06/09/2011 - “Just when you think the sun is finally going to set, it starts coming back up again!” Chris Debicki, sleep-deprived but enthusiastic, said over a crackling cellphone connection from Ilulissat, a fishing village on Greenland’s western coast. Sled dogs may outnumber people there.
Mr. Debicki, the expedition leader for the Pew Environment Group’s Oceans North Canada unit, has just embarked on an ambitious monthlong Arctic odyssey to study one of the world’s most spectacular whale migrations. His eight-member team, which includes two marine biologists and a local Inuk mechanic who is said to be able to fix anything with anything, will wend its way north through a labyrinth of floating sea ice on a none-too-spacious 46-foot converted crab trawler.
“It will be pretty cozy on the boat,” Mr. Debicki acknowledged. Still, a modest-size vessel will be able to weave deftly around the ice and operate far more quietly than the ice breakers that normally frequent these waters. Nonintrusive is a watchword if you’re hoping to study reticent marine mammals.
Read the full blog article Small Boat, Big Mission: An Arctic Whale Survey on The New York Times' Web site.