Slow screeching


4 October 2006

Position: Drifting, 81°08’N, 145°54’E
 Course and Speed: W, 0.2kts
 Wind: E, 0 – 5kts
 Sea Ice: Compact, some small pressure ridges
 Visibility: Average
 Sunrise: 0430
 Sunset: 1645
 Cloud Cover: 8/8
 Air Temperature: -8°C
 Water Temperature: -1.5°C

 During the past few days we have seen, and heard, the pressure mount in the ice around Tara. Resonating throughout the boat we can hear slow screeching followed by tap, tap, tap, bang as the ice squeezes, slides past and cracks. The disconcerting sound of the ice
movement is recounted in many old polar expedition stories. However, it is not until you hear the grinding pressure mount that you fully believe the noise described in these stories. It is truly phenomenal, and more that a little bit unnerving as we drift along in our sardine can, albeit a sardine can specifically designed to withstand the pressure of the Arctic Ocean.

As a result of the ice pressure Tara has taken on a list to port side. To observe our list Denys has made a tilt meter in the saloon. Reaching a maximum of 6 degrees yesterday we have now resumed a more level platform. We have also begun to make daily ice observations, noting the physical characteristics of the ice close to Tara. This information will then be used for ‘ground truthing’ high resolution satellite images of the ice.