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May 4: The Ice Edge

 

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Today was our last day in the ice as we approached the ice edge.  The ice was broken up and seemed slushy with more substantial patches mixed in.  On those patches, seals, sea lions and birds rested.  The marine life in these waters is incredible.  We have been looking for whales and albatross here in the open water but have yet to see them.  Perhaps we will encounter them on our steam to Dutch Harbor beginning tomorrow afternoon. 

The research on the cruise is winding down and most of the scientists are packing up their gear with the exception of the hydro team which is collecting water samples every ten miles along the 70m isobath on our way back to Dutch.  It is exciting to be back in open water and we are hoping for good weather for the remainder of the cruise.  

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A herd of walrus lounge on an ice floe.  

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This Bearded Seal was sleeping on the ice as we passed on the ship.  He is molting so his color pattern was mottled and very interesting.

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Seal Pups on the ice.  The mother will head into the water as the ship passes and the pup will remain on the ice where their coat keeps them relatively camouflaged.

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By far one of the most beautiful animals I have ever seen, a Ribbon Seal rests on the ice during a snow shower.

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A Stellar Sea Lion was resting on a small piece of ice in mostly open water.