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The James Clark Ross is now on the outer limits of the normal communications satellite.  I may,  from time to time,  be able to update this page with the Daily Position Report,  below.  There will be no menu or photographs until the ship is back inside the satellite footprint.  I also hope that the ship's track will continue to work.

The update for Tuesday made reference to the poor visibility and the likelihood of spotting any polar bears as being slim.  It is amazing how things can change in a very short space of time and just after 20:00  on Tuesday the fog lifted,  the sky turned blue,  the sun shone and three polar bears suddenly appeared near to the ship. This caused great excitement and soon the Forecastle,  Bridge and Monkey Island were full of people with cameras snapping shots.  Sadly due to the issues with our comms it is not possible to post a picture here just now,  but as the ship heads for  south in a week or so I will try to upload.  For those on Twitter have a look at the @BAS_News feed for a picture from last night.

With little wind the sea was flat calm and the sky was clearing as the JCR headed into the pack ice last night.

The pack was very broken and rotten,  with one or two floes being more solid.  This did not present any problems for the ship and progress was steady towards the science station yesterday evening.

The sighting of the bears was on the final few miles to the current science station and it was no great surprise that having left them behind they caught up with us at the end of the day,  although they did keep their distance.  The group consisted of a mother and two cubs,  which I would hazard a guess to be in their second summer as one was almost as large as the mother,  the other slightly smaller.

Polar bears!

The mother and her two cubs,  although I suspect that they are at the advanced stage of being a cub and will soon be branching out on their own.

One of the cubs on the edge of a floe. 

We did also get to see them swimming between floes. The mother making a graceful entry into the water,  one of the cubs just took a good old fashioned jump.

Final bear picture for today.  I have always noticed how much sniffing polar bears do.  In addition they are very close,  touching each other frequently.

Wednesday has been a bit of a drab day,  with the fog once again descending upon us,  although late in the afternoon as I came through to write this update the sun has been trying to break through once again and visibility has perked up a little.  Perhaps it will be a repeat of last night.

Not a common sight I suspect,  seagulls sitting on an ice floe.  The birds seem to have deserted us since we arrived in the ice and have now moved onto the ice to roost in the evening.

The view looking aft this afternoon.  As you can see we have fog,  which is not uncommon here,  but the water is beautifully still and good for reflections.

This morning there was a reported sighting of a walrus,  but I did not manage to spot it and I don't think any photographs were taken.

Pictures taken during our comms blackout will be available once the ship heads south again and will appear in the archived Daily Updates and Daily Images pages.

On the grid front the James Clark Ross is due to move away from this science station  on Thursday afternoon and then steam some 200nm to the north,  which should see us in Grid KR either late on Thursday or early Friday depending on the ice conditions.

The ice conditions have been good,  with broken pack and much of it rotten.  However some of the ice that we worked through last night was at least 2m thick.

Science has continued as in the past few days,  the main difference is that the Deck Officers have had to keep a close eye on all the ice around the ship when equipment is being deployed and recovered.  Whilst the ship remains stationary during the science operations,  all the ice is being moved by the current and it can often give the impression of being stationary and that the ship is moving slowly.  Today has also become a bit cooler and the thermal heating system,  used to keep us all warm,  is now in full operation.

Previous updates from this trip  The archive only goes to 13th July.  Once back in range of comms I will update any days that have interesting data.

Noon Position Report

Latitude: 78 12 N
Longitude: 30 00 E
Bearing: 90 T, 177 Nm from Longyearbyen
Cruise Number: JR16006
Distance Travelled: 70
Total Distance Travelled: 1448
Steam Time: 7.8
Total Steam Time: 160.5
Average Speed: 8.9
Total Average Speed: 9.0
Wind: Direction S, Force 3
Sea State: Calm
Air Temp: 0.3 C Sea Temp: 0.7 C
Pressure: 1006.2 Tendency (3hrs): Steady


Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com