Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wind Day

Hey everyone! Another day another polar bear for us. We've captured three bears so far, not bad for 4 days of flying. We got really lucky yesterday because we darted the bear near a river bank and were completely out of the wind when we did our workup. We had previously caught this bear in August so it was fun for me to see her cubs again. It's a slow day in Deadhorse today, the wind kicked up to around 30-40 mph yesterday afternoon, and it's been blowing strong ever since. So, no flying today. The weather has actually been really good so far, high temperature most days have been in the mid-20s, with the low so far at 7F. I can tell you one thing though, this wind makes it feel a heck of a lot colder. The wind chills last night were below zero. Since it's kind of a down day today, I thought it would be a good time to snap some photos of the living quarters here and give you an idea of what it's like to spend time in Deadhorse.

These are the cubs that were with the bear from yesterday. They were pretty dang cute, despite being covered in dirt. Oh well, kids will be kids.



We refueled our helicopters at Kaktovik yesterday. This is a small Inupiat village not too far from Canada. I'm not sure, but I don't think there are any roads leading to this place, but there is a plane that flies in once per day. I kept trying to picture what it would be like to live there in January when there isn't any daylight. I think I'd want a good cable package (Dana Petersen photo).


The Inupiat at Kaktovik still participate in subsistance whaling. This is the bone pile from this years catch. According to Wikipedia bowheads are around 60ft in length, have the largest mouths in the world, live incredibly long (up to 200 years), and use their massive heads to bust through sea ice up to 2 ft thick to make breathing holes (Dana Petersen photo).

I finally saw an arctic fox up close when my camera was handy. This little guy was hanging around our lab space last night. The fur will thicken up and become more white as winter progresses. They are extremely well-insulated, and don't begin shivering until temperatures hit -40.



This is the living space we're in at Bald Mountain Air in Deadhorse. We're located right next to the airport, so there's always helicopters and jets coming and going. The hub of activity in Deadhorse.



I took some pretty sweet action photos of weather this morning, respectable drifting for early October. Well, maybe not for Deadhorse.


The view from out our backdoor. Not much topography once you get past the airport. Man that was a cold wind.



A NOAA Twin Otter plane that's in the hanger attached to our living space. It's currently being used for marine mammal survey flights around the arctic ocean.


This is the living room in our wee little house. Incredibly comfy furniture, a little too comfortable! We get satellite TV, but the channels are a little spotty depending on weather and time of day.


Really nice kitchen here at Bald Mountain. I would kill for a stove like this in our apartment back in Laramie.



My bedroom. The view is east out of Deadhorse, and I felt the brunt of that easterly wind last night.


Looking out my window this morning as the window panes trembled and creaked.

8 comments:

  1. B r r r r - It looks cold! What cute cubs! It feels like you are so far away from home, Clark. I think this trip will forever be in your memory. Your little house seems really cozy and hopefully warm! Take good care of yourself, Clark.

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  2. Update....the wind is finally dying down. The house is warm Tam, no worries there. Say hey to mom and dad for me!

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  3. Hey clark, looks cold! Cute bears! are they soft? anyway we miss you here so come back soon!

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  4. hello clark hi this is johordan :)

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  5. Hey Delta! In answer to your question, they are quite soft, although not quite as good as an arctic fox. Right now the bears are growing out their coats for the winter, so I'm sure they'll probably get even better in the upcoming months. One thing that struck me the other day was how long some of their guard hairs are (guard hairs make up the long outer layer of fur that protects the soft fluffy inner layer of fur that insulates). I just saw a big male that had guard hairs that were 10 inches long. Absurd. Or not if you're a polar bear.

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  6. I can tell you one thing though, this wind makes it feel a heck of a lot colder. The wind chills last clarks sandals night were below zero. Since it's kind of a down day today, I thought it would be a good time to snap some photos of the living quarters here and give you an idea of what it's like to spend time in Deadhorse.

    ReplyDelete