Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Barrow photos #1

Hey, I'm playing catch-up here! Internet access in the village of Wainwright led me to the Alak School (preschool through high school), so I'm staying after school to post our Barrow photos. Wainwright photos will have to wait until we get to Palmer on Friday.

Okay, I got to touch real whale blubber. It was out by the old airport where they butchered the fall whale. A piece of blubber had fallen off as they hauled the bones out to the bone pile away from town to keep the bears away from the people.

 Behind me is the Arctic Ocean—frozen now, of course.

There are whale skulls all over town, like sculptures.

 Even though this photo is blurry, you can see how large the whale skull is.

And notice how red my eye is after I touched the whale blubber and inadvertently rubbed my eye. My finger smelled like fish oil, so I guess I got it in my eye.

Back up a day to Fairbanks. On our way to the airport, our driver from Chena Hot Springs Resort stopped so we could photograph the Alaska Pipeline above ground.

 This is a common photo, taken to look like I'm holding up the pipeline.

This is just outside of Fairbanks.

Pretty impressive.

Back in Barrow. This is the football field press box. Barrow came in second in their division in the state high school football playoffs this year. They used to play on gravel, but Cathy Parker raised money for an artificial turf, and they've had it 5 years. It's blue like the University of Idaho's.

 You can't tell now because of the snow. Football is played in August and September.

 Another view of the Arctic Ocean out by the football field. It is out by the old military airport, and they have armed guards at each corner of the field during games to keep the polar bears away.

 These are summer cabins with palm trees made of baleen (the whale's gills). Families use these cabins for camping in the summer by the ocean.

 These are the tracks of the big front end loader that carried the whale bones out to the boneyard.

 This is the boneyard. As you can see, it's pretty far away.

The beautiful sunset occurred about 2:00 in the afternoon when we were in Barrow.

 This is out by the airport near the boneyard. Farther beyond is Point Barrow and the Wiley Post-Will Rogers crash site. There's no road, so you can only go there on tours in the summer.

Steve and Vanni's school car. That little speck is the boneyard.

This is the whale blubber I touched.

Steve noticed it because of the tracks out to the boneyard and the blood on the ground.

 You can see the blubber in the tracks.

 The Arctic Ocean, actually the Chukchi Sea. From Barrow it's only about 500 miles to Russia!

 A whale skull.

 The moon was visible during the few hours of daylight. We were there Nov. 18-22. On Nov. 20 the sun no longer rose above the horizon. The sky just lightens for a couple of hours each noon.

 The football field.

 Scoreboard on the football field.

 Two whale skulls next to the Welcome to Barrow sign announcing that you are at the "Top of the World."
 This is the above-ground utilador where the electrical and gas lines go across town.

 These are fuel storage tanks outside of town.

 Low-lying fog forced us to return to town because we couldn't see anything.

 This is the satellite farm. Everything has to come from "outside" the North Slope--Internet, TV, etc. Construction materials and cars come by barge in the summer. Groceries come by plane year around.

 The site of a prehistoric native village in Barrow only exists today as mounds that have collapsed. These mounds were early dwellings.

 Barrow has no stop lights--only stop signs. When Steve first went to the North Slope 30 years ago, there we no street signs nor street names. Now all of the streets are gravel. We even saw a road grader clearing the snow off the streets.

 This is Steve and Vanni's apartment building. The school owns apartments for all of the teachers to lease.

 This is the famous whalebone arch near Brower's Cafe. Brower,  a Russian trader was the first white man on the slope.

 Carl and Susan Jacob at the whalebone arch. It actually is made of the jawbones of a whale set on end.

 Steve Culbertson and his wife Vanni Prichard

 Brower's Cafe

 Notice the spelling of Ice Bug lettuce and King Crap

 Brower's Cafe is an historic landmark.

 These are Brower's whaling tools. That's baleen at the top. It's like the gills of a whale that strain out the krill it likes to eat.

 This is the natural gas pipeline. Barrow has natural gas from a depression where a meteor hit.

The utilador under ground has these units, large enough for a man to walk through, to protect the electrical and utilities lines buried in the permafrost.

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