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27 March, 2003

Headed North

After much anticipation and preparation I am finally on my way to Little Diomede Island, Alaska. My nervousness has turned to excitement and my focus is centered on joining up with the research team.

I would like to use my first two journals to answer two of the most common questions that I have been asked over the past several weeks. First, what did you do to get ready and what is involved in getting there. Second, WHY?


You can find much of the information and explanation on the formal training I experienced by reading my August journal entries and my visit to the University of Tennessee with my researchers in my March 7th entry.

In addition to the mentally intensive August orientation and the extremely informative visit to with Dr. Cooper and Dr. Grebmeier there is a lot of behind the scene preparation that goes relatively unnoticed.

My personal preparation was basically to follow what I learned during my two trainings and basic common sense. I tried to keep fit, keep in close contact with Dr. Cooper regarding almost daily updates and prepared my family and students for my extended absence. My equipment, Arctic outfitting and communication system was coordinated by VECO Polar Resources during the month of February.

Dr. Cooper and VECO coordinated the assembling and shipping of the research teams equipment and gear to Bering Air in Nome Alaska, which served our staging area. In Nome the equipment was collected and checked by Jim Bartlett, University of Tennessee and Dr. Vince Kelly, University of Maryland then taken to Little Diomede. Jim and Vince have been setting up the research site and equipment prior to Dr. Cooper and I arrive on March 29th.

Until then I have endured a six oíclock Quincy, Illinois departure, four planes, five airports, three times zones, about three thousand miles and nearly twelve hours of flying time in order to reach Nome, Alaska where Iíll spent about 48 hours adjusting. As I gazed out the hotel window I cannot help to wonder what exciting science adventures await just 135 miles away.

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