice with algae growth on its bottom. The second boat followed behind the first, taking pictures and documenting the project. At the end of the day, there was a group of cold and wet, but very happy, scientists.

Arctic fog

The fog that took a liking to us. U.S. Coast Guard photo Ensign Rebecca Follmer.

I know it’s a little cliché to talk about the weather, but the fog is worth mentioning. We experienced almost constant fog the whole week. It made driving through the ice more interesting.The Officers of the Deck had to rely more heavily on radar to maneuver because they couldn’t see the ice ahead. There were only a few hours this week when the crew wasn’t lulled to sleep by the sounding of the ship’s fog horn every two minutes. A true sailor’s lullaby…

Chief's breakfast

The chiefs serve an amazing breakfast for dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo Ensign Rebecca Follmer.

After a long week, the crew enjoyed a morale meal prepared by the Chief’s Mess. The meal this Saturday was breakfast for dinner, but it was no average breakfast. My personal favorite were the cinnamon bun pancakes. Also on the menu was quiche, ham, sausage, eggs to order, and tater-tot casserole surprise. There were also donuts, lots and lots of delicious hand made donuts. It was a wonderful end to the week!

That pretty much covers this past week. Sneak peeks into next week include the conclusion of the first mission, flight operations off of Barrow, Alaska, to change out science parties, and the beginning of the second mission. Thank you for following along! To read past updates please see our webpage.

Very respectfully,

Ensign Rebecca Follmer
Public Affairs Officer
USCGC Healy (WAGB-20)

Ex Artica Sientia
“From the Arctic, Knowledge”

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