Today I awoke to the crunching sound of our ship’s hull breaking through the pack ice. The pristine ice here is breathtaking. It is the brightest white and turquoise I have ever seen.

I was was so happy to be able to help Maya Santangelo and Paolo Marra-Biggs conduct a plankton tow and use an underwater ROV. We will analyze the contents of the plankton tow sample tomorrow under a microscope to see if there is any evidence of marine micro-plastics.

We spotted polar bear #2 this evening. He was an especially yellow coated guy out for an evening stroll. I know that polar bears are solitary animals, but I was struck by his lone existence. This was compounded by my knowledge of his species’ threatened status.

I was thinking about his perfectly adapted feet as I watched him walk effortlessly across the slick ice and then dive into the water to check for seals. His feet are webbed for swimming (like a labrador!) and his large pads are textured to provide tread. He was built for life on the ice.