Friday, October 19, 2007

Sea Ice and the view from the Tundra Garden

One can stand in the Tundra Garden (or in my front door out of the wind) and look at the Chukchi Sea a couple of hundred yards away. We're finally getting some sea ice in the near-shore. It was fairly cold for a few days and some new ice was forming, but strong east winds blew it off. For the last few days ice has been showing up from somewhere to the north & east. It's small chunks, but they have 6 inches or more thickness, so they're not brand new. This is really late. Normally by mid-October there should be shore-fast ice. I've been working on a project involving the shipwrecks of an entire whaling fleet lost in 1871 due to ice entrapment in early September.

Yesterday, a walrus came riding by on the ice (it's the dark spot on the ice). For the last several weeks, huge herds of walruses have been beaching themselves along the Chukchi Sea coast at various spots. The females and calves normally stay with the ice in this area, but it pulled back so far this summer that it wasn't over waters where they could find food. They need to be able to dive and find clams & such, but the ice was over much deeper waters, so they had to swim for it.


Gardenista said...

Hmmm. I think I get depressed by the short season and I'm only just north of the 55th! I guess it will be a long time before you see green again. Good luck tucking in for winter in the tundra garden.

Sue Swift said...

I feel guilty - here we've still got warm, sunny days. Were you born in Alaska or did you move there later - if so, it must have taken some getting used to. I lived in Finland for a year and couldn't adapt at all. not because of the cold - but the lack of light. it made me very, very depressed.

AnneBrygger said...

I was born in Wisconsin, grew up in upstate NY, and lived in the Philadelphia area and Denmark before moving to Barrow. I've always been a bit of a night person, so the dark doesn't bother me. I am using a LiteBook in the mornings in the really dark time just to get me going before I'm supposed to be at work. My brother was up there for a while, but had to leave because he could barely stay awake 4 hrs a day, despite cigarettes & coffee by the gallon. He wasn't depressed, though.