Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Leaving Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse

Hello friends and family!!! 
     I miss you all so much!  Seriously, the continental U.S. has never felt so far away--like it's on another planet or something. I finally have a morning to myself and (after sleeping a really long time and having a slow breakfast) am so happy to get to update you all with pictures from my continuing Alaskan fieldwork adventure.  I'm at the Toolik Field Station now but just have to share some of the amazing views we saw on the southbound drive from Prudhoe Bay, but first, a few last pics from Deadhorse, John, and me too :)

    My team collected 3 solid days worth of measurements on greenhouse gas flux at the air-sea interface on the Beaufort Sea and Harrison Bay.  We had fairly calm seas, I didn't get sea sick, and we saw a polar bear!!  The captain is hopefully going to send me a good photo he got with his zoom camera lens.  We sighted the bear on Thetis Island (really a sandbar) where we had anchored overnight right after I stumbled grogglily up the stairs into our kitchen/living room/laboratory on the first morning of the cruise. The bear definietly smelled the bacon that John P was cooking for breakfast!!  He perked up his nose and starting looking around curiously.  Needless to say, we peaced out pretty quick.  I loved my first research cruise!  It is really hard work, but thrilling all the same.

       After a full morning of de-rigging and unloading our bulky equipment from our little (55ft) boat on Friday, we drove our full-to-the-brim flatbed truck to the Aurora Hotel!  I had multiple hot showers, drank lots of hot tea, ate lots of fruits, veggies, and cereal, ran on the treadmill and watched movies in their snazzy fitness room, and took full advantage of the automated and complimentary laundry machines.

Showered and wearing freshly laundered clothing!
 We rented a truck in Prudhoe to drive our gear down to Toolik Lake, where our next research awaited us.  We'll be driving it back on Saturday evening and flying out of the Deadhorse terminal on Sunday a.m.
John and our red pickup truck in front of the Aurora

A perfect pic for an essay titled, My Visit to an Arctic Oilfield!
 Ironically, it took us forever to get gas in preparation for our drive to Toolik.  We drove around for an hour before we found the general store where we could get a gas can and before we found one of the few inconspicuous filling stations in "town." (Deadhorse cannot really be called a cafes, restarurants, stoplights, paved roads, houses..just a lot of impermanent housing, trucks, and behometh oil structures).
Lovely sign, right?
Finally found a gas pump!!

 We were finally ready to head south for Toolik, which I was really looking forward to!
Not a great picture of The Greater White-Fronted Goose

Great colors on the tundra, with a backdrop of industry

A flock of Cackling Geese--they are smaller than Canada Geese, which are not found here

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