Day 1 - Arctic Research Mission - Teachers at the North Pole

Barrow, Alaska, very cold desert is the most northerly
point in the United States
Day one of the Arctic mission objective was--pretty much--getting onto the ship, the United States Coast Guard ice breaker USCGC Healy.

If you read my previous blog post, you already know the trip from San Diego, CA to Barrow, AK was a long one; however, the ending of Day One was worth it. I'll get to that in a moment.

When the Alaskan Airlines flight landed in Barrow, we were met by a convoy of pickup trucks and vans, which collected the members of the science team, and delivered us to the Search and Rescue Hangar (SAR). (Take a peek of the SAR in the video below.)

The first order of the day at SAR?: order lunch! And we did, and it was surprisingly good. It never occurred to me that good pizza could be had in Barrow, a very cold place with zero paved roads. (Another person on the science team, Mackenzie, who will be a senior at UCSD in the Fall, said she had Mexican food in Barrow, and it, too, was good.) The lesson to be learned here is one cannot pre-judge the quality of a town's food based upon its abundance of paved roads (or lack thereof).

As for the status of the science mission, our ship has been anchored off the coast of Barrow ever since we arrived. Our ship has not moved an inch. One reason for our stationary status is due to the assembly of the scientific instruments. This assembly process requires the ship to be anchored and steady. We will be hitting the high seas Saturday evening--well, that's the latest plan.

How did we get from land to the ship? Well, this is the worth it part--we helicoptered onto the ship!

A Mustang suit is a protective one-piece all
of us had to wear in order to board the helicopter
to protect us in case we fall into the drink.
The helicopter ride was an extreme delight.

In order to board the helicopter, everyone on the science team had to wear an orange U.S. Coast Guard Mustang suit, just like the one pictured on the right.

My tasks for this mission is to generate multimedia-rich blog posts about the science and the people involved in this expedition. Below is a video of the first day in Barrow, SAR, and how we helicoptered onto Healy.

On board the Healy are large contingents of scientist, and of course the Coast Guard crew. In addition there are two San Diego Unified School District teachers, Steve Walters and myself, onboard. Also, we have a UCSD undergraduate and many Ph.D. candidates from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The two other research institutions involved in this mission are Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences - Oregon State University.

One of individuals involved with Woods Hole is Alan Guo, who will be a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy in the Fall. Alan is generating blog posts as well. Alan's blog, titled Arctic Adventures, can be found here.

That's all for today. Come back to this space to keep tabs on what's going on.

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