|The town of Nome is located right on the Norton Sound, part of the Bering Sea. I enjoyed beautiful (if chilly) beach views throughout my trip!|
Last week I (Rachel) took my first (sub)Arctic research adventure to Nome, Alaska! By now, the Pratt Lab is well acquainted with Alaskan travels, but this trip was full of firsts for me and the group: my first trip to Alaska, my first time on an icebreaker, the first deployment of our new MOUDI, and the first helicopter trip for both the MOUDI and me!
My first morning in Nome, I had a chance to walk around and tour the town - which took about 30 min! I was able to see all the highlights - I watched gold mining dredges from the beach, grabbed a photo of the largest gold pan in North America, and saw the arch marking the end of the famous Iditarod sled dog race that happens every spring.
|The largest gold pan welcomes everyone to Nome|
|The end of the Iditarod, which runs from Anchorage to Nome|
|The Araon has arrived in Nome!|
Due to the logistics of transporting people and cargo (via helicopter!), I arrived aboard the Araon with time to take a tour and get acquainted with the ship before my equipment arrived. I also had the neat/very stressful experience of watching from the helideck as my brand new instrument and supplies were transported via cargo net beneath the helicopter to the ship. What seemed like a short 3 minute trip when I was in the helicopter seemed like a lifetime as I watched my cargo get flown over empty air and open water. Luckily, everything was well packed in sturdy crates :)
|The most stressful part of the trip!|
|A view of the ship from the compass deck. |
KOPRI is the Korean Polar Research Institute,
our collaborators for this study.
|Step 1: make sure the instrument enclosure is really secure!|
|Step 2: install MOUDI inside and set up for sampling!|
I only had a day and a half (about one day once my cargo was onboard) to get the instrument set up and ready for sampling, so we had to work hard. I didn't mind long hours though - I had a wonderful view and there was plenty of sunlight - at the beginning of August in Nome, sunrise is ~ 6 am and sunset is ~ midnight. With so much light, I didn't feel tired!
|A beautiful view from the ship around 11 pm.|
|A final view of the ship as I took the helicopter back to shore.|
By the time I left, Nome was quite the research hub! In addition to the Araon, the USCGC Healy, the UAF research vessel Sikuliaq, a Japanese research vessel, and a NASA jet all made appearances. I'm excited to be able to say I at least had a small part in all the science happening!
|A few of the research vessels in Nome my last day.|
Before I left Nome completely, I was able to do a little more exploring and see some wildlife. I fulfilled a personal goal of seeing musk ox (they're so cool/weird looking!), I saw streams full of salmon, and lots of birds (my parents are jealous!) I didn't expect 70 degrees and sunny in Alaska, but it made for a beautiful way to wrap up my first Alaskan experience.
|Musk Ox in the tundra|
|look closely, the water is full of salmon!|
|peregrin falcon on the tundra|
|an Arctic tern (so neat!) in flight|