The crew of POLAR SEA celebrated Halloween 2008 in transit to Kodiak. A pumpkin carving contest was held aboard where pumpkins were carved and judged for the following categories; most creative, most artistic, funniest, and looks most like someone on the ship. Despite the unstable sea state outside, exceptional talent, creativity, and Halloween spirit flowed freely through the mess deck as crew memberscarved their designs while simultaneously protecting themselves and their creations from the frequent rolls. Upon pulling into Kodiak, on 31 October, the pumpkins were displayed on either side of the brow to light the path for crew and visitors alike.
On 17 November, 2008, Polar Sea ‘hove to’ in the ice offshore of Barrow, Alaska. It was the first day to view sunrise and sunset after almost a week. After a long afternoon of flight operations, the ice was deemed suitable to grant the crew ice liberty. The crew enjoyed cavorting in the ice and snow anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the fortitude of the individual to withstand the -2°F temperature. At a minimum, most got the treasured picture of standing alongside the draft marks or stern of POLAR SEA as she sat elevated upon the giant ice floe.
This year, the crew celebrated Thanksgiving on board POLAR SEA. The cooks put together a delicious meal, complete with eggnog and holiday music playing in the background, as crew members walked through the chow line. In addition, POLAR SEA had transited far enough south to be able to pick up satellite TV once more so that all could enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving Day game of football.