Captain's Log: Heaving anchor and on alert for polar bearsSeptember 4, 2012 4:07 PM
(Bill Noon, a 31-year veteran of the Canadian Coast Guard, is a captain on the icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier as it completes its 2012 Arctic mission and offers a two-week support stint to the Parks Canada-led search for the missing ships of explorer Sir John Franklin.)
Day 12 Sept. 3, 2012, 0805h
I knew as soon as I woke up that we would not get any boat work accomplished today.
At the moment, winds are at 25 knots and expected to climb to 30 knots over the next several hours before settling down by mid-afternoon.
With the growing swells, we'll scrub the morning's launches of the Gannet and Kinglett, and keep the AUV boat on the Laurier until conditions improve.
The Martin Bergmann has also laid anchor for the morning and is safely tucked away in a protected spot.
That leaves the helicopter operations, which can go on as planned for now.
Since they're grounded, the University of Victoria team will spend much of its day working closely with the Canadian Hydrographic Service team to format the AUV data into a usable form for nautical charting.
Rather than staying put, we think we'll take the opportunity to sail northwards to Cape Felix to complete some maintenance checks on one of our coast guard navigation beacons.
Sailing to Cape Felix will actually dovetail with several goals. As a known camp used by Franklin's men, it is an important archeological site.
As well, that shoreline hasn't been filmed yet. So we heave anchor. We'll be there by 1430h, giving archeologists Doug and Robert several hours to explore as well as some flight time to coastal surveyors Ann-Marie and Melanie to video the northern tip of King William Island.
En route, we can stop briefly at Admiralty Island so that the hydrographers can collect information on the high tide. All told, time well spent.
The transit time to Cape Felix will be about five hours and moving always makes the crew happier. It's the fourth week on ship for many of them, and mariners dislike sitting still.
Day 12 Sept. 3, 2012, 1812h
Cape Felix has bears.
In fact, shortly after dropping off archeologists Doug and Robert, along with a coast guard member and a Parks Canada archeologist assigned to bear watch, our helicopter pilot started seeing them in the area.
At last count, there were three polar bears, but a good distance away from our people ashore.
That said, the shore team remained extra alert during their stay.
Now that everyone is back on board, we are going to turn head back south to our survey area.