This morning we were very lucky and got hooked up with one of the scientists Kim, who let us go out with another scientist Bryan out on the ice. They got us snowmachines and a guide named Nok and all drove out on the Arctic Ocean to the wonder that is the pressure ridge. I had never been on a snowmachine before so I was excited. It was a cold, cold day and we were all bundled head to toe and did as much as we could to stay warm. I could never imagine the January weather here! As we rode out it suddenly became another world. It felt like we were passing through a forest of trees with hills and mountains all around us. There was so much to see! However, it was all ice and snow that made this beautiful landscape. This was the pressure ridge. Mounds of snow and ice built up from the pressure of ice slamming and pushing into other ice piles.
The lead (the open water between landfast ice and floating ice pieces) was closed still as it has been much of this whaling season. It has prevented the 56 whaling crews in Barrow from getting a whale this year :(. So we didn't get to see open water, but we set up a tent and drilled some holes in the ice to begin fishing. We drilled a big hole for collecting copepods for the toxicology study that we learned about when we first got here. They are testing the effects of oil dispersion on these organisms to see how it would effect the ecosystem. We caught some jellyfish and krill (shrimp) in the plankton net, but did not catch many copepods. I might add that I was the only one who caught a copepod.
When we were out there, we also met up with some whale biologists who were interested in checking for some whale/seal sounds because they had been bored for so long with the lead closed. They dropped a microphone down our whole and let us listen in. We heard some bearded seal which sounded just like sirens in the distance. Weird how it sounds like that! We also got to explore the snow and ice a bit. We did not want to wander too far because we did not want to get eaten and stuff. But it looked really cool. Things looked so small and then when you get close to it you found it was huge! It was nforgettable. -Jenny