Friday, 8 August 2008


It was the skip that killed Franklin. Ross before Franklin miss identified coast features, because of the skip, which caused Franklin to make fatal errors. 


By now you have seen the 'skip' or mirage as you travel through glassy, icy water. What you may have not noticed is the skip is an exact distance.  I have never found a description of it in any arctic book, so here goes... 
As you travel through ice the ocean heat causes a 'light ray' deflection that has an exact distance. I really don't understand the science, nor care to. The mirage you see is a very narrow cross section of the ice/ocean you are about to encounter. It can be anywhere from 3 to 10 miles out. If you pay attention to the 'line' as you proceed, you will be able to see and map it in your mind. As you move you will notice the line (skip) always moves down. Note the mirage of ice vs the ocean and watch until you have crossed that will have the distance of the skip. It is really very simple, and very valuable. You can navigate through the largest holes in the ice. You can 'see' areas of ice and totally avoid them. The skip is clear enough that I have seen logs and other boats for a brief moment miles before we encounter them.

If it is cloudy you can also gage the amount of ice, 3 to 10 miles ahead by the reflection in the clouds. Dark clouds indicate open water, light clouds indicate ice. This is well known to many, so is probably redundant to you. You don't get a clear map, but it is very easy to see.

Megan, Anna and I snooped through the beer kit last night. I'll get started this weekend. Thank you. I think you started something here.