Thursday, January 19, 2012

Warm & Improving: a tour aboard the USCG Icebreaker Healy

Today we got to go on an unusual outing of sorts.  If you have been following national or state headlines, you might have heard that due to some poor planning and unfortunate happenings, an "emergency" (The emergency is in quotes because there really wasn't one.) fuel delivery was very recently made to our happy little hamlet via a Russian Icebreaker and the Coast Guard's very own vessel the Healy.    But it certainly has been pleasant to have our icy ocean view broken up by the cheery red hulls of these two boats.  The crew of the Healy was awesome enough to host an ongoing open tour to all Nome residents over the last two days.  With the temperatures a balmy 20 today (probably more like -5 with the windchill) we ventured out to check out what an icebreaker is all about.

It's pretty crazy to see a completely ice-bound boat.  The Healy is generally a research vessel, manned by an 80 (or so) person crew.  We got to check out the hanger, the science station, the engine room, the bridge and the cafeteria.  This boat is built to take a beating and keep on ticking--it is by no means a luxury vessel, US taxpayers can be assured to know their money is being used practically and usefully here.  
The crew was super friendly and accommodating, especially since some of them took on this extra mission after already being on the boat since May.  Yipes.
Here in the distance you can see the Russian fuel tanker Ренда
they, however, were not offering tours.

Although, this guy here in the fur hat swears that if we boogie out there after dark with a bottle of good vodka, they might let us aboard.
Maybe if wears he that hat?
Sadie slept for most of the tour, but she woke up when we got to the bridge.  Just in time to test out the captain's chair.  

We looked out the window with binoculars and could see right into our living room.
My favorite thing on the whole ship (aside from the two rosy-cheeked strawberries in the picture above) was this:
It is a Danish Storm Glass... and if you refer to the handy-dandy interpretation guide pictured below, I would say that Nome looks like a 2.
Yes, folks--we are WARM & IMPROVING!
It's about time.


  1. That is so cool! Awesome pictures! What is in the Danish storm glass? It looks like hair.

  2. I don't know exactly what it was--some kid of crystals I believe. They looked very feathery yesterday, but they must have some properties that allow them to change shape and form as humidity changes?

  3. that is sooooo cool you got to tour the icebreaker! and yes i've totally been following the headlines as i've already told you. the danish storm glass thingy is AWESOME! i'm a total weather nerd. i will google it right away!