Saturday, December 29, 2012

Antarctic Adventure 2012: Exploring New Zealand
  
After I got back from Antarctica I had a full day to myself in New Zealand. I decided to go on a bus tour of Christchurch and the surrounding areas. It was a three hour tour that had a much better outcome than Gilligan's Island.  I got to see the remnants of Cathedral Square, the Canterbury Museum, Botanical Gardens, Port of Lyttelton, Redcliffs and Sumner Beach.  It was a great way to see the surrounding area in a short amount of time. It gave me a very clear perspective on just how damaging the earthquakes over the past couple years have been. The city is severely damaged and will take years in order to repair and rebuilt.















Friday, December 28, 2012

Antarctic Adventure 2012: Back in New  Zealand
That was an amazing 36 hours down on the ice! I cannot even describe how outstanding this experience was and it was well worth all the long flights. I would like to send a special thanks to the 109th Airlift Wing from the New York Air National Guard for their coordination and helping me thorough every step of this journey.  Today they were able to put me on a resupply flight to the South Pole and even gave me a headset and let me sit in the cockpit for the 4 hour LC-130 Hercules ride to the bottom of the world. The view form the cockpit flying over Antarctic was breathtaking. Once we landed at the pole I had 20 minutes to explore before we took off again. They warned me not to run because the high altitude would tire me, but even after just quickly walking I was out of breath in minutes. I made it to the geographic south pole and saw the ceremonial south pole from a distance. Fun fact, the geographic south pole changes every year. 


As soon as I landed back on the Pegasus Air Strip on the ice sheet outside McMurdo, around 1800, I was told to eat quickly as soon as I got back because they had a busy night planned for me. We walked back over to Scott Hut but this time we had a guide to let us in the actual hut. It was incredible, and looked as if they had just left. There were animal carcasses drying in a store room, boxes and cans of food staked by the walk ways, and gear hanging up to dry. It was eerie, like stepping right back into history.

Scott's Hut built in 1902 with floating ice pier behind it.

Mummified Seal Carcass outside Scott's Hut.
Cross at Hut Point.
Seal Seen from Hut Point.
 
Seals by a crack in the ice by Hut Point. 


After I got back from Hut Point I headed off towards Scott Base, the New Zealand base close to McMurdo, for a tour of the pressure ridges. Pressure ridges occur where sea ice is being crushed  into the land by the ice shelf. The cracks that occur in the ice are popular places for seals to hang out. I was extremely lucky to be taken out to the pressure ridges because the United States closed them down three days before and the Kiwi's had closed them the day before because people were falling though the cracks in the ice.  Luckily they opened up a trail three hours before now and I was one of the lucky few to be allowed to go out onto the ice. I would like to give special thanks to Master Sargent Brian Marcyjanik who was instrumental in organizing this tour. It was one of the coolest thing I have ever experienced, walking between towers of ice, and getting as close as ten feet to seals. See more pictures on the Pressure Ridge slideshow on the left hand bar.  

 After the three hour adventure onto the ice, I got a few hours of much needed sleep and then was back on a C-130 Hercules for the flight back to Christchurch. I also got to talk to the forecasters at the weather center in McMurdo before the pilots were briefed in the morning.  My trip to Antarctica was a once in a lifetime experience, and with the help of the Air National Guard I was able to have experiences that some people who live in McMurdo for months never get to. Thank You!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Antarctic Adventure: Made it to McMurdo

I made it to the ice! It was the greatest feeling in the world, fours hours into the C130 flight, that I knew we were beyond the point of no return and I was actually going to get to Antarctica. I have about a day and a half here on the ice and, with the help of the unit down here, I plan on cramming as much in as I can. So far I have gone on two hikes, one up Observation Hill to see Scott's Cross and another to Scott's Cabin Point. I got to see Scott's original hut, built in 1902, some live seals in addition to a mummified one. They have me scheduled on the 1st flight out to the South Pole tomorrow and hopefully a tour or two when I get back. I am loving the fact that there is constant day light! Lots of pictures to come! (Random fun fact of the day, camera batteries get used up awfully quickly in the cold) I hope everyone back home has had an amazing holiday and I will keep you updated on my adventures.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Antarctic Adventure: Weather Setbacks and a New Zealand Christmas

