I’m busy flying about with a small cadre of students (got to catch up on some comments from earlier posts), but I thought I’d share a couple photos with a nice bit of contrast. Okay, so this many jelly-fish isn’t a common sight on our beach, but then again neither is my friend Lauri.
As I’m away from the North Slope at the moment, I find myself looking at photos and such. This afternoon, I am looking at pictures of pictures of the village of Wainwright. I have been there a couple times, in the late summers of 2011 and 2012.
Wainwright is located on the coast (of course). It has a population of a little over 500, but the first time I visited the place I could have sworn it was a ghost town. I literally couldn’t see anyone on the streets. I learned later that folks were probably out hunting, and in any event people began to show up on the streets that afternoon.
I always think it’s fun to just zoom out from these little maps one click at a time. If it doesn’t show, then hit refresh.
You may of course click on a pic to embiggen it.
…and of course the flight out (not the best video, but it’s kinda neat to see the tundra from above).
The last couple weeks have been a bit of a blur, what with the end of the semester, several work-related projects, and plenty of random events.
The ocean has been unusually interesting this Spring. By ‘unusually interesting’ I mean ‘rather disturbing’. As mentioned in a previous post, the ice pack had shorn off rather early this year and very close to the shore. That isn’t entirely unheard of, but it is very unusual. It’s particularly problematic for the whaling crews as they hunt from the ice in the Spring. It didn’t take too long for the ice to flow back in and begin bonding with the shore-fast. It even piled up a bit at the meeting point, but the overall effect was a little thin. And by ‘thin’ I mean ‘dangerous’. I understand the ice was still fairly solid out North toward the point, but all-in-all folks seemed a little hesitant this year. As I left Barrow, the whaling crews had begun the hunt, and people were out on the ice.I can only hope they stay safe.
…and bring home the muktuk.
One day, I saw the most amazing ice-bow. It lasted only a minute or so, and I didn’t have my camera or my phone, …cause I suck. But I took my camera the next day when a sun halo came out, complete with a pair of perfect sun dogs. I caught those pics from the school van.
So, here I sit on the 14th floor of an apartment complex in Denver. I’ve finally slept off the jet lag, and I’m starting to think about stuff to do for the day. My head is still in Barrow, not the least of reasons being that I brought unfinished work with me. I miss my cats, but I’m waiting for someone wonderful.
Civilization is beginning to seep into my thick skull, and I’m taking in the new setting. I’ve seen more people in the last day than I have all winter. Plus a fly! I saw a fly. It flew right past me, as if to say; “yes Dan, we still exist.” I don’t miss bugs, really I don’t.
On the other, hand last night’s chicken satay was amazing.
What can a beach bum say; the ocean is fascinating. I don’t mean that in a body-surfing or bikini-watching way of course, and no I haven’t dipped more than a foot in the local waves, even in the summer. Folks do that here in the summer, go in the water. By ‘folks’ I mean ‘mostly tourists’ of course. Some get a certificate. I don’t know who produces it, but I still think the whole prospect falls under the let’s-not-and-say-we-did variety. Anyway, no, I haven’t done that, and I don’t plan to do it any time soon.
But the arctic ocean is certainly cool (pun intended). One of the coolest things about living on this coastline is the changing geography of the ocean surface. You walk out one day and a big old ridge-line is sitting where flat ice had been the night before.
That was starting to happen this year; it was getting interesting. And then suddenly I come out to find open water just a few hundred feet out from shore. Folks would be expecting a lead to open up between the shore-fast ice on our coastline and the larger ice-pack out in the deep, but this much open water is a bit unusual.
It’s strange. Most of Alaska seems to be having a colder-than-usual year. Here in Barrow, it’s been abnormally warm. Might be the open water is due to other reasons, and it might even be that other folks would know more about that than I would.
…I don’t mean folks swimming in the waters of course.
That would be insane!
I have to apologize for the quality of the first video. I was actually talking the whole time, but you can’t hear me over the wind. I should probably also apologize for the second video cause it shakes horribly (and the sound sucks in this one too, but it’s just good enough that you can enjoy my nasal-sounding narrative, complete with ridicu-pauses for that unintended type of comic effect. …there is a reason I’m not a video-blogger). Anyway, I’m a bad man. So, just think of it as a cognitive assault.
Last June I used to walk down by the beach nearly every day. It was fascinating to see the ocean slowly turning back into liquid. Since I’m in Vegas at the moment, I can only imagine what’s happening now.
…or live vicariously through last year’s photos.
But first some happy music!
Now, if you click on the pics, they will embiggen!
Now, since I am also missing the Nalukataq, the Spring Whaling Festival later this month, A Quick Video!
I know. Fire the cameraman!
Anyway, that is Barrow, AK, at this time of year.