Summer in Seward, Alaska
Hello! It's time for an update that's been a long time coming. To decrease the chances of coronavirus arriving in Antarctica and overwhelming the medical facilities there, many research programs have been canceled for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. PolarTREC participants like myself were told that our trips would be put on hiatus for now, and only essential personnel would be heading to the ice this year. Of course, that was disappointing to hear, but I do understand the logic behind the decision. Antarctica is currently the only continent without any coronavirus cases and in order to keep it that way, the number of people arriving on the continent will have to be limited. While it was difficult to hear the news that our research trip was canceled for 2020, I still have the hope that we will be able to go to the icy continent in 2021 and explore larval development of sea spiders and nudibranchs in response to changing sea temperatures.
So, rather than heading to Antarctica this fall, I replaced Antarctica with Alaska this summer. I have been working as a first mate on sightseeing boat tours out of Seward, AK for the past 8 summers, and this summer was no different. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of tourists/how much work I'd have this summer, with all of the travel restrictions throughout the country, but I just wanted to get out of Florida and up to Alaska to my "happy place". We did have some tourists visiting, but numbers were definitely down compared to prior years. I was still able to get out on the water pretty often, seeing glaciers, wildlife, and amazing scenery. I also had time to do some fishing for salmon, halibut, and rockfish – YUM!
Instead of photos from McMurdo Station, we've got photos of Alaskan glaciers to suffice for the moment!
I hope you are staying safe with all that is going on in the world, and let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for reading.
Question of the Day
What causes glaciers to have that lovely blue color? Answer in the comments below!