After getting unstuck from last night’s stopping point, the Amundsen had the equivalent of two booming drives down the Arctic fairway today and a fabulous approach shot to the green.
But then we found our ship was stymied. The final destination, our version of the cup in golf, was only a few hundred metres away. But between the ship and the hole loomed a long pressure ridge. And running up to that ridge the ship stuck solid, like having your golf ball land in a deep divot.
So the crew began the polar version of aerating the green. With two crew members holding opposite sides of gas-powered augers that are head high and heavy and awkward, teams drilled a chain of boreholes along the starboard side of the ship. (It should be noted that some hardier scientists also drilled, such as Stig Falk-Petersen from the Norwegian Polar Institute).
From the relative comfort of the ship’s main deck, the operation looked something like adding perforations to the edge of a stamp.
The theory is that the perforations weaken the vise-like grip along that side. With its icy girdle loosened, the Amundsen will be able to tug itself free. We could back up and hook the ship around into another spot.
The engines have now been running full throttle for almost a half-hour and there’s been no movement. I’ll let you know how this works out.
Photo by Peter Calamai