9 September, 1997
The captain has decided if we continue on our current course, we will not be able to make our way through the ice ahead. We've come about 400 miles west and are within 400 miles of the mooring site at our next planned destination. The new plan is to backtrack to our starting point, go south around Victoria Island, and try to reach the station by approaching from a lower latitude. Although this detour will add an additional 800 miles to our transit, we haven't been allotted more time to complete the proposed science objectives. The captain has conceded to operating around the clock, something we haven't been doing up to this point. Even though the ship is equipped with radar that will detect ice, traveling in the dark is a challenge.
The radar doesn't show the ice thickness, ice observers are constantly using their experience and judgment to direct the ship's course. Their job becomes much more difficult in the dark because they can't read tell tail signs in the ice. Their concern isn't for the hull of the ship but that a block of ice could damage the propeller. There aren't any tow trucks up here to help out, so caution and safety are always the first priority.
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