crane hoisting incubator frame
    We used the crane to load and unload some very large pieces of equipment. Here, Tony and Casey are helping to transfer a frame to hold an incubator onboard.
    We docked in Nome at 9:00 am (0900 hours on a ship) on Monday, August 15, 2022. Things immediately got really busy. The scientists packed all of their samples – bags full of mud, Ziplocs holding invertebrates, and test tubes full of plankton – into coolers. On deck, the crew was using the crane to offload large items, such as the giant metal box holding the multicore. On land, people were playing real-life Tetris in a Conex (also known as a shipping container or a van, depending on which part of the world you are from). This Conex was full of items needed for the biogeochemical research about to happen on Leg 2. We had to remove some truly gigantic pieces of equipment, and stow it on the ship, while simultaneously removing scientific supplies from the boat and putting them in the Conex. There was not space in the Conex for the Leg 1 equipment until the Leg 2 objects were in the boat, and there was not space in the boat until the Leg 1 items onboard were offloaded. Pretty tricky! We also had to take all the trash we had generated over four weeks and find space for it in the (very small) dumpsters at the harbor.

    Meanwhile, a massive gravel-moving operation was underway, and gold dredges were motoring off to vacuum gold off of the seafloor. The Nome harbor is a busy place!

    Gold Dredge in Nome Harbor
    A gold dredge steams out of the harbor to try its luck hunting for gold on the seafloor off of Nome.

    gravel operation
    The Port of Nome is a busy place. All morning trucks brought gravel out to the port, where bulldozers were standing by to pile it up. Behind the gravel truck you can see a shrink-wrapped helicopter.
    By afternoon, we had finished our work. We posed for a farewell group picture and then the folks who were flying out that night headed to the airport. I wasn’t returning home until the next day, so I had some time to pick up groceries in Nome and say my goodbyes.

    Norseman II Leg 1 team
    Amidst our rush to prepare the ship before folks had to catch planes, we posed for a team photo.

    In the News

    We came across two Alexandrium blooms over the course of our voyage. The scientists put out alerts about each of these blooms to inform community members of the possible risks. The Nome Nugget, our local newspaper, ran an article about the blooms as well! After a week or so, many people were talking about the issue. It was great to see how quickly the information could get into the community.

    Back Home

    As soon as I landed in Brevig, my life became a whirlwind of picking salmonberries (also known as cloudberries or aqpiit, depending on where in the world you are from) preparing for the school year, and cross-country practice.

    I have now been home for two weeks. The salmon berries have passed and the community is busy picking blueberries. The school year started on August 24 and students and staff alike are re-learning all the routines. The cross-country team boated to their first meet in Teller on August 26th. Things are certainly busy, but it is a lot of fun.

    Grantley Harbor
    Since getting home, I have spent a lot of time picking berries. One of my favorite places to go is along Grantley Harbor. The best way to get there is by four wheeler (known as an ATV on the east coast, as a Honda in northern Alaska, and as a quad bike in some other countries)

    Who's Who on the Norseman II?

    After I had interviewed everyone on board, Kerry decided it was my turn. On our final day, he interviewed me and then wrote up a short biography.


    When Brevig Mission teacher Rebecca Siegel decided to join us on the Harmful Algal Bloom research cruise, she probably didn’t quite know what she was signing up for, nor did the scientists know what to expect from her. Fortunately, her willingness to ask insightful questions to better understand our mission and get her “hands wet” proved to be invaluable for the science operations. From her dedicated years in Alaska, she was able to convey to us a better understanding of the local communities. Her extensive knowledge of the local birds and fauna (animals) is remarkable. Rebecca first learned of the mystical state and people of Alaska while in grade school just outside of Boston, MA. Eventually she acted on her desire to learn more about this fascinating country and began working summers on a small farm north of Anchorage in the town of Palmer. With a taste of the wild, she ultimately moved to Homer where she got her first experience in teaching while working on an educational outreach program (think Alaskan style summer camp). While an enjoyable experience, she soon realized the limitations of the program and decided to go back to school and earn her Masters of Arts in Teaching at Boston University. Yearning to again return to the country, she then applied for teaching positions and began her life in Brevig Mission. Although she does find the time to return home in the summers to reconnect with her family and the natural world she was raised, this will be the 5th year returning to the village imparting her wisdom and guidance while continuing to learn as she goes. On behalf of the science party, we thank you for your willingness to learn and assist wherever needed and taking the time to get to know each of us.

    Rebecca Siegel
    Your friendly neighborhood PolarTREC teacher

    Sitaisaq (Brevig Mission)
    Weather Summary
    43 F
    Wind Speed


    Judy Fahnestock

    What a lovely biography! That's a keeper. It sounds like the team really appreciated all that you had to offer them. Great job!