U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version

Fall 2001


Published in Backscatter, Fall 2001, pp. 14-22.


Under a leaden April Arctic sky, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Healy left the swell of the southern Labrador Sea and entered the Arctic ice pack for the first time, settling in as if she had finally found her home. The deck log notes that at about 4 pm on the 4th April 2000, the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Bob Garrett, assumed both the deck and the con for the momentous occasion (Figure 1). The ship entered the ice at 51° 33.0’ N, 54° 33.33’ W. The ice trials of the newest U.S. icebreaker were underway!