ALTEX Arctic Cruise
October 7 - November 7, 2001
Tromso, Norway to the Arctic Circle

October 7, 2001: Day #1

This cruise is using the United States Coast Guard Cutter Healy which has its own homepage. The USCGC Healy being loaded at the dock in Tromsø (all photos by Todd Walsh).

Todd Walsh writes: October 5, 2001: Everyone has made it to Tromsø without incident, and we loaded the equipment onto the ship today. The ship and the crew are incredible. We've also been treated to shows from the Northern Lights for the last two evenings. Beautiful! I've included a couple photos showing the ship being loaded with gear, and where we'll be getting our three squares a day for the next month. More soon!

Mike Pinto writes: October 7, 2002: We began loading equipment on the USCGC Healy (WAGB-20) last Friday morning. We were on board Saturday morning and began unpacking and setting up support equipment, computers and the Dorado (AUV) vehicle. We were located at a Norwegian naval base carved out of a mountain some 25 minutes by car outside of Tromsø. We had the opportunity on Saturday night to tour the underground naval facility, which included a submarine, patrol boats and maintenance areas. The facility was built during the cold war by NATO (it makes us seem like we are in a James Bond movie!).

The weather has been excellent to this point. The mountains have a dusting of snow from an early weather system. While I’ve been working on the budget for the last two days, everyone has been busy getting equipment operational. We departed Sunday afternoon but I will not be able to give you our destination due to the heightened security status on all military ships. Just prior to getting underway we had the opportunity to be introduced to the entire crew. The Coast Guard crew has been very hospitable and helpful during the move in and transition to operational status.

We have a pretty busy day planned for tomorrow. Our plans for Monday will be to finalize the ballasting of Dorado and do a few test runs, deploy and test the hydrophone off the aft deck which is used to track the AUV, deploy the Phantom ROV (to be used to locate vehicle if we have problems), do a test CTD cast, and begin testing the smart buoys (a precursor to the operational buoys that will be deployed by the vehicle under ice operation, burn thru the ice pack and deploy a satellite antenna above the ice surface).

Here you can see a closeup of the deck...

...and the impressive mess hall


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