Saturday, August 11, 2007
THE SETTING SUN! Yes the sun here has finally set! We stayed up until 1:30 am to watch it and seeing was believing... the feeling of the last 2-1/2 months being 1 long day is somewhat over; as well for the local and non-local wildlife. There has been a large amount of bird activity, increased lemmings, more caribous and whales coming around.
Ok, it did not get any darker than this, but HEY! the sun is officially under the horizon. Soon after the fog followed the sun to the ocean and made things just a bit darker and colder, but by then we were all sleeping getting ready for another field day.
It is an interesting time in the season, this summer has been one of the driest summers in record! Looks like I may have brought the El Paso weather with me in my carry-on bag and didn't know it. But finally some storm clouds started to grow on the horizon... it somehow never rained! Oh well.
Next day comes and there are more gray whales on the beach rubbing their bodies on the sand, cleaning and being watched by the people...
then there was one person, Alex, who decided that he wanted to go and pet the whale. With words of... that is not a wise idea.. he started into the water.
Forgetting that he wallet was in is pocket, he remembered and threw it on the beach where it opened and everything in there went flying out. We quickly picked it up as little kids thought it was Christmas and yelled "MONEY!". We then watched show. Alex got up to his chest in water, very close to the whale, which had no clue that someone was approaching.
We, on the shore, were all ready for the prevailing doom to unfold, and I was mentally ready to jump in and pull him when the whale would knock him out with a quick hit by the tail. Ahhhh... young and.... stupid! As expected, the whale did not like it. As soon as he touched the whale, it kicked and created a huge splash and Alex came running out with the look of fear all over his face!
People were both laughing and... well not so happy. One women said "well kids lets go... the stupid white man scared the whale away." and another man said "Good job! Did you get a piece of the whale?!" I replied "no, the whale almost got a piece of him!" we both laughed.
Crazy guy. We returned back to base with pictures and video. Amorita was quick to mistakenly erase the video from the camera! oh, well. The following day we continued seeing lots of wildlife. We had a snowy owl hunting on our research grounds... correction... we were doing research on the snowy owl's hunting grounds.
So, on the next day I saw from a distance what I first thought to be dogs on the research grounds. It turned out to be caribou grazing on the field. I had to at least try to chase them away, they ignored me.
While watching these two, there was a male buck just behind us! The bear guard was quick to warn us. The males can attack, so guys with shotguns came to watch us work. The caribou stayed for several hours, and then it was time for us to leave.
There are now only 9 days left in barrow!!
Friday, August 3, 2007
Ivotuk trip this morning with 7 other researchers by a small plane. We were dropping off Amorita, Dave, and Adrian for their 3 day research project along with over 900 pounds of research equipment! 4 other people came along due to extra seats left in the plane, which meant that I got to see MOUNTAINS again!!