Sunday, August 19, 2007

Final thoughts

Well its time to go and yes there is more to tell, but for now I will say this. My time here has been a very memorable experience and think I might come back next summer.

and to Barrow: You were cold and gloomy when we first met. You covered your face from head to toe with snow. With time you opened up and drew me into your unique value. Here you have nothing to hide behind, everything is real, and everything exposed for what it is. You showed people for who they are rather than what they have. The life you lead is simple and relaxed, you are as far away from the world as one could be. The multitudes come to see you and yet you remain modest. Until next time...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007

in living color

Life has been pretty repetitious, I've missed out on quite a few things now since I was either covering someones field work or just not asked to come along but its all good I suppose cuz there are many adventures to come. Recently I've been able to get our and explore.

30 cages, each maybe 4 X 8 meters, stacked together like legos. At first glance you could see sleds stacked side by side on top and upon closer inspection bones scattered across the top and a large skull with antlers sticking out of this plastic tub. There were also random chains and hooks just like you would imagine an X-files episode of abandoned government test facility gone wrong. The antlers intrigued me, so up to the top I went only to find a rottingLast Sunday is where I should begin, its been a while since I've blogged. It was late in the evening and Andy had plans to take pictures around NARL. So Mai, Daniel, and I met up with him at the cages (cages of death if you prefer) where we found ourselves trapped in an X-files episode (the X-files more often than needed). The cages (of death) were old, rusty, and had been there it seems for quite some time filled with rotting carcases and blood. There were probably aboutthanks to Mai I now reference things to skull in a pool of blood. The stench was strong and Mai laughed at my immediate expression of disgust. While up there you could find rotting carcases of all kinds, caribu, whale, or maybe even human?! I placed my footing along the skeleton of the cages for I did not trust the welding of the metal grate. All of us were searching, as if to find something horrific, soon to proceed to the next abandoned facility. It was an Old abandoned shack filled with fire extinguishers and large bulky machines, there were also these giant fans between the first and second floor. The second site had its own characteristic, every machine worn and rusted, the paint peels on the wall, wood dusted and warped, and a steaks of lite looking in with curiosity.

Moving forward to Thursday.
This would be a peaceful, and thoughtful day at the beach.
The sun hasn't set since I arrived here in May, and it was said that this would be the day for a quick dip. I headed out to the beach at 1 AM and of course a bit too early. I passed the time by skipping stones into the sea, the waves of which had now awoken from their frozen slumber. They did not crash into the shore but rather moved up and down gracefully like a winding snake. Its been three years since my last trip to the beach, so my time here has been quite the treat, more so for the lack of the heat and humidity. Every thing was changing as the sun began to dip into the water like a child getting into a cold pool braving the water one step at a time. The soft orange colors hugged everything in site from the barge anchored ashore to the clouds up above. I was now sitting on the shore with Mai waiting for a complete sunset, with it now being around 2:30 AM. The sky darkened and only a quarter remained moving horizontally over the water and rising once again. Mai brought up that thought that its been so long since we've actually looked at the sun and I thought ya thats true cause its either overcast or to bright. We stood up and cast stones into the sea like Amelie, finding jellyfish and hermit crabs along the way.

Moving forward once again to Friday.
Dave, Amorita and Adrian would be flying to Ivatuk today and so several of us would be able to accompany them on their voyage. I crawled out of bed at 7:30 surprised to find their is life before noon. We ate, packed and headed to the airport. Once up in the air the landscape was so different from the last time I was up in the sky. Looking down the grass was so green and I could almost feel the softness of the moss. Traveling down from Barrow the ground began so warp and fold into paradise. Closing in on Ivatuk, cinder cones emerged from the ground, and even closer once on the ground wild berries, tussics, and flowers emerged.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Another day in Barrow

Monday, July 9, 2007

Write this here

note: pictures may or may not be relevant to text or anything for that :)
Its been a while since me and my blog got together, so lets see whats been going on around these parts.

I've really been enjoying myself thus far, and have gotten used to the work here. Cause you know work is work wherever you go, you get your job done and nuff said, your off to enjoy the day ahead. Like the other day, It was the 4th of July i think, me, Mai, Jason, the IT guys and some other people headed out to the point (i.e. Americas mohawk) to finish off the day. We checkout several ATVs from the warehouse and headed off to the point. Like Amelie I enjoy various parts of life, like riding an ATV with the wind and dust crystallizing my hair along the way. From the shore you could see the sea ice out in the distance holding the waves back just enough for us to enjoy the moment of a silent sea. I laid down on the gravel right before the water and admired the sky, while listening to everyone else walk along the coast enjoying themselves just the same in their own way. I sat up and flicked pebbles into the water, enjoying each little splash of sound, fine tuning my technique along the way. Soon the water was my drum and the pebbles my stick and I was having a good day. There was much to be admired along the shore such as the small chunks of ice trying to rest upon the smooth pebbles, but they are too slow and sit steadily in the sea hoping for an opportunity to come by before they melt away. There was one in particular that was standing in tis tippy toe just long enough to be seen by another soul, then within minutes it sank down never to stand again. one more breath as the day was coming to a close, we hopped on the ATV to head back home, but not until one last dip in the water. Pants, shirt, socks, and underwear were scatted on the beach as I took the plunge into an unreasonably cold ocean, but I know I will hop in again, its just a matter of time.

