Frobisher Bay, 2012, iced out

In the north we not only have to contend with all the usual marine conditions such as tides, winds, etc. but must also factor ice into the equation as well. And this year, although Iqaluit has been enjoying 20°C weather, Frobisher Bay is still very much locked in ice. After 3 days of being out on the water, surveying all the islands we could get near that had eiders on them we literally hit a wall of ice.

We depend on local knowledge and the people we work with to know the ins and outs of the bays and conditions. We also use sea ice maps from the Canadian Ice Service to gauge what is happening out on the water.  And by all accounts this year, the ice in Frobisher Bay was late in breaking up, and going now where quickly. And unfortunately surrounding two groups of islands that we wanted to survey.

This is a map from the Canadian Ice Service of Frobisher Bay during our last couple of days in the area.  Frobisher is the lowest deep bay on the map, and you can see Iqaluit is right up near the head of the bay where there is some open water. All the red areas are regions where the ice is thick, and covering 90+% of the water surface, making boating unsafe. The yellow stars are the sites, and as you can see one star is within safe boating conditions, but the second two locations were well beyond the ice.

The ice maps allow us to see what is happening and plan out routes. Unfortunately this year the ice just didn’t cooperate. And although the ice is quite beautiful to boat around, it prevented us from getting to a number of islands on our survey list. So with no real ice movement on the horizon, our summer surveys have come to an end.

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