Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton Arctic Patrol – Aug. 27, 2008

Journal Entry – Aug. 27, 2008 – Arctic Ocean

The Coast Guard is extending High Endurance cutter operations from the Bering Sea into the Chukchi Sea, the Beaufort Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. This operation supports the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to extend maritime safety and security to the Arctic region in the face of retreating polar sea ice. The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton will be the lead cutter in the United States’ push to extend security to U.S. Arctic waters. As part of this historic operation, the Hamilton is providing daily journal entries.

Position: Arctic Ocean, 71-28.8N, 156-32.3W; 5 NM North of Point Barrow

Weather: Winds: E 7kts. Temp: 38 F. Sea Temp: 39 F. Seas/Swells: 1 foot.

Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton Position

Crew Journal:

Written by ENS Mark Byrne

Today was an exciting day making way through the Arctic Ocean. I stood my watch as Break-In OOD from 0230-0530 under the instruction of LTjg Dunlevy as we anxiously looked for icebergs and any sign of Arctic wildlife. It was quite the new experience getting up on the bridge at 0200 and seeing sun still on the horizon having never set from the prior night. Later on in the day after we recovered the helicopter from an ice recon, we started to run into more pieces of ice scattered closer than before. As we neared a larger Bergy Bit (chunk of blue ice) we saw a polar bear laying on it. So, 2 weeks into the Coast Guard, I was the Conning Officer and had to maneuver the ship under the instruction of ENS Kellogg as the crew took a few photos of the Polar Bear. It is August right now, and the wind chill must have been around 20 degrees. What an awesome experience to maneuver a Coast Guard Cutter through ice and also see some Arctic wildlife that some people would never even come near in a lifetime.

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