A huge ice keel


7 June 2007

A huge ice keel

After all of the ice movement and compression over the winter it was important to dive under Tara to check the condition of the hull and propellers.

Yesterday, Sam and I dropped through the CTD hole into the black void of the Arctic Ocean. With thick ice and snow around the boat and only a few holes used for our scientific work providing an eerie glow, we had to use powerful lamps to pierce the crystal clear waters. While we were expecting to see some strange formations below Tara, we were quite surprised to see a huge ice keel attached to the hull down to a depth of about 9m. This ice was forced below Tara during the winter and has continued to grow. Attached to a safety line we made an inspection, however the only visible part of Tara was the port side propeller. The rest of the aft part of the hull is completely encased in ice!

As the summer progresses we hope that additional movement and melting will allow us to undertake a more extensive inspection before next winters freeze.