This is the 25th blog post in a series about ICEX 2011. This post was written by Mike Mangin, Lieutenant Commander in the Canadian Forces.
I’ve spent my whole career in the Navy working in the submarine service and was really excited about the opportunity to participate in ICEX 2011. At the Ice Camp my primary role is acting as Range Safety Officer (RSO), which means I watch the displays that show the submarines’ position on the range at all times and ensure that neither boat gets too close to the other one. We stand a 1 in 3 watch rotation which means 6 hours on, 12 off to keep the range control manned 24/7 for the duration of the exercise and we are always busy at the RSO seat. When we aren’t on-watch we help out with myriad other duties around the camp that Jeff and others have talked about in some of the other postcards. As a true Canadian my favourite is anything where I get to drive the snowmobiles!
I have really enjoyed my experiences at the Ice Camp and have been struck by the stark beauty of the Arctic. Sometimes it seems so featureless and similar and then with a second look the variety of the landscape jumps out. Despite the challenges of shift work and sleeping odd hours in an 8×20 foot plywood shack with five other guys I love working the “middle watch” (0100-0800) because it allows me to watch the sunrise over the ice each morning. The days are getting longer and there is twilight for about 18 hours of the day, which is quite neat. I think it would be amazing to be here for the “midnight sun” although I expect the ice would be pretty thin by then!
The highlight, by far, of my ICEX 2011 experience has been the people I have shared my time with here. There has been a real opportunity to get to know the other members of the teams and the shared hardships of the camp have really contributed to the sense of camaraderie that I think everyone in the camp has experienced.