Copthorne Hotel Commodore
Copthorne Hotel Commodore
Weather did not allow me to fly to the south on December 23rd. I was all packed up and prepared for the 8 hour flight down to Antarctica. My luggage did not arrived but I had plenty of issued gear to make it work.   I took about a 4 hour L-130H ride out towards McMurdo Station but the weather would not permit us to land so we turned back around. It was my 1st time flying in a C130 and the pilot let me watch the landing from the cockpit which was an outstanding view. It was an unexpected and amazing aerial tour of the Christchurch area. With Christmas so close, they scheduled me for the next flight down to the continent on the 26th of December. I received my long lost luggage when I landed from my boomerang flight and got to spend the next two days exploring Christchurch and enjoying Christmas with the New York Air Guard.  I will hopefully make it down to Antarctica tomorrow, so please cross your fingers for clear skies. I wish everyone back in the States a Merry Christmas!!
Downtown Christchurch, Container Shops. 






 After effects of the 2011 Earthquake that left most of the city condemned. A large part of the city is still quarantined and they are still debating the proper course of action to bring life back to the city.




Friday, December 21, 2012

Antarctic Adventure 2012: Flight Delayed
   
Both flights down to the ice today have been cancelled due to weather conditions. The flights are currently rescheduled for tomorrow morning. But in good news, they have located my bag!! It should be here sometime this afternoon. I have never been as excited for the prospect of seeing a bag. I am currently back in my hotel and am looking forward to exploring Christchurch this afternoon.
Antarctic Adventure 2012: Heading to the Ice 

After getting a good nights sleep, my day started by getting issued cold weather gear. It consisted off, two fleece jackets, two pairs of wool socks, boots, boot covers, hat, headband, neck guard, gloves, two pairs of leggings, snowpants and big gear warm coat (see picture). The rest of my day was spent enjoying New Zealand and trying to track down my missing luggage. It turns out that about 20 other people who are scheduled to go down to McMurdo the same day that I am are also missing there luggage. Luckily, they have tracked down all their luggage and it should reach Christchurch tonight before the flight out in the morning. However, my luggage decided to be difficult and is still missing. The First Sergeant drove me to the mall this afternoon to pick up enough stuff to get me through my week on the ice. If I do not get out on the flight tomorrow the next flight is not for another week. It is not an ideal situation but with the issued gear and the changes of clothes and toiletries I purchased this afternoon I should be fine for a week on the ice. Currently, I am scheduled to fly out of Christchurch tomorrow morning for the eight hour flight down to McMurdo. I talked to the pilot and navigator of one of the flights for tomorrow and they are not sure if will be able to fly out because of poor visibility  caused by the current weather conditions. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I wake up in the morning to my luggage at the front desk and a flight out to McMurdo. 
Antarctic Adventure 2012
  
Every year, the Naval  Academy selects one lucky Midshipmen to venture off to the South Pole for an Antarctica Trip over Christmas break. I was very fortunate this year to be selected. My name is Kelsey Ragsdale and I am a Senior at the Naval Academy. Some basic information about me so you know who is talking to you, I am an Honors Oceanography Major. I am an Army Brat and grew up in West Point, NY. I service selected Surface Warfare Oceanography option, which means that I will serve in the fleet as a Surface Warfare Officer (in hopefully Japan or Hawaii) for a few years before I laterally transfer into the METOC community. After watching Titanic and shark week at way to young of an age, the ocean and ice have always fascinated me.  It is a true dream come true to  be given this opportunity to travel to Antarctica  and get some hands on experience and to apply what I have learned in the classroom. 


My adventure became on December 18th as I left my family home in Arlington, VA and headed to Dulles. I had prepared the night before my watching Happy Feet and searching online for anything involving Antarctica. The plan was to fly to San Fransisco have a two hour layover and hop on another flight to New Zealand. However, the presence of a strong headwind lead to a slight change in plans. The plane had to land in Kansas City, MO to refuel, which took longer than expected increasing the delay time from 30 minutes to two and a half hours.  Thankfully CDR Hager came to the rescue and had re-booked my flights routing to me New Zealand through Australia that night.  And that is how I ended up with seven hours to kill in the Sydney.  Australia has a great public transportation system and I was able to get a cheap train ticket to explore the city for a few hours. It was an ideal layover, what could be better than walking around the Circular Quay, eating gelato, seeing the Sydney Opera House.  After that is was a relatively short flight to Christchurch, New Zealand. I arrived in New Zealand around 0100 on the 21st. Unfortunately my bag got lost in the shuffle. I entered New Zealand with one change of shirt a pair of shorts. Not really conducive attire for the ice. The Antarctic Program was extremely helpful and the command First Sergeant picked me up from the airport and brought me to my hotel, the Commodore Copthorne  Hotel. After one long travel day, I finally completed the 1st leg of my travel journey to the South Pole.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chemistry, From Barrow, Alaska to the Chesapeake Bay; Questions and Answers from Christchurch School

Calling all Teachers!  Please continue to engage the USNA PSP through questions from your classes.  I hope to engage as many educators as possible with interactive Q and A sessions!  Contact me at woods@usna.edu to participate.

