A large visitor clad in red showed up in Kodiak yesterday. No, it wasn’t an early visit by Santa Claus, it was the nation’s largest ice breaker, the Coast Guard Cutter Healy . At 420-feet, the ship is the largest – and the newest – of America’s ice-breaking fleet. It was moored at the city’s Pier Two.
According to Ensign Emily Kehrt, the Healy just completed three months underway in the Beaufort Sea, studying the Arctic Ocean and mapping the seafloor of the extended continental shelf. The Healy is on its way back to its homeport of Seattle, after concluding the final two components of the Arctic West Summer 2009 mission.
The first part of the mission, led by Robert Pickart of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, included deploying several types of hydro-graphic recording devices as well as recovering others, deployed on earlier missions. During the second part of the mission, led by Larry Mayer of the University of New Hampshire, the Healy participated in a joint effort with the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Louis Saint Laurent to map the topographical features of the Arctic seafloor.
The Healy has a permanent crew of 80, with plenty of room for visiting scientists.