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.
Year of the Bird by Elizabeth Licata
21 hours ago