20 June, 1998



We reached our 100-meter station and once again a busy day ensued. It was a beautiful blue-sky day and we were able to get a good solid parking place for the ship. As we are near the edge of Barrow Canyon the current is much stronger and parking is becoming much more difficult. The Canyon is thought to be a major inlet into the Canadian Basin for the waters of the coastal shelf of Alaska. As a result the currents we are experiencing are able to move the ship at almost a knot while we are stopped dead in the ice. Itís kind of wild because by looking around you can sense movement and it is easy to see that things are moving but it is almost impossible to tell just what is moving. The ice is swirling and moving back and forth, the ice closes in and clears from the casting deck, and the ship appears to move relative to the horizon but since the horizon is all ice, it is probably moving too.

However we did get a good parking place, ran the bow right up on some solid ice and the ship remained fairly still relative to the floe we parked upon. We used a landing craft to get us and our gear onto the floe and got busy with our stake line and taking cores. This was a very clean floe and there was no sediment whatsoever to be found.

We were out for 5 hours so the ship sent lunch down by way of a box lowered from the bow to the ice. Cheeseburgers and hot wings on the ice and in the sun, what a day!!!! The distance from the casting deck to the ice edge was about 150 meters and full of small floes and brash ice so the ROV had a difficult time getting from the ship to the ice. Once we had the ROV at the edge things went well and we had a good station in terms of ROV location relative to stake placement.

When the time came to get back aboard the landing craft had to make like a small version of her mother ship by pushing and shoving small floes aside so we could get through.

The Captain granted ice liberty to the crew today but a polar bear showed up about ten minutes after a fair number of the crew got onto the ice. The shipboard watch spotted the visitor when it was about 1000 yards off so the crew had plenty of time to get back aboard and the panic level was very low. As it turned out there were several seals basking in the sun nearby and it appears that is where the bear was headed. Anyhow, the shipís whistle blew, the crew got back aboard, and the bear never got close enough to get a good picture. Liberty was canceled and the ship moved on. It had been a good stop and a beautiful day for work on the ice. As the ship commenced to crunching and bashing through the ice a bit of fog started to close in.


Bob Whritner lives in June Lake, CA near Mammoth Mt. He works for the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego and is looking to soon retire to his mountain retreat with his wife, Mary Joe. Bob is the ice imaging specialist aboard Polar Sea and his skills are put to work in interpreting satellite generated maps of the Arctic Ocean. Bob turns microwave data into very accurate images of the ice covering the arctic area. He is able to determine the approximate percent coverage of any given parcel, which helps the ship make better decisions about which way to go. He has been involved with weather forecasting and remote sensing for over 30 years. Bob is a home brewing enthusiast and his new home was plumbed for transporting the fruits of his labor from vat to tap. He and his wife enjoy the outdoors and when not on research excursions he can be found skiing and hiking in the mountains near his home.

Lance Horn is the ROV guy and this is his first trip to the arctic. He works for the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington where he is the operations manager and ROV pilot. While on AWS 98 he is serving as support for NURC at Fairbanks, AK. He graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a degree in Underwater Technology and was a hard hat research diver before becoming the ROV pilot. He is married to Lisa and they have a couple of dogs, Molly and Trouble, that they enjoy taking out with them for picnics and time on the beach. Lance was bitten by the sea going bug while serving in the Navy and when not working in the maritime industry, enjoys diving as a leisure activity.

Hugh Hammer is one of the ìdruggiesî on the cruise and his field is Chemical Ecology. Hugh is checking out the bottom dwellers, especially tunicates and sponges, for secondary metabolites that the critters use for defense. The application of how these chemicals might be used by pharmaceutical and maritime industries is where the interests of the druggies lie. Hugh is finishing up his mastersí work with Dr. Steven Watts at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and plans to go on for a Ph.D. in this field. When not dragging critter off the ocean floor Hugh enjoys scuba diving, rock climbing, and playing the piano.

Dr. Lisa Clough is the Chief Scientist aboard Polar Sea and is unarguably THE MUD QUEEN of AWS 98. I first met Lisa on AWS 96, slinging mud and sieving cores for worms and any other bottom dweller that happened to have been brought up in the box core. We had several late night/early morning conversations over the sieving table about carbon, mud, and the pursuit of happiness. Whenever Lisa is out to sea, in the ice, and shoulder deep in mud, she is a person in hot pursuit of all that is good!

Lisa is a teacher and researcher at East Carolina University at Greenville, North Carolina. She has been at ECU for five years and teaches classes in intro biology, marine ecology, and environmental biology. Her research on AWS 98 centers around how the ice algae ìjump startsî the benthic critters and provides an early season food source for dwellers of the mud and bottom. Once again the element Carbon is very central to her inquiries and the metabolic efficiency of the benthic inhabitants is of parcticular interest to her. Laura Beer, a mud queen in the making, is Lisaís graduate student and involved with all of Lisaís work on the ship.

Lisa is married and her husband, Steve runs a boys and girls club in Beaufort, NC. They have a dog, Carson, and also have a couple aquariums of Cichlids, a type of fish with very interesting mechanisms of rearing and protecting their young. Lisa enjoys gardening, cooking, and watching her favorite minor league ball team, the Kinston Indians.

As Chief Scientist Lisa is busy beyond description and the sun truly never sets on her workday. She is involved with most aspects of the shipís operations that involve the science team which is just about everything. Choosing station locations, parking the ship, flight operations, weather briefs, which science team members are involved in whichever operation is taking place, and letting both the coasties and beakers know when somebody screwed up are all within her job description. The responsibility is huge yet Lisa handles it all with a lot of laughter and ear to ear grin. She is an amazing woman and her energy is contagious!

David Allen is from Massachusetts but will soon be moving to Seattle to do his graduate work in Benthic Microbiology with Dr. Jody Demming of the University of Washington. His specific project involves determining the total number of micro-critters present in bottom samples and what percent of that total are actively respiring. He then will match those numbers with the relative amounts of ice algae present at each site and determine what if any correlation there is between respiring bacteria and ice algae. His work goes hand in hand with the work that Lisa, Will, Pete, Laura, and Melissa are doing. David has traveled a bit and done oceanographic work in the San Juan Islands and Jamaica. His playtime pleasures include scuba-diving, rafting, hiking, skiing, and listening to music of all kinds.

Melissa Grable is a senior at Bates College where she is studying marine science with Will. She is working with the bottom people and her task is to sieve the mud cores in order to determine exactly who is home. This information is being used to help determine respiration rates of the critters that are utilizing ice algae as an energy source. She enjoys all water sports including swimming and sailing. She likes animals and has a dog, Woogie, a hamster, Matilda, and two goldfish, Sushi and Sashimi.

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