Chukchi Borderland Project

Daily Updates from

our Teacher at Sea


August 21

Tour of the Engine Room
Lieutenant Troy Kunas, Engineering Officer, gave Wendy, Kellie and I a tour of the Engine Room on the Polar Star.  Lieutenant Kunas has 61 engineers working under his direction.  He led us through many rooms on the ship; Main Control, Diesel Rooms # 1&2, Motor Gear Room, Turbine Room, Boiler Room, to name a few.

The Polar Star at a glance:

There are three turbines on the ship, which are only used when the ship needs the extra power to break really thick ice.  What do I mean by really thick ice?  The turbines can consistently break 8 feet of ice. Or 12 -15 feet of solid ice and over 80 feet of ice by backing up and ramming it along pressure ridges.

One of the ship's turbines.


Each turbine uses 1,500 gallons of fuel per hour.  Basically, if all 3 turbines run for approximately 1 hour, they would use 4,500 gallons per we don't use them unless we have to.   If you are looking at the ship from the stern (rear), then the right (starboard) and center turbines run clockwise and the left (port) turbine runs counterclockwise.


David Jautz, Chief MKC, and Paul Gorsky, Petty Officer, 1st Class
in the Control Room.
How fast can the ship go?  With open water, clean bottom, this ship can go about 23 knots (26 mph), the speed you travel through a residential area in your vehicle.  The ship moves at 16 to 18 knots (20 mph) normally, which is the speed of a fast recreational bicycle rider.  Today we averaged about 6 knots (7 mph) through the ice.

You can run a railroad box car sized piece of ice through the propellers, which are each 2/3 the size of a big yellow school bus.  The displacement of the ship, fully loaded with fuel, is 13,500 tons, or roughly the weight of 7,000 elephants.


Kellie and Wendy in the Engine Room.



Where do we live while on board the Polar Star?  In order to get there, we had to know how to ask for directions...

Key Terms:  A must for survival on the ship!


Naval Term:















Crows Nest



Rest of Society:







Right side of ship while looking forward


Front of ship

Rear of ship

Anywhere near the rear of ship

Anywhere near the front of ship

Main deck of aft part of the ship


Highest lookout point on ship

The command and steering center of the ship

Where you sleep (Room)


Our stateroom.


Throw a line


Throw a rope



Report from Chief Scientist, Rebecca Woodgate, August 22, 2002

Gail's been having email problems, but that should be solved soon.  Got the second CTD cast in today, and progressing to the 3rd.  We're tight on people till the moorings are all in.  Should start that tomorrow am.  Fingers crossed.  The ice is a variable feast, but so far so good.  Jim was right about the ship shaking though!  Lots of sweet corn, peas, pasta, meatloaf, pork tonight, anything you can think of for breakfast and a line of cakes that gets better every day.  All is well.  Rebecca