6 September, 1999
Monday, September 6th, 1999
Emperor Geese/Bear Tracks/Flight to Barrow
We woke up tired and sore from the day before, riding on the zodiac boats and banding the Steller's Eiders. Luckily, it was just a very mellow day. Linda from United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) drove us out to a part of Cold Bay we had not yet seen, Mortensen's Lagoon (I am not sure of that name, but it is something like that). We thought we would see bear, but instead we saw great scenery of snow capped mountains, wildflowers, and Emperor Geese. Native people of Alaska have depended on emperors for food for a long time. Now their population, like the Steller's Eider, is really low (55,000 counted in 1999). They reproduce really slowly, and do not mate until they are 3 years old. Only 1 in 10 goslings survive their first year , as many are eaten by foxes and gulls. Like the Steller's Eider, some people still hunt them, even though it is against the law. Because there are not many left, people get really excited when they see them. Linda from USFWS immediately got out a notepad and paper and wrote down how many family groups and individuals she saw. We then drove back to town and had to cross over Russell Creek (full of spawning salmon) with the truck to get there. The night before, someone had left hotdogs in the food shack that was set up for the Silver Salmon Derby, and we saw where the bears got in and tore the shack up. The teeshirts that were for sale were spread out and shredded all across the tundra nearby. We saw the tracks in the mud, but no close up bear encounters for us! After we ate lunch, for the final time, at the restaurant, we caught the plane back to Anchorage, then to Fairbanks, Deadhorse, and finally Barrow. We arrived in Barrow at 11pm. Deadhorse is an amazing place, and we were able to spend about 45 minutes there, which really is more than enough time. It is on the Arctic Ocean just like Barrow, and it is where the Trans-Alaska pipeline starts. Since I wrote about the pipeline in a journal entry from June, I won't write about it now. But Deadhorse is just a work camp for men working at the pumpstations. They stay out there for many weeks on end, with not much to do, but they get paid very well. There is one hotel and a tiny store and restaurant, like Cold Bay, but no school because there are no children there. Men just fly there to work for weeks or months at a time, and then fly out to Anchorage for a couple week break before they have to return. We got off the plane there, and since I didn't have my boarding pass with me (the flight attendant said I didn't really need it), I ALMOST didn't get to get back on the plane. It was a scary moment, that is for sure! BUT, last minute, they let me back on, and we made it to Barrow safely. I forgot to mention, there were only 4 rows on the plane!
If you have any questions, please write to Anu and I! Anu wrote the journal for Sept 7th, although she really didn't get to finish. We are trying to put in the pictures yet tonight for the journals, but I am not sure if it is going to happen or not!
My 9th grade Earth Science class, please add the following data to your graphs:
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit):
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