by Matthew Shupe, CIRES/NOAA scientist and co-coordinator of MOSAiC

Our days lately have been strange. Searching around the ice in dense fog. It’s so hard to see anything, and especially some of these small buoys we’ve been hunting. But today was a beautiful day. Bluebird conditions again. And it started out with a great bear. Right off the rear of the ship, no need to chase it off because we are in transit anyway with no work on the ice. Parked temporarily here waiting for more coordinates. The bear came right up to the side of the vessel, sniffing the air. He hopped from little ice chunk to little ice chunk, scoping out the whole ship. Then wandered off, apparently we are not interesting enough to take more than 15 minutes of his attention. 

A polar bear photographed earlier in the expedition. Photo: Esther Horvath/Alfred Wegener Institute

Then our day took us on to the L1 site, and more recovery. Successful again, although this time we did pull up the ice-tethered ocean profiler, all 800m worth of cable! That took many hours and a lot of work, in part because it was still frozen into a small chunk of very thick ice. Here the ocean is not so deep. We are on the Greenlandic shelf at only about 200-250m deep. So clearly there is not enough depth here to support the full length of the cable. When we finally recovered the instrument package at the end of these 800m, it had clearly been dragged through the mud on the seafloor. 

Team Ocean recovers an instrument. Photo: Lianna Nixon/CIRES and CU Boulder

There was another interesting moment today, seeing the remains of our flux sled from L1. Some months ago it had been eaten by a ridge; just totally destroyed. Chris and others had cleaned up the wreckage as best they could, recovering many instruments, some of which were damaged beyond repair. As the ship crept into position today to recover another instrument, I saw a pipe sticking up from a ridge. Then a few more details that looked familiar: a couple of cables, and straps, a grounding wire. Then, with the right angle, I could see down into the water and there, protruding from the bottom of this ridged floe, was the bottom of our sled. Metal pipes sticking out and clearly mangled. This shows the strength of the ice, able to simply crush our 1000 lb sled like a tin can.

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