Polar bears & lots of ice!

We have crossed over into Canadian waters and are now working on the east side of the Mackenzie River delta.  We came up on the sea ice pack tonight and it was pretty exciting.  Below you can see some of the scientists prepping the piston core for tomorrow while the first chunks of ice float by.

It wasn't long before the ice cover started to increase.

Below is a shot of the ship's bow as it rides up onto the ice.

We have fairly extensive ice cover now, but the ship seems to glide right through.  The bow either brushes the ice aside or plows right up onto the ice.

It is wild how you can hear the giant slabs of ice slam into and scrape past the ship's hull.  It is particularly loud in the galley, which is up in the bow. The whole ship shakes and shutters, sometimes lists to one side when we ride up onto a large slab of ice.

We also had our first polar bear sightings! A mother and cub.  They were some distance away, so my photo doesn't quite capture the scene, but hopefully I can get a better photo from one of the crew members with a nice zoom lens. I blew up the center of the photo below, so hopefully you can see the two bears.

The patterns in the ice are so beautiful!

They even turn on the headlights at night on the bridge.