Wigglesworth served as a science technician for Asjian’s biology team. His primary role was responsibility for the deployment of the Video Plankton Recorder and helping with the deployment of a variety of plankton nets. Wigglesworth had many other responsibilities as well. He engaged in educational outreach with schools and was the shipboard coordinator for the Float Your Boat program [www.floatboat.org]. He also taught a celestial navigation class.
He also coordinated a program called Float the Boat. Students around the country received small wooden boats which they decorated. 300 such boats, each with an ID number, were brought to the North Pole and launched on the ice. The fleet of small boats had a GPS tracker that allow students back home to track their position on the ice as the Arctic currents move them to open water.
420 feet long, Healy is 16,000 tons and has a diesel electric propulsion system capable of 30,000 horsepower. This enables the ship to break through four-and-a-half feet of ice at a continuous speed of three knots. The SEA alumni boarded the ship in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Sept. 2nd for the month-long voyage. In mid-September the ship got into the ice, and on Oct. 1st it arrived at the North Pole.
“We are excited to reach the Pole!” announced Ashjian, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Wigglesworth explained that the expedition was scientifically important because it replicated cruise tracks dating to the 1960s, allowing comparisons to data collected on those voyages as well as to data collected on the Healy’s SAS expedition in 2015.
“We have little information from the ocean and seafloor at the top of the world so what we collect here is very valuable. It also fills in data from a region, the western Central Arctic, which was not sampled by other ships in the S.A.S. Our joint efforts with the Healy crew are producing important science results,” reported Ashjian.