August 14, 2010 Terns, Guillemots, and Bears, Oh My!...Yet Again... (A story told in pictures)
Alaska is full of surprises and I had absolutely no idea of what today would hold. At my PolarTREC orientation, I was told to have no expectations of how things should be, and now I know why.
Before he let me on the boat, Lewis made sure that I knew that the ocean can be very dangerous and that I had to do whatever he said because my life was in his hands. Sometimes the winds and waves get really bad and when people panic the boat can capsize.
We hopped on the boat and began our trip to Cooper Island.
As we neared Cooper Island we passed by a polar bear.
When we got to Cooper Island, we met George Divoky, who has been researching Black Guillemots for over 30 years.
He spends every summer researching the birds because their habitat has been changing with the retreat of sea ice. The birds fish near and under the sea ice. Since the sea ice is depleating, it's getting harder for Black Guillemots to find food for their young.
The young chicks grow quickly as they eat the fish their parents bring for them.
Black Guillemots nest under shell crates left by the US Navy after the Korean War.
Sometimes nature is not always pretty...remember that polar bear you just saw? He was leaving the island after having supper last night.
On our way back to Barrow we saw some sea ice and the PolarTREC mascot...the Arctic tern!
If you want to learn more about George's research, he has a webpage: http://cooperisland.org/
I think it was a good day...THANKS, LUIS!