Post Written by Ensign Emily Kehrt
After a summer in the Arctic, Healy pulled into our homeport of Seattle October 12 (click here to watch a video). On the way south, we stopped in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to drop off the scientists from our final mission, and Kodiak for a port call. We also pulled into Juneau to pick up friends and family for a Dependents Cruise. Some of our family and friends were able to join us on our transit home from Juneau because once the science parties depart Healy has extra berthing areas which can be use for dependents.
Although the weather wasn’t too great (96 knots of relative wind!), we were able to show our families and friends the beautiful Inside Passage. This is the same route that cruise ships usually take going between Seattle and Alaska. As we pulled into Pier 36 at Coast Guard Sector Seattle, many of the family members who weren’t able to join us for the cruise were waiting on the pier.
When I last posted, we were working with NASA researchers. Since then, we’ve had two more science missions. The second mission of the summer was our third year of collaborating with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent , working together to map the Extended Continental Shelf and the Arctic seafloor. Healy has very good sonar bottom-mapping capabilities – we actually map the seafloor constantly whenever we’re underway. For this mission, however, we mostly broke ice for the Louis S. St-Laurent, who was trailing seismic gear which can map deep into the sediment layers of the seafloor. Our final mission this summer involved deploying subsurface moorings which measure various facets of the water column, such as conductivity, temperature and salinity.
Our summer science missions were very successful, but the crew was really excited to get home to their families and spend some time in Seattle. Buildings and trees are a nice change of scenery from white ice stretching into the horizon. Not to forget that sailing for months at a time crunching through thick, Arctic ice takes its toll on the cutter. Spending the winter in port allows for a long dockside maintenance period, which will give us time to get Healy ready for another Arctic summer next year.
Throughout the Healy’s Arctic West Summer 2010 deployment, Ensign Kehrt, Ensign Holly McNair and Cadet 1/c Courtney Elder have been keeping a blog on the Healy’s website. To read more about the cutter’s adventures over the course of the past five months, click here .