Friday, June 04, 2010

Heading to Unalaska!

Copyright (c) 1997 Wendee Holtcamp
This shot of an adult moose in Alaska was a print photo I scanned years ago pre-digital, and so I apologize about the quality. I have boxes and boxes of slides that one day I plan to get some of online. That will include the amazing shots from my month in Alaska back in 1997 when the kiddos were little (my ex and I drove there on the Alaska Highway).

It's 2:20am, and I suppose I should be asleep, but I actually love working late (or early as the case may be). Every night over the past week I've wanted to update my blog, but have been either too tired, or too busy.

The most exciting news is.... drum roll please! In a couple weeks, I will heading to the Bering Sea on board the R/V Thompson, joining a group of scientists on the Bering Sea Project, a joint project of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB). I applied for a spot on board, and got accepted as the sole journalist. In fact, I applied for the earlier trip in May, but only got a couple days notice that I was selected. So... after much mental wrangling - should I give up a chance to cross walruses off my bucket list or just go at a moment's notice? - I declined. I still hoped that I'd be selected to go on the next leg, and sure enough I was! With several weeks notice this time, I accepted, gladly.

So the flights are booked, and I'm getting all ready to go! I'm very excited to see a land that I've imagined since my childhood. One of my favorite childhood books was Island of the Blue Dolphins which I remembered as being based in the Aleutian Islands, but although the Aleuts are part of the story my memory was wrong. There is an Aleut tribe that comes to the island and I suspect there's some backstory there that is what I remember. I have checked it out from the library and plan to read it again on the boat.

Regardless, the book made me dream of this far away locale way back when, to imagine what it would be like, and now i get to see it firsthand. I also think that walruses are one of the all-time coolest animals, so despite the fact that most ice floes will be melted by mid-June, I am still hoping I may spot some swimming in the cool waters.

Another interesting fact is that I fly into Dutch Harbor, the town where the crew of the Discovery TV series Deadliest Catch are based. I don't have cable TV (I don't watch TV generally) so I had never seen the show so I watched one episode at my boyfriend's place, and it was interesting. It was cool to see how at the beginning of every show they depict Dutch Harbor on a map. The thing that cracks me up about this town, on the island called Unalaska about halfway down the Aleutian Island Chain, is the name of its airport: Emergency Field. Click on that link to Unalaska to see an absolutely stunning landscape. Also you can read about the blog of the lead scientist on board the current leg of the trip here. And I will be there in less than 2 weeks! From there the boat will go through the Bering Sea, stopping to take data on various aspects of the ecosystem, and we will end back where we started a month later.

In other news...

I now have my own blog called.... another drum roll.... The Wendee Holtcamp Report! It is a monthly blog on the Adventures in Climate Change website and it will focus on positive stories such as research and innovations by scientists, nonprofits, individuals and governments working to make a difference to curb global warming. My first article for them was the Shrimp & Oil Really Do Mix? piece on the oil spill, which was posted before I had my own forum. My latest post is called Time for a Sea Change: Can the Oilpocalypse spur lasting change, or will it just be another environmental disaster?

I just finished an article near and dear to my heart that touches on food choices, factory farming, vegetarianism. I will post some links to some of the reports that I read, which everyone should read! But not tonight. Next time!

1 comment:

Melissa Gaskill said...

Wendee, if you're looking for other books about the area, check out The Big Year, about three birders trying to see the most birds in one year. There's an island in the Aleutians that birders go to that sounds like a place no one would otherwise ever want to visit!