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Organization, Organization, Organization

BARROW, ALASKA– It is 1am mountain time, which my body still seems to be on, but about 11pm here in Barrow. I arrived yesterday evening after taking 4 separate flights over about 13 hours. My main advisor and I were met at the airport by a logistics coordinator for Arctic research, and after getting settled in, we had dinner with some fellow students from my program who now live in Barrow.

The hut which is my home away from home for several days in Barrow.

Inside, the curve of the walls stands out. I am enjoying the last couple days on shore before heading to the ship.

This morning we woke to a thick dusting of snow which did not melt as the day warmed. We are staying at the facilities of the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium, or BASC, which is a kind of clearinghouse for many research projects that are based in this area. The area also houses the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife, and I?isa?vik College.

This bowhead whale skull stands in front of the college. Subsistence hunting of bowhead whales continues to be an important cultural feature of this area. The autumn hunt begins tomorrow here in Barrow – perhaps over 30 people will launch in small boats from the beach outside of town in the morning, seeking to find and land a bowhead whale.

Our study is the lead project on the science portion of the cruise on the US Coast Guard Polar Sea which begins tomorrow. Several other projects and a total of 24 personnel are involved in the science portion, and in the last three days, everyone has arrived in Barrow and found temporary accommodations. Tomorrow morning I will get up early and walk over to a small warehouse with a large load scale, and, hopefully, beginning at about 715am, each person will come by and we can count, weigh, and label their baggage. Two helicopters and one small boat will be used to ferry people and luggage to the icebreaker, which is planned to be anchored several miles offshore to the west. Simultaneously, 32 people and all of their luggage will be disembarked from the ship. After several meetings and rounds of organization today, the schedule seems to be on track.

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