Let’s have a look into the difficulties of operating high-tech equipment in the Arctic environment. But I don’t mean airplanes; I want to talk about flying a remotely operated vehicle, an ROV for short, in the water column beneath 1.5 m thick of landfast ice.
Since we deployed our two gliders, “Qala1” and “Qala2”, we are learning a lot “on the job”, i.e. we are building a strong experience by making minor beginner’s mistakes. We need to deal with a lot of files, and just a small tiny comma forgotten here or there is ending up in a mission’s abort! But the glider’s software is also very well written and is rather foolproof. Coupled with strong hotline from glider’s provider (Teledyne Webb Research) and our friends at LOCEAN, Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) and their glider group, we feel more and more confident with our flights.
The Amundsen, giant of the seas…
Spending three weeks onboard the CCGS Amundsen in Baffin Bay is a unique experience… The icebreaker’s mission since 2003 is to provide the logistics for scientific campaigns and allow access to the inhospitable waters of the Arctic Ocean. The ship uses its weight (8171 tons ) and thrust to crush the sea ice. It is powered by six diesel engines totaling 15,000 horse power to progress in thick icepacks often exceeding 1 meter. It feels like being constantly in a magnitude 2 earthquake. Many times on this trip I pondered: How can men build such amazing vessels? The design, operation, and navigation are fascinating.