August 26, 2012 Nome, Alaska
Dr. Jackie Grebmeier, the scientist with whom I'll be working, and I arrived at approximately the same time in Anchorage last night, and as we headed to our hotel Jackie told me stories of her science cruise on the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy. She and her gear had been flown by helicopter off of the Healy in Barrow, just in time to catch her flight to Anchorage where we met. Compared to Jackie's schedule of the past few days, mine looks like a walk in the park. We checked into our room, and she was asleep in less than10 minutes. Even as we traveled to Nome today, she was working to wrap up from the Healy cruise and, once the Khromov arrives tomorrow, she'll start again.
Nome, Alaska, latitude 640 :30'N, longitude 1660:35'W, is an interesting city on the tip of the Seward Peninsula, jutting into the Bering Sea. Although the current population is approximately 3,500, it was much higher during the gold rush years. After gold was discovered her in 1898, the rush was on, and population estimates were as high as 20,000 between 1900 and1909. You might recognize Nome as the city where the Iditarod sled dog race ends, but you might not know that the Iditarod commemorates an important event in the history of the area. In the winter of 1928, a diphtheria epidemic was sweeping through the Inuit population of Nome, and blizzard condition didn't allow planes carrying the lifesaving serum to fly from Anchorage. Instead, the serum was transported from Anchorage to Nenana by train and then carried by a relay of dog sled teams to Nome.