Jam packed day
As we begin to wrap up our Arctic journey, things are going by quickly! The day started off with our PolarConnect Live Event from Ukpik. Thank you for all who participated!
Immediately afterwards, we were off to get the boat ready for journey! The trip is to repair a weather station on Iko Bay. The UTEP boat docked along the coast of the Iko Bay.
The weather stations help gather ground data for the remote sensing. The rain gauge stopped collecting data and we will go and check to see if there what the problem is. It is a cold day, but I am wearing several layers and the Mustang Jacket, so I am warm and toasty. This site is best reached by sea, only taking about an hour, otherwise it would be a 6-7 hour ATV ride. As we arrive, we secure the boat to make sure the boat doesn't float off – that would be BAD. The erosion of along the coast of Iko Bay.
We are greeted by a young caribou! It prances off but sticks around during the repairs. It can be dangerous as polar bears like to eat caribou. We become more concerned when we find that the weather station was damaged by a bear! The repairs take a couple of hours and we head out. The Iko Bay weather station takes on some damage by a bear!
After a quick dinner we head out to Point Barrow. If we are going to see a polar bear, I'm told this is the place it would be. Polar bear tracks along the beach at Point Barrow.
The weather clears up for a cool sunny night ride. The Point is a 45 minute ATV ride out. We don't exactly go in for a polar plunge – more like a polar foot soak. We weren't equipped for the plunge. It is as cold as it sounds, but it's the Arctic! The point where we stop is the exact point where the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea meet. The waves are a more active, due to the fact that we see the collision between the warm and cold (more saline) waters meet. The area is nutrient-rich which makes it a great place to find whales, seals, and polar bears! As we approach the Point, we're stopped by some fishermen who let us know that there is a male polar bear a mile out in the ocean. We didn't quite make it to the end, as the bear could reach us in a little as 15 minutes. Fishermen retrieving their fishing nets along Point Barrow.
We turn around and we stop for a couple of minutes to snap some pictures of bear prints! It's amazing! We don't get back until around 10:30 and it's time to sleep and get ready for the next day!