Life here in the lab has been very amusing, there is always something going on in here such as Adrian lugging a rock several hundred miles to use as a plant presser, or the most famous phrase to be used here is "yo face". Yes this is obviously a very "mature" group of people, that somehow manage to keep each other in...the...sane.

My daily schedule has been to take soil moisture and thaw depth measurements every meter along the tram line, along with water table every 30m and water level every other day. Time is going by fast here, I wish it would slow down a little. The grass here has already began to reach to the sky. The insects now abound in annoying numbers, thats right I'm speaking to all you mosquitoes reading this blog, you better watch your back. Eggs are hatching and birds are flying, life is in the air most of all, ensuring we move forward.

Random things that have happened or need to be said:

Pluto is still a planet to me damn it!

yes there was shrinkage...

we have a moon?

The smirk of Dave still alludes me...

Sandra and Amorita will soon have a knife fight...stay tuned...maybe Adrian too

Storing food in the fridge is futile...but courageous is the one who tries...

Small trilobite-like creatures dominate the shore...

please tell me what these creatures actually are...

I miss my family...

cranes perch above my head...

there was a parade...

yes i will blog it later...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Request

A Request

Lewis Brower had told me a couple weeks back that I had a request that would be placed above all others if possible. So I told him the next day I would like to go fishing when the time came, weeks went by until one day he came in the office and told me today is the day one time chance take it or leave it. A chance to hunt bearded seals in the arctic was not one to be passed so I accepted along with Dave (who went only because of his evilness). We packed and left to Lewis’ house, when we got there Paulo and Rob were just leaving after trying a special kind of food that we would soon have. We came in through the garage to see a pair of massive walrus tusks laying on the floor, however, these did not compare to the polar bear fur that covered the wall from top to bottom. This seemed like the house of an average person considering this was what the majority of the town does…hunt. We made are move to the kitchen where Lewis was an everyday lunch with his wife, consisting of soup, crackers, and seal intestine. Of course I had to try it, it’s not every day you eat seal intestine, so at this point Lewis was instructing us on the location of the nearest trash can and restroom. I wasn’t too worried because usually it’s pretty easy for me to try new foods, so I took the cracker and it was pretty good.

We were now fed, packed and ready to hit the high seas.

The Crew: Me, Dave, Lewis, and Edmond (who was a good friend of Lewis)

It was a short drive to the dock, when we arrived there were already at least a dozen people out on the hunt already. Once there we loaded the boat into the water and set sail. At this point I have no clue what to expect while we’re gliding over the water. Lewis just told us that we are to go to the front of the boat to shoot and to shoot only in that direction, so I was like cool. When hunting seals you have to be prepared at anytime, because Lewis immediately flips the boat around towards the seal that he saw, there is always little or no warning. So after cruising along we spotted a seal, Lewis guns it and we rush to the front of the boat hoping to catch it, of course we fail and the seal gets away. We give up and head out to sea some more hoping to spot another. Along the way we pass large chunks of ice drifting in the water ranging from all shapes and sizes, and some pretty cool shapes too. The farther out we got the more ice and the more ice the more hiding places. After we get a good distance out to sea we shut off the boat and have a nice little break full of muktuk and target practice. There we were sitting peaceful in an ocean calmed by the ice. Out there the ice absorbed most of the waves so you would have slow moving water. We soon moved on for the next seal weaving in and out of the ice spotting one occasionally but losing it in the end. It was very tense and cold at the front of the boat with no window to shield your face from the freezing air, or keep your hands from becoming cold and numb. You had to be ready for at any time the seal could pop its head out of the water for some air.

There was one really close call though…

I was up at the front scouting the open water with the scope…when I spotted a bearded seal sun bathing on a slab of ice. I motioned to Lewis, and Edmond hoped up to the front to offer some assistance. I handed him the scope and took another rifle, as we creped in on the seal with his back to us. Edmond was to take the first shot and I would follow with a second. BANG, the seal flinched from the first shot, and I locked on for the second but it was too late for he had sunk into the water. Around and around we went hoping to find it but no luck. As the day drew to a close we pointed to boat to shore and jetted back home. I wasn’t disappointed at all because I still was able to have the experience of hunting over the water.

I was however freezing my ass off on the way home.