May 9, 2007 The End of the Ice
I had learned from Dr. Michael Cameron, that we were about to pass through the most concentrated seal soup of the entire mission around 9:30 yesterday evening. He said that there were so many seals in that region, that the helo opps (helicopter observations) had to take turns recording their seals. Waiting for one to finish until the other could sight verbally.
So what do YOU see? There are two walrus here.
So I rambled up the three ladders to the bridge, and as I have for so many days this cruise, screwed the binocular eye cradles into my eye sockets and swooped back and forth across the magnified ice vista.
I LOVED to go up to the bridge and observe.
What did I see? Lots and lots of seals! There were spotted seals, and ribbon seals, and even a bearded seal pup or two. The Coast Guard crew assigned to watch those few hours were taking the ‘Seal Avoidance Mission’ seriously, much to my relief.
And then what?
There it was.
The edge of the ice.
It was obvious on the horizon.
It appeared as a thin gray line.
The ice was changing too. Not so much large ice cakes anymore. There were smaller pieces honeycombed with holes and meltpools.
The concentration of small pieces jumbled together became thicker, and thicker.
Until there was no more.
And the ice melted away.