Hi Anne Marie, My 5th and 7th grade students thoroughly enjoyed your live event yesterday, and were very pleased to have their questions answered. I know you have lots more to share, and a lot of work to do when you return home. Enjoy the remaining days on "the Ice". I hope you have time to spend in McMurdo. I was telling my students about what the experience of "ice breaking" in the sound was like for me. Can you share your experience? Safe travels home! Lollie & Redd School students

Anne Marie Wotkyns

Hi Lolly and Students,Thanks for joining the webinar - Blake and I enjoyed answering your questions. The ship's plans are changing every few hours. Currently, it looks like sometime tomorrow I will be leaving the Oden, staying 1 or 2 nights in the dorms at McMurdo, then spending 2 nights in Christchurch before heading home. The original plans were that everyone would have been off the Oden and flying to Christchurch on the 14th, then changed to the 15th, now the 17th. The key word is flexibility!
The icebreaking process is amazing! We have been breaking into the Sound since Tuesday evening - it is now Saturday night and we have broken about 17 miles total ( about 4 miles per day!!) The ice is very thick and the wind is not blowing the broken ice out toward the open sea, and we had 2 days of snow which acted to "glue" or cement the broken ice together.And the NB Palmer is somewhere behind us and we think we will have to go back to the open water and escort them in because the channel is still so full of ice!
When the ship hits the intact, unbroken ice sheet, it raises up sharply and tilts to the left or the right, sort of like being on a teeter totter,a balance board, or a bucking bronco. It sounds like rocks or boulders smashing into each other, and the ship rattles and shakes loudly.
The ship then slowly grinds to a halt, and everything is quiet for a second. Then she goes into reverse, backing up through the broken ice. She shakes and shutters violently. It feels like the ship will shake completely apart.This lasts for several minutes. Then she slows again, stops and all is quiet for a bit.Then the officer at the helm puts her back into forward and it is a relatively smooth and quiet ride for about a minute as she accelerates, picking up speed to ram the unbroken ice edge. When the ship reaches that ice, the teeter-totter/bucking bronco ride is rough enough that you need to brace your legs, or hold on for a minute. And this forwards and backwards pattern continues all day and all night! (I sleep with ear plugs!!)
When I get back home where I have internet access, I will post some ice breaking videos with my journals! Keep checking back! And look for your flag too!

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