Thursday, May 04, 2006

Incredible incredible

A lead opened so we went out last night. It was pretty exciting.

This is the compass they put on the ice. If it starts moving it means the ice has become loose and you are floating off and need to be rescued.

This is the tent we all squish into. Except for those on polar bear watch. I was let off that for my first night but we had to get up really really early so not much sleep (also lots of snoring).

Today they set up the boat at the edge of the lead and waited for whales. I've never seen anywhere so beautiful. Saw a seal stick its head out of the water. Riley told me loads more about the spiritual side of the hunt. They believe the whales are reborn and some of them give themselves up voluntarily. There were prayers being said over the VHF(?) radio and people chatting to their mums. He also said things have changed a great deal since he first went out as a boy. He says the ice is much thinner. Apparently sometimes beluga whales come jumping along the lead for hours. Have ALWAYS wanted to see a beluga. Think I want to be Barrow correspondent.

Then the ice started coming in again and we had to pack up in a hurry before it hit our side and caused a pressure ridge and sort of ice-quake - very dangerous. So we came back to Barrow. I am having to listen really hard and do exactly what I'm told (new experience...) and be alert and try to notice things on the trail, in the ice and clouds and generally not be a dozy idiot which I am finding quite hard... Not really getting a chance to record anything - had to help and be ready to pack up the whole camp very quickly at any time and too scared of getting in the way. But they were kind and after we got back they said I 'did good out there... for a first timer'. Phew. A stronger north-east wind is expected Thursday so a bigger lead should open up more quickly. Here's Billy pulling the boat on the way back.

Had caribou soup for dinner. Really tired now.


Blogger slummy mummy said...

ice fairy, your blog and your pictures rock. so happy that you are having such an amazing adventure. good luck and let us know if you need anything x x x

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Home said...

Really lucky to be able to join them. I didn't realise such small boats used still. Great photos. Keep at it. It will get easier!

9:10 PM  
Anonymous richa said...

Ice fairy, what are the boats made out of, and how do they skim over the ice .. tell more
And pray, precisely what is a lead??

3:37 AM  
Blogger Ice Fairy said...

Most boats are seal skin but the polar bears like to come and chew on those and they need replacing every year so my crew have a rubber one. It's tied onto a sled. The lead is where the arctic ocean starts to melt in spring. The ice splits and a water channel appears and the whales migrate down it. The lead we were on has closed up again so we're waiting for a new one... xxxx

5:33 AM  
Blogger Artist Laurel said...

You updated your links... Thanks for linking to us. So have you been on Polar Bear watch yet?

cuz Phil, Laurel, Q and K

3:33 AM  
Blogger Ice Fairy said...

Noooo we are still waiting to go out again. Getting nervous... xxx

4:52 AM  
Anonymous Anne said...

Hi, Doreen and all the family there in Barrow. I have been lookingat erverything on the website, but have also messed up the connection. Lukehasnowfixed it again so ... wow! caribou soup - I make a lot of soup myself - but more often vegetable. I was very impressed by that shopping list somedays ago, but I wasn't sure how many people it was to serve. I would imagine that migrations of animals are starting now that the winter is over - is that right?
It must be a very beautiful placeto live.I haven't heard yet if Doreen has been able to go out in the boat. I have read a book about the area called 'Arctic Dreams' but it was printed in 1986. I hope all is well with you all. Best wishes - I will keep on looking at the site to keepup with you all. love Anne

7:00 PM  
Blogger Ice Fairy said...

Hello! Julia and Billy say 'hello Mom!!' A new washer and dryer have arrived today so that is providing some distraction from the waiting. Yes the migrations are starting. I saw some ducks. But only a few so far xxx

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site. Keep working. Thank you.

6:58 PM  

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