Cruise Day 64

Speed 0 knots (kts) (at port)

Course n/a

Location Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Depth n/a

GO DEEPER DISCUSSION: (see previous journal for the questions.)

Prior to on-board refrigeration and before modern canning techniques, ships carried stores of dried and/or salted foods like dried peas, hard-baked ship’s biscuit, salted meats, etc. to eat once their fresh food supplies ran out. Water was a problem as well, with ships having to carry all they needed until opportunities arose to refill barrels from shore or in a pinch during rain storms (catching as much as they could on sails to funnel the rain.)


We made excellent time across the Bering Sea, with strong tailwinds speeding us along much of the way. We are now tied up in Dutch Harbor, the end point of the cruise. We are about 1/2 day early, mainly due to the cancellation of our last few Bering Strait stations. For the last several days the seas have been too high for our sampling operations, so the decision to just steam for Dutch Harbor was a good one. Shifting items to holds and secure places on deck begins next, and we’ll spend tomorrow finalizing things on board. With the full day at dock instead of just the afternoon the tasks should be more relaxed.

Mermaid Cartoon
A crew member drew an apt cartoon on one of the aft conn windows as we crossed the Bering Sea on our way to Dutch Harbor.

Entrance to Dutch Harbor
The entrance to Dutch Harbor is marked by rugged sea cliffs and the iconic Priest Rock.

Tying Up
A messenger line is tossed to the pier and used to pull over the mooring line to tie up the Healy.

We spent 64 days at sea, with land only visible on four of those days (including our departure and arrival.) Our expedition covered over 5000 nautical miles, and spent about half of that time in varying degrees of ice. Over the course of the cruise we saw three other icebreakers, two other Coast Guard cutters (we passed the USCGC Munro today on our way into Dutch Harbor), and three Coast Guard helicopters (Munro’s helicopter came around us a couple of times this afternoon in salute.) We conducted 66 science stations, collecting untold thousands of individual samples and terabytes of data. Our cruise will yield years of study for the 13 principal investigators and their teams that sailed on the 2015 US Arctic GEOTRACES cruise and the rest of the 43 principal investigators associated with this cruise awaiting samples and data at home.

2015 US Arctic GEOTRACES Station Map
2015 US Arctic GEOTRACES Station Map

For my part, I posted a new blog entry every day of the cruise along with entries detailing Seattle operations, with this being the 71st entry. To accompany these posts I published 376 photos, which I also made available to the science team on our shared public drive during the cruise. I also have edited 64 videos of different expedition aspects which will be published to the PolarTREC YouTube channel upon my return home, so stay tuned!! For now I’m going to get back into action packing and helping out where I can but this time there will be a stable deck underfoot! Thanks for following along, and keep asking questions if you have them!

PolarTREC Teacher Bill Schmoker & Aurora
PolarTREC Teacher Bill Schmoker and aurora in the Chukchi Sea. Photo by MK2 Brandon Iams.

Aloft Con web cam updated every hour
Healy Track

That's all for now. Best- Bill

Dutch Harbor
Weather Summary
Cloudy with rain.
42° F
Wind Speed
13 MPH
Wind Chill


Susan Steiner

wow, great job! Just putting up a new blog entry every day is amazing, but accompanied by your amazing photos that is just a stellar achievement! Looking forward to those videos, too.That's an amazing amount of science, too. It will be interesting to see how many publications come from all of that!
thanks for bringing us along!! safe travels!

Sheryl Weiss

Thanks for keeping us posted. It was fun following your blog and being able to live this adventure virtually through your pictures & writings.

Bill Schmoker

Thanks for the kind words and for the support throughout the trip!
Following up your class interest in the North Magnetic Pole etc., I uploaded the video I made showing my attempts to use a compass out on the ice way up north:

Best- Bill