Life on board The Healy is hard work!

There are many flights of stairs to climb to get from place to place.

DoorEach hallway has a heavy metal door to open and close.  Most of the time the ship is rolling and shaking as we move around.

Imagine your house sitting on springs and wheels and you are trying to pour a glass of milk!


Climbing up and down steps all day, doing research, and working on the ice, makes a person very hungry. That’s when everyone heads to the Mess Deck.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and midrats (midnight rations served to those who are working through the night) are served there.  The Mess Deck also has snacks and drinks available between meals too. There is cereal, bread, peanut butter and jelly, pop tarts and much more.


When it’s time to sleep, the bedrooms are cozy and house three people.  Each person has a bed, a desk, and small closet. A bathroom is shared between two rooms.  Since it is daylight nearly 24 hours a day, the porthole (window) has a cover to shut out the sunshine.

Living on a ship makes it difficult to exercise outside so The Healy has two gyms full of treadmills, ellipticals, weights, rowing machines, and stationary bikes.

Everyone needs some playtime and the ship has entertainment on board.  There is ping pong and foosball and a movie shown every Saturday.  Last week’s feature was “The Lego Movie”.

Televisions are in many of the common areas but the stations are limited to CNN News, sports, and CBS.  Many people listen to music on their iPods and computers.  And if that is not enough, standing on the bridge looking at the landscape or watching for polar bears is always an option!

About The Author

Jan Arrigo

Jan currently teaches Kindergarten and First grade in Palo Alto, CA. She looks forward to a new challenge in the Fall of both Second and Fourth grades. Her main focus on the Healy will be to bring real world Science to elementary school students through text, pictures, videos and live streaming.

6 Responses

  1. Palma Walko

    Hi, I’m Palma and I learned about your expedition because Dr. Ben taught us about the Carbon Cycle at Falmouth Academy last month. For my recent science fair project, I was looking through a microscope several hours a day and got headaches immediately. I assume that someone on board has to do the same. I’ve read that it’s a rocky ride and not too much of smooth sailing because you’re moving through ice. So, for those who have to use microscopes or similar instruments, how do you not get sea sick? What’s your method? When you are trying to figure out what the ocean currents are doing in the Arctic, do you look at core samples and forams or another proxy?

    • Ben Harden
      Ben Harden

      Hi Pamla, Yes, it can be a bit of a bumpy ride going through sea ice. Something between airplane turbulence and being stuck on top of a jackhammer where everything lurches and shakes constantly. Although it gets pretty annoying, it doesn’t seem to get many people sea sick.

      Yes, we have a few people who are using microscopes, but a lot of the scientists studying the smaller animals and plants are using more sophisticated imaging techniques. They force the water past a video or rapid-fire stills camera to get snap shots of the animals and plants. They can then count them, see who’s there and even measure their sizes.Moritz who works with the LOKI net is one of these scientists.

      And as for the velocity of the water, we don’t look at core samples or forams. These are proxies that other scientists use to construct a picture of what currents looked like in the past, 1000′s of years ago. We can be a bit more accurate than that. We fire sound pulses into the water and from the dopler shift of the echo we can tell how fast the water is moving and in which direction.

      Thanks for your questions!

  2. Erin Curtis

    Thank you for sharing what it’s like on The Healy. I never really knew all the things you have offered to you while underway. My boyfriend is part of the crew on the healy and he never really shared with me what you have while underway. It’s been 10 days since I have heard from him, hopefully he can email me soon. Again thank you for sharing the life on the healy.

    • Jan Nash-Arrigo

      Thank you Erin, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Your boyfriend and all of the crew on the Healy are busy 24 hours a day helping scientists, and keeping us all safe. We really appreciate all of their work!

      • Erin Curtis

        Jan, thank you for all you do on the Healy and the articles that you post. I share them with my kindergarten class when I have a moment to do so. I am a teacher at Eagle rock Elementary school in medford oregon and I also teach dance at Jodi’s school of dance. Everyone loves looking and learning what you have on this site and love to read the articles about your experience on the Healy. When you see Don Delach tell him I say hi. Thank you again for bringing this to life.

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