Moments ago we crossed latitudinal line 66 °N officially exiting the Arctic. We intended to sample two more stations in the Bering Strait but all further science operations have been canceled due to rough seas. We will reach the Diomede Islands sometime this afternoon and enter port in Dutch Harbor on the morning of October 12. For now we are packing up labs, organizing samples, and enjoying our last few days at sea.
Earlier this week, two government officials arrived via helicopter from Barrow, Alaska to observe the Healy’s underway operations through to Dutch Harbor. Wearing flight helmets with ear and eye protection we were able to stand on deck to watch the craft land and practice lowering a man basket before returning to land. The following morning the helicopter was back for a medevac flight, transporting an ill crew member back to land for emergency medical attention. Medical emergencies on a ship can be dangerous, there are two medical officers on board the Healy but their resources are limited at-sea. The Polarstern (German GEOTRACES) also experienced a medical emergency in the Arctic forcing the ship to change course and head for land, both patients we have heard, are doing well.