Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Change and the summer

It's been three weeks since I arrived in Barrow, and we've been extremely busy. Usually when Craig (Dr. Tweedie) is here, he has us work every day of the week.
But it is really awesome when I think back and realize the amount of work we got done . He took us flying in a small aircraft one day so we could get some good aerial photos of our Biocomplexity site. The flight was amazing; the sea ice look so beautiful from up there!

Craig left on the 14th of June, but the day before he decided to buy us all dinner, so h
e took us to a small restaurant called Arctic Pizza. Although Barrow is a very expensive place to live in, I didn't think that the pizza at this restaurant was too pricey. Sometimes at the grocery store you can see items priced as much as three time what they cost in El Paso! Anyways, this pizza place was very nice; they had our table reserved on the second floor where there is a great view of the Arctic ocean. There is still plenty of ice stuck to the shore, but you could see the open ocean not too far from the shore. There were two seals out on the ice, and Craig swears he saw a polar bear through his binoculars but I never got to see it :( After dinner we went out to a cliff by the coast and took a nice group picture of the UTEP crew, and also one with the Florida International University crew. Craig's departure meant we had a few days to take it

easy afterwards, and we did. There was one night when Bob Hollister, an old colleague of Craig's, decided to take some of his students out to "The Point", or Point Barrow, which is the northernmost point of Alaska. This trip was pretty fun because we are stationed technically in Brwowersville, (as Amorita pointed out, a LOT of people's last name around here is Brower), and so there is a road up there, but after you reach the 3 (on the map), it's pretty much off-roading...what a great excuse to use the four-wheelers! Since there were many of us going and not enough ATVs, we had to share, boo! J/k, at first I was a bit scared since those vehicles are only meant for one person, but after a while you get used to it. Paulo was a great driver! He took us over the ramps when everyone else was too chicken to do it :P We rode all the way to Plover point, and took some pictures and looked around at all the whale bones all over the place. We were able to find some sea shells and a couple of what seemed to be seal bones.

Before we drove back to Point Barrow, I had the pleasure of riding with a giant whale vertebra poking me on the side of my thigh! Amorita just HAD to pick up a giant vertebra and take it back to the lab, it was great fun. When we stopped at Point Barrow I finally got to see up close this plant that was growing right on the gravel! I had spotted it on the way in, it had these gorgeous white flowers and I just couldn't believe that it was growing there. This is also where Hiroki's study site is and it is a very beautiful place to do research at :D We saw some birds but luckily no polar bears. These areas are the ones where there is more of a chance of an encounter, and we always carry a shotgun with us when we're close to the coast, but nobody wants to be in a situation like that. It was a beautiful night, and let me note that these shots were taken at around 11:30pm, aahh yes, the Land of the Midnight Sun indeed! Well, I'll post this blog for now and I'm going to start on a new blog was just looking too pathetic! I'll end this with a nice macro shot (thank you awesome camera!), of the angiosperm I was talking about :) I was going to crop it, etc. but I'm too lazy!
Saxifraga caespitosa


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