Meanwhile, under the snow……..

Took a walk on Chicawaukee Friday Mar 22, (where I have been XC skiing).

The open water and honey combed ice at my beach is now 5-6 inches of soft snow ice, no plank needed. 100Yards out under 6 inches of soggy snow, but not slush, there is dark dry black ice. I chopped and chopped this clear fairly hard ice and finally broke through still solid ice at 10 inches!! Where did the 2-3 inches of junky wet stuff on the top and the leaky junky stuff under that all go? No water welled up into the hole while chopping as it did about ten days ago when rain water just disappeared from the surface. This pretty good looking black ice contained no visible air and indeed after breaching the bottom the hole promptly filled with clear, not brown run off, water and overflowed onto the ice spreading out into the snow. Why hasn’t all the ice sunk and wetted out the snow? It seems to have sealed itself in the last week of cold weather and now it does not have buoyancy enough to hold up the snow.
If it is still 10 inches thick it is not rotting out from underneath. How cold is the water? I trudged back to the house for my precision measuring device, a red fluid Taylor out door thermometer taped to the blade of a hockey stick. The water at the base of the ice seemed to be 32 F, at the depth of the hockey stick (junior size, about 4 ft) it seemed slightly warmer, about 33 F. This is probably floating on slightly denser 40 F water further down. The stream flowing into the lake at my beach was ice covered so I could not get its temperature, likely 32 F as it is mostly snow ice covered with very slow flow right now.
All we need is a couple of inches of rain and another few days of cold weather for Easter sailing.


About Lloyd Roberts

Long time ice boater. Creator of the Gambit and Cheapskate boats. Author of the first definitive book on ice boating "Think Ice"One of the original members of the Chickawaukie ice boat club in Maine. Lloyd also lives on Chickawaukie and has played launch host to countless ice boaters over the years.
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