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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

November 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Breaking ground by breaking ice again

Gabi_1129_PolarSea_01

Sketched Nov. 26, 2013

For the first time in years, the Polar Star is about to go break some ice.

Budget cuts and repairs kept the aging heavy-duty icebreaker sidelined since 2006, but come Tuesday, it will leave Pier 36 on a four-month deployment to Antarctica.

Deck Officer Paul Garcia said the mission is to break a path through 80 miles of ice so a tanker can bring fuel and supplies to the remote McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center built on the world’s most southern piece of ground accessible by ship.

The cutter can break through ice up to 21 feet deep, Garcia told me as I joined him and Operations Specialist Zachary Madden atop the ship’s “aloft conn,” the navigation station with 360-degree views situated high up on the vessel’s mast.

Madden noted it’s summer in Antarctica, so the crew will have constant daylight to admire landscapes most of us won’t experience in our lifetime.

If only I could tag along with my sketchbook!

Gabi_1129_PolarSea_02

Try to blur the city skyline you see in these sketches and picture ice and penguins instead. That’s what awaits the Polar Star in Antarctica.

Gabi_1129_PolarSea_03

Comments | More in Boats, Military, Waterscapes | Topics: Downtown waterfront

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