Sea Ice Training / by Shaun O'Boyle

Today an all day class on how to safely travel on the sea ice, something we need to know because we are taking the snow mobiles 15 mile across the sea ice on Monday to visit the Cape Evans Hut. It was a great class because it was short on classroom time and long on getting out on the ice and learning about identifying ice cracks, measuring widths, knowing when it is safe to cross cracks, and measuring the thickness of the ice (currently about 6 feet on McMurdo Sound). I was also great because I saw my first seal on the ice, my first iceberg, and a spectacular view of Erebus as a storm cleared the mountain. Our ride out onto the sea ice, a hagglund tracked vehicle. Top speed about 15 mph.

My first sighting of a Wedell Seal

Your's truly getting to put all those years of drill use to a fun end, drilling to check ice thickness, which is almost 6 feet in this area.

Profiling an ice crack, we shoveled off the snow across the crack, then drilled holes every 12 inches to checked ice thickness. If there are seals around it's a good indication that there may be cracks in the area. Good practical info for the next time your ice fishing back home.

Measuring ice thickness

Mt Erebus

A grounded iceberg, this is big, it's hard to get a scale on it, but we estimated that there is about 900 feet of iceberg below the water line.

Weather clear Mt Erebus with little and big Raxorback Islands

Mt Erebus

Riding in the Hagglund with Erebus out the window

Our Sea Ice instructor Thomas driving the Hagglund