2016/08/23 – Bye to the Slope.

 

After about 4 hours of darkness the new day brings snow covered homes and cars, not too much snow but for me more than the one we generally have in home during winter.

After a shower in solid ground, that feels like heaven I got a homemade breakfast with Myron and Susan, the B&B owners.

They are a very friendly couple, we get to talk a little bit about the current news in both of our countries and I realize that in many things we share the same kind of problems but we are going to solve them today anyway so they give me a ride to the Airport.

Once my luggage is checked I still have two hours ahead my flight so I accept they kindly offer to give me a quick tour around the city. Blanca, the scientist from LA who was in Araon gathering air samples join us, we are on the same flight to Anchorage.

Myron and Susan drive us across the town heading to point barrow. We pass through the old army base and they show us where they used to life after it was reclaimed for civil use some time ago.

There school and the high school are there, and a pair of whale skulls reminds me where we are. We keep heading north as Susan keeps telling daily life stories about polar bear encounters in the town, sadly not many of those end well for the Bear or the person although sometimes the “big white doggie” is only interested in fish heads…

I feel a little bit sorry for the polar bears around the town, I don’t think they are never going to go away as long as they can get food around the town, and waste counts also as an easier source of food for them.

We cross a ISO container facility and they tell me that nowadays they are starting to get more cargo through sea. I guess at the current rate their sea cargo window of opportunity will be long enough for the city to realize they need a proper harbor. The first polar cruise is also happening this summer so I have also the feeling that Barrow may change entirely in on the next twenty years, I hope they don’t become another tourist theme park…

We pass through a hunting/fishing camp that looks abandoned off season, still there is a huge amount of bones from whales, caribou and the pawns of last polar bear that visited the town.

We keep going until point Barrows whale tail shape is perfectly visible, at this point there is not more road so we turn around back to the Airport and we lastly check and old base of the US air force early warning system. Today it seems like it is operated by NOAA and maintained by a few of 4.

Back to the Airport is time to go through the control and head to Fairbanks. We meet Jessie, the local agent for Araon, who is waiting for some Korean crew joining the vessel for a second tour through Siberian waters.

We say goodbye to Barrow and jump up the plane just to see during liftoff the Basler BT-67 (a repurposed Douglas DC3-TP) that the Alfred Wegener Institute from Germany use for logistics and to study ocean-atmosphere interactions through a varied scientific payload. This plane is though and has an outstanding range of 2,300km carrying 1000kg.

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Subject: 2016/08/08 Working on an Sea Ice Floe 01

The eagles have landed.. now it is time for some hard work.

Once in the ground first comes first, bear patrol finds an advantage point to watch out for polar bears, anyway they know their drill. The first guard of the day was Vito and in the second deployment we had Ray and I am writing this post so they did a pretty sweet job. Vito is quite a funny man and Ray is a great spotter, he saw a seal on the side of the ice floe, so for the second deployment we had a "seal of approval"…

We also got the chance to see polar bear footprints quite close to where we were deploying and some birds around (is there any arctic falcon?), we also saw a jellyfish or an underwater alien brain ready to snatch a body (hence I did not get close to it, just in case, because it appreciate my body and I don’t think I can live without it).

Once on the ground and with the bear watchers in place and the wildlife in check it is the turn for us, a scientist and an umpa lumpa of science (me) to install the buoys.

Will continue…