13 December 2007
The ice broke
Just before lunch today the moment we have been preparing for arrived, the ice broke! With a series of low pressure systems tracking up from Iceland we have been expecting, and anxiously waiting, to see some signs of our approach towards the ice edge and open sea. Last night we got our first hint of what was to come, slight banging sounds below Tara that were enough to wake some of us. These subtle signs were just a precursor to today’s sudden break-up. Initially the aft end of Tara began to rise and fall a few centimeters, followed by some hairline fractures in the ice either side that rapidly widened with a rhythmic rocking motion. We were quick to lift the last instruments remaining in the water and load the seismometer on board. Within the space of 15 minutes our “back garden” transformed into a mass of fractured blocks with open water between. Heaving on a slight swell and jostling amongst the ice floes Tara found her level floating line. Violent shocks have continued to shake us throughout the afternoon, possibly indicating that our ice keel has departed. For now the weather is calm and we are all safely aboard, however we are expecting some strong wind over the weekend that promises to mix things up and possibly move us even closer to being liberated.