Friday, December 12, 2008

North Slope news: 12 Dec. 2008

Cameron and Chiu now have a satellite phone. Cameron called yesterday to test the phone, and it worked just fine.

Cameron sent me an email yesterday (presumably from the local library). He'll be emailing me some photos soon (which I'll post here), and he'll soon provide more specific details on the plan.

Below is an email comment from Cameron:

"Right now we're settling into the 'Polar Bear Theatre', an
interestingly-named and thoroughy run-down and ramshackle structure used by sea-ice scientists when they visit here in the summer. But we have no complaints, we have a shower and a stove, and it's over 50F inside, which is wonderful compared to the -10F outside. The moon is full or near it; this morning I watched it slowly blaze up white as fog rising from the sea ice blew across its disc, then it dimmed and then vanished, swallowed by a low, black, fast-moving cloud. Dramatic scenes. A seal-hunter just went by on a snow machine. Dogs are barking at something somewhere.

Chiu and I are going to head out now to buy supplies; ammunition for the polar-bear deterrent (a gruesome 12-guage that neither of us is interested in having to use), stove fuel, jellybeans (they keep me going on the march)...and a bell. A single bell to be hung on a line we're devising to encircle the camp and act as a polar bear warning. No, I'm not too convinced by this contraption, either. But you do your best and then get skating as they say.

Tomorrow AM it's off to the hangar to get my sled, stored here since my last visit, then spend the day packing. Saturday I'll do a community talk (on Neanderthals and what we know about them that we didn't know even 10 years ago) and Sunday or Monday at latest we're off across the snow and headed for Iko Bay, where all my attention will shift to the exact formation of the bluffs and the wind conditions...if everything is perfect, I'll try to fly the paraglider...and I imagine that if we wait long enought, some time the conditions will actually settle in...OK that's it for now -- off to the trading post. Cheers, Cameron"

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