Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 13

Today was an interesting day. I could barely get out of bed and it took several attempts before I managed to set my feet on the ground. Physically I felt great, but 12 straight days of work averaging 10-12 hours a day, as well as severe dehydration and insomnia had taken a serious toll. I looked over and saw that my roommate was in a similar situation. I almost called a stand down day as I wasn't sure if either of us were fit for duty. After a decent breakfast of eggs benedict, fruit, juice, and lots of coffee, we decided that working was better than sitting in Deadhorse all day. Hell, dying is better than sitting in Deadhorse all day. So we rallied and wandered over to the helicopter hangar.

Casey in the chopper

It was a beautiful day, sunny but cold and windy. The wind was blowing in off the arctic and it was cold. However it kept the mosquitoes away and it was the first day we could work without wearing our bug shirts. What a difference this made in comfort and morale.

The crew

After flying about 45 miles out along the edge of the Beaufort Sea, we set down at our first stream. It was so nice to be able to work without my head encased in mesh.

Paul in a cold creek

Soon the helicopter picked us up and moved us to our next site, informed us that this would be our last site, and told us to be ready for pickup at 4:00. As we were landing a pair of jaegers were circling and I managed to get a picture of one of them.

Well, we were done by 4:00 but the helicopter was nowhere in sight. Up here, you never really know when or if things will actually get done, which is why we have a massive survival kit including food, a tent, stove, sleeping bags, and enough clothing to handle any condition. We relaxed for a while.

But soon we got tired of laying around doing nothing, so we did what any sensible field crew would do when stuck in the middle of nowhere with no idea whether they are going to make it back to camp.... we played hackey sack.

Casey, Matt, and Paul

Me and Casey

Eventually, the helicopter showed up and took us home. Along the way I was able to get some great shots of the ice shelf. Tomorrow, provided we aren't too sore from hackey, er uh work, we'll fly again. Hopefully the helicopter won't leave us stranded for two hours, but who knows?

The ice shelf

Another day on the north slope, we'll see what tomorrow has in store.

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