26 August, 2000

Woke up at 11:30AM in time for lunch. Everyone had slept in after the long night's work. We made plans for John, Wendy and Frank to attempt to fly to Kap York. This was the second study site and since the weather was precarious, it was decided to quickly go down and get the samples in a one day trip. We needed to check with Greenlandic air and make sure that the helicopter and pilots would be available. After rechecking with Jack Stephens, the Thule airbase meteorologist, about the weather, John called Jim Paulson at Greenlandic Air. But Jim said that the flight would be impossible on Sunday because the pilot had already logged in his quota for the week. The next available time frame would be Wednesday, which was our scheduled time to depart Qaanaq. Our movements, like the rest of Greenland were tied to weather conditions and safety issues. One of the attributes of a great hunter in this area is an awareness of what weather is approaching. Everyone seems to be keenly aware of the importance of being able to predict possible conditions. To take chances is foolhardy. Someone on my visit told me the name that the Inuit have for the north pole is place where one eats one's dogs. It emphasizes their experience that to go there is a life and death proposition. To eat one's dogs, which would be a hunter's transport home, would mean he was battling starvation. They must have thought the early explorers foolhardy in their attempts to reach that place.

The work ahead of us was to dissect out the otoliths and so we removed from the freezer some of the heads to thaw them out. I wanted to visit the schools, so I called Nanarana to see if she could arrange a visit. I spent the day filing my pictures and experimenting with a microscope that showed the image on the computer screen. Two little girls were visiting their grandmothers at the Alderhous became my companions through out the day and we explored the way things looked under the scope. They were so enthused, hopefully I will have time to take it with me to the school. I worked with John counting fish eggs from the spawning females. Just as he suspected the egg count was lower in the smaller fish that he guessed were residents in the lake. Yet the egg size was the same. In the evening after the kitchen cleared out we went to work dissecting out the otoliths and then early to bed this night. The night was broken up again by the howling dogs. They are staked out in groups during the summer months and although they do not bark, one would start to howl and the others would join in harmony as if serenading each other for entertainment. It all ended as abruptly as it started leaving silence and me able to fall back to sleep.

Fish thawing underneath my bed at the Alderhous.

Me and my two helpers.

Each room in the Alderhous has this small door to a box enclosure (seen outside the window) to place items one wants kept cold.

The sled dog chorus line.

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