August 8, 2015

A little closer to home

After spending a week in Alaska, Ryan and I met up with Fen in Anchorage on August 3rd, and the three of us (and other cruise participants) flew to Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, AK on the 4th. We flew in a Saab 340B aircraft, which is a fairly small plane, only having room for 30 passengers. To share what our flight was like, I placed a camera in a window, taking one photo every 30 seconds during the 3-hour flight.

Our flight to Dutch Harbor on 8/4/15, before beginning the 2015 U.S. GEOTRACES Arctic Expedition.

When we landed in Dutch, the first thing I noticed was that we were surrounded by beautiful rocky green hills and small mountains, which surprised me since the last thing I expected was to describe this place as beautiful. In addition to being surrounded by the hills, bald eagles are everywhere on the island, which are commonly spotted soaring in the sky or perched on top of buildings and light posts. Another treat on the island is wild salmonberries, which grow on a roadside hill that we pass on our walk to and from the Healy each day, and this morning I picked a handful to munch on as I walked towards the port.

A bald eagle on a light post.
Wild salmonberries make a tasty morning snack!
View of the port. The Healy can be seen on the right, and a sign for it can be seen on the hill to the left.
Aboard the Healy, everyone is busy setting up their lab spaces, which you’re already familiar with from my first post, Resting Easier. One new thing that recently happened is that berthing has been assigned, which excites me since the Healy is finally starting to feel a little more like home. We aren’t allowed to move into our rooms yet, but I managed to take a sneak peak of my stateroom to get an idea of what my living situation is going to be like over the next couple months. Since I have two roommates and are shifts are unlikely to overlap (I know Ryan and I will overlap by 4 hours), it’s unlikely that I will spend time in my room besides the time that I sleep because when I’m awake, my roommates will likely be sleeping.

The door to Ryan’s, Steve’s and my stateroom.
A desk and the beds in our stateroom. It looks like I'll be sleeping on the top bunk!
Our stateroom is much bigger than I expected. A second desk, a television (for monitoring deck/winch operations and station arrival), filing cabinets (for clothes?) and a sink.
I’d love to write more about Dutch Harbor and the Healy so far, but time (and the internet connection -- this) is limited on the island before the cruise, so I’m going to stop here. I hope you enjoy my writing and my photos! My next post will be from the Bering Sea! I hope you look forward to it as much as I do!