This is the 23rd blog post in a series about ICEX 2011 by Jeff Gossett, Arctic Submarine Laboratory’s ICEX 2011 Exercise Director written on March 26, 2011.
It’s the weekend and that means another round of visitors.
Yesterday, we had a crew from CNN arrive – Kaj Larsen, Toby Thiermann, and Ken Schiffman – who are doing a documentary on the Navy’s activities in the arctic. Also with them is author Craig Reed who is writing two books (one fiction, one non-fiction) related to what we are doing here. They are spending the night then going to embark CONNECTICUT this afternoon for an overnight ride.
Later today, they will be joined by another group of VIPs coming from DC that includes two Congressmen, the Deputy Secretary of Energy, and the Under Secretaries of both the Navy and the Army. They will be spending the night aboard NEW HAMPSHIRE before heading back home.
These weekend visits provide a really great opportunity to allow our government leaders and, through the media, the public see what we’re doing up here.
I should have waited a couple more days to write my postcard about polar bears. Yesterday, while searching out a spot for CONNECTICUT’s upcoming surfacing, Randy Ray and Tim Wen came across a set of polar bear paw prints. The wind had blown some snow over them so we know they weren’t fresh but have no idea how old they are.
All of the things I discussed previously about being alert for the possible presence of bears have just been reinforced. The ARSO is now doing a 360 degree survey of our surroundings hourly from the roof of the Command Hut. And everybody is just a little more careful venturing outdoors at night. It’s amazing how every irregularity in the nearby ice turns into a polar bear in the dark.