Friday, April 21, 2006

How do I look?

My arctic boots

THE thing to be wearing on the ice this spring...
I got them today at an ex-army place and apparently they are good down to -70 degrees. It was a slightly scarey shop. They were selling parachutes too and I thought about getting you one Dad but they were a bit bulky.

Now I have;
3 prs socks - thin pair, medium pair and hugely thick pair
long johns
fleece trousers
snowboarding trousers
3 fleeces - 2 thin, 1 very fat
2 hats that go on top of each other, a baseball hat for the sun and 2 hoods
3 prs gloves - thin, medium + fat pair
snowboarding jacket
glacier glasses with bits at the side so I don't get snow blindness
total sunblock without water in so it doesn't make my face freeze. You have to put it underneath your nose especially because sun gets reflected off the snow.

I hope it's enough. Going to Barrow tomorrow and will hopefully meet the whaling captains on Saturday. Last I heard the weather was so unpredictable they were having difficulty cutting the usual path through the ice rubble to the edge of the sea ice where they set up whaling camp. Don't know if I'll have access to a computer in Barrow. Met a nice inuit lady today who was telling me about the importance of the raven. The raven is responsible for bringing the dark and the light.

Snowy mountains from the bus

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Polar Bear sighted 2 metres away

Look how close I got! Then I punched it on the nose and it ran away.

I am in a really nice hotel in Anchorage which Julian O'H v kindly recommended 2 mins before I got on the plane. You make your own waffles for breakfast. There are loads of people in t-shirts even though my nose hurts from the cold and I can see my breath. Yikes. Will have to get harder. Think that means eating more waffles. They have the same type of green tea that I have when I'm at Big Verns at St Ouens beach in Jersey with Maya the skateboarding fairy! There are fabulous snowy moutains all around Anchorage. Which is called that because glacial silt in the harbour meant ships had to anchor in deep water. That is the only interesting/historical fact you are going to find on this blog. It gets dark at about 10pm. And I am something like 10 hours behind UK. At the moment am feeling like I am taking my equipment on holiday. I've had to get it special bags and a hairdryer to keep it warm and nearly had a heart attack when it went off to the wrong baggage thing and I need another 2 arms to carry it all. Going shopping to get it some re-useable hand warmers and hopefully a solar powered charger today. My novelty accent is going down well. Got called a beautiful brit by the bus driver and didn't have to pay! Hope that works on the planes too...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On the way

i'm in minneapolis st pauls. absolutely nothing interesting to say but there is wireless in the airport! and they are VERY big on moose here. flying to anchorage in an hour or so...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Itinery and contact details and what I'm doing here

I'm flying to Anchorage, Alaska, tomorrow Wed 19th April. Going shopping for warm stuff there, then flying to Barrow on Friday 21st.

I'll be in and around Barrow until about the 8th May when I'll go back to Anchorage and spend a few days there before flying to Edmunton on 10th. That's the start of the second, Canadian, part of my trip.

I'm planning to fly from Edmunton to Inuvik and from there hoping to get to Resolute Bay, Banks Island or Ellesmere Island. But we'll see how it goes!

I'll probably fly back from Edmunton on 31st May.

I'll be able to check for texts on my UK mobile while in the major cities. I plan to get local numbers but if I do they will also only work in major cities. I've a satphone 00 88163 1452940 for emergencies but it won't be on most of the time and is horrifically expensive to call.
Please email me!

Lulu says I should write what I'm doing here. So here goes. I've come on a fantastic travel grant you can apply for if you work where I do. The aim is to help people develop so they are better at work when they get back. You get up to two months paid off and a budget for your proposal.

My idea (and my Mum's!) was to come here and try and gather material to understand how changes of the magnitude created by climate change are affecting the psychological, social, cultural, business, legal and physical, i.e. both natural and man made, environment.

I am confused about the way climate change is being presented. The science seems to have become a matter of political partisanship rather than fact. I also think it's counterproductive to vilify big business. I think they are just a reaction to opportunities that are opening up and to consumer demand. I think it destroys the detail of the story and damages the debate.

I want to be a giant eye. I've got my DV camera and minidisc, and I want to record everything that people are saying and hopefully some of what they are feeling. When I get back I want to try to do do a big multimedia exhibition so even if people can't come and see for themselves they can imagine they have been transplanted and put in the middle of a community here, like they are eavesdropping on the conversation going on.

The travel grant thing is great because you don't have to do any work while you're here. I hope that means I can let things evolve. So all I know at the moment is that I want to talk to as many people as possible including subsistence hunters including the whalers who are very close to the changes in weather, artists who sculpt in stone while the permafrost is melting under their feet, businesses, engineers, scientists, lawyers, anyone who happens to sit next to me on the bus...

I am feeling pretty daunted though and I don't even know if my equipment will work so if you can stay in touch that will help.

Test photo polar bear + whale