Here is a shot from LTJG Tasha Thomas (HEALY’s Public Affairs Officer) in one of her regular updates to family and friends about life aboard the icebreaker HEALY. This shot was taken during the Bering Sea Ecosystem Expedition – an expedition from April 4–May 11, 2009, where a team of scientists from the Polar Discovery team will be aboard the Healy in the Bering Sea and will focus on learning about sea ice, and how climate change will affect it.
According to the Polar Discovery website:
Going on the ice is pretty special. Even on the icebreaker Healy, only people with a work-related reason are allowed to leave the ship when we stop at an ice station. That means the only people who usually go on the ice are the polar bear watch, the rescue swimmer, the writer and the photographer (us), and up to a dozen or so scientists.
But every now and then, on a particularly nice day, with particularly thick ice, something special happens: Ice liberty.
So what do you do when they let you on the ice? Play kickball. The first balls to emerge were soccer balls, but a relatively small area had been marked safe for ice liberty, and we didn’t want a ball that would go far. Instead: the big green exercise ball from the gym. It still kept blowing out of bounds, where the rescue swimmer or polar bear watch had to retrieve it.
You can learn more about the Bering Sea Ecostem Expeditions and check out more photos from the Bering Sea HERE.