Ice, ice everywhere. After a night of pushing through heavy pack ice, we awoke to a glorious day. The sun was shining, the ice was beautiful (and everywhere), and breakfast was hot and ready.
National Geographic Resolution navigated through Bellot Strait yesterday and was now sailing south through 10/10 ice on our way to Gjoa Haven. We had been hearing about this ice for several days, and the Captain explained that this would be the most challenging part of our journey. If we could make it through this section, then our chances of transiting the Northwest Passage increased dramatically. The ice was formidable, but National Geographic Resolution seemed to be sailing through it with ease.
The ice itself was beautiful. It was thick but had begun its spring melt, and there were melt-water pools everywhere. These shallow pools on top of the ice were a beautiful tropical blue, forming random shapes and sizes. It is always fun to work your way through the ice, but the ice today was stunning indeed.
One trick that the ship had up its sleeve to help with the ice was the use of small drones. Several times during the day, these were launched and flown above and in front of the ship. The images and video we received allowed the Bridge to find leads and softer areas to speed our way through the heavy pack ice. It seemed only fitting that such a high-tech ship would have a high-tech solution to get through tricky situations.
During the morning, our National Geographic photographer, Killi, gave a fascinating talk about the time he spent living and exploring in Qaanaaq, Greenland. He shared what life was like living in a small remote village and gave us a glimpse through the eyes of the wonderful people that became his friends.
In the afternoon, Annie Petaulassie, one of our cultural specialists, gave a historical talk about Inuit culture. It was a wonder to hear her talk about her life growing up in this beautiful and raw land.
Later in the afternoon, as the ship paused in a small bit of open water, Brett and Stephano brought out the ROV and set out in a Zodiac. They found an open pool of water and dropped the ROV into the water, while Colin was in the Ice Lounge explaining all that the ROV was seeing. This was the first time that the ship had beamed the video from the ROV to the ship and then into the Lounge. It was a big hit, and everyone enjoyed exploring the sea bottom through the eyes of the ROV.
After another rousing recap and sumptuous meal, most retired to their cabins to download today’s images and to dream about more adventures to come.