Posted by: usfarctic2011 | October 21, 2011

Journey into the Ice

North shore of Banks Island at Sunset

Arctic Sunset

Looking for seals south of Prince Patrick Island

Map showing location of Prince Patrick Island, just north of Banks Island

Overnight we headed to our next series of sampling stations. We entered the ice in McClure Strait late in the morning, and saw a few Bearded Seals hauled out on ice floes enjoying the 14 degree temperatures. We began our sampling less than a kilometer north of the high cliffs of Banks Island just as the sun was setting (~2:45pm).

Sunday’s transect across McClure Strait was accompanied by the loud crunching of breaking ice, and the temperature dropped to around 5 degrees Fahrenheit. As we approached Prince Patrick Island, heading north, we encountered a solitary polar bear headed south. The bear seemed indifferent to our presence, while the scientists on board scrambled for a good look at the great white nomad. The transect ended slightly south of latitude 76 degrees north. Shadows of people, cast by the sun at noon here, are fifty to sixty feet long and are growing longer as the year progresses. The entire day looks like a sunset or sunrise, and the reflections of the low sun off myriad patterns of sea ice are, to say the least, enchanting.



  1. Hi guys, Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos! I can believe that 14 degrees F. can feel warm after enduring 5 degrees Fahrenheit or colder!
    It reminds me of Erie, PA where because of Lake effect the temps are cold in the winter. We would have a week or 2 when it would be -10 F. or colder, when it went back up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit we would feel like it was getting warmer.

    Try to keep warm, while you are enjoying all the Arctic scenery and the wildlife there.

    Best wishes,

    Dorothy Kaluzny

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