Another day and we’re still stuck in the ice. For more than an hour last night (it might have been closer to two but I went to bed), the Amundsen’s propellers pushed and pulled to no avail with all six engines running flat out.
So within the last few minutes the Amundsen crew (with some scientists helping) began using gas-powered augers to perforate the ice along the port side, from the bow back about a quarter of the ship’s length.
The icebreaker had come to rest yesterday leaning slightly to port (the left side, facing forward) so the thinking is that there’s more weight on that side and maybe a good chance of the ice weakening once its structural integrity has been compromised by the drill holes.
Meanwhile many of the researchers onboard are getting noticeably antsy. They’ve worked up all the samples that had been gathered previously, carried out maintenance on their onboard detectors and equipment brought in from the ice and even read that scientific paper that had long awaited their attention. They want to start collecting ice and water and algae and air and chemical contaminants plus all those environmental measurements unique to the Amundsen Gulf at this time of year.
If the ship doesn’t get unstuck today, this could become our new berth for quite some time. I suspect that would be just fine with many of the scientists.