Christchurch School is an Episcopal boarding and day school located near Saluda, VA on the Rappahannock River. Our science curriculum is an integrated science with a combination of basic concepts and practical applications. Our sophomore class focuses on chemistry. We have just completed a river survey of the Rappahannock River from the Chesapeake Bay to the headwaters in the mountains at Chester Gap. We ran turbidity, pH, nitrates, phosphate, DO, conductivity, salinity and conductivity and sample temperature. We have been following your posts and wonder the following:
 
1. Did you run similar tests?

We will be running tests for snow density, salinity of water at
different depths, as well as different halide ions in the snow and ice
(Cl- and Br- tests currently, more to follow). Some select samples will
be tested for methane, metals, and stable isotopes of oxygen and
hydrogen. Additionally, frost flower and ice core samples were plated on
different types of agar to grow bacterial colonies. A biology professor
at the Academy is looking for photosynthetic extremophiles with a
specific lipid structure that can be used to create biofuels. As of now,
he has only found different colonies of halophiles, but the growth on
the colonies is young so we're hoping more will come from the samples we
took.
 
2. Would you be willing to share your results with our class. We would like to compare them. 

We will not have any results until this summer or next fall. I can
forward you the results then for you to use with your class next year.
Unfortunately, as a result of other time constraints with research, we
won't be able to run most tests until this summer.

3. What other chemical tests did you run or will you run on the ice core samples? 

The ice cores were originally going to be used to test for methane
concentrations in the ice. As the ice forms, pockets filled with methane
are also produced. Unfortunately, we were not able to obtain enough core
samples to run these tests so we have not determined yet what we will
test for instead. Again, this is something I can pass forward to you
once we have decided. The portion of the ice core at the surface/water
interface is being used to grow bacterial colonies.
 
4. Do the high school students in Barrow conduct chemical tests on their environment? Which ones if they do?

I do not believe high school students in Barrow conduct any chemical
tests on their environment. Scientists are constantly in the area during
research on the environment so I believe most of their knowledge comes
from the scientists who pass through and share their knowledge. I do not
know this for sure but this is what I gathered from our experiences with
the students.  Here is POC info for 2 teachers from Barrow H.S. if you would like to contact them directly dana.hilchey@nsbsd.org and matthew.conforti@nsbsd.org.


Monday, April 16, 2012

BROMEX 2012 Wrap Up



Below is a post written by the four midshipmen who participated in the USNA PSP first field campaign over Spring Break 2012 out of Barrow, AK.  Authors: MIDN 1/C Ben Aspholm, MIDN 1/C Kyle Crowder, MIDN 2/C Will Parker, MIDN 2/C Rebecca Watson.

Four Midshipmen (Oceanography, Chemistry, and Aerospace Engineering) and three officers from the Oceanography Department recently travelled to the ‘Northern Most Point in the U.S.’ Barrow, Alaska from 07-15MAR12 as part of the U.S. Naval Academy Polar Science Program (USNA-PSP). The program is designed to introduce midshipmen to the unique environment of the Polar Regions through academic course work, design/build projects, scientific research and field experiments. This trip was sponsored by the USNA STEM office, Midshipman Research Office, and Oceanography Department and provided the Midshipmen with the opportunity to participate in a major, international Arctic research program to investigate effects of Arctic sea ice reduction (especially the loss of perennial or multi-year sea ice in the last decade) on bromine explosion, ozone depletion, Arctic tropospheric photochemical processes, and mercury deposition in the Arctic Beaufort Sea on the North Slope of Alaska.  The Arctic field campaign is called BROMEX (Bromine, Ozone, and Mercury EXperiment).  It is being led by the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and is supported by NASA and by contributions and participations from 18 agencies and institutions in U.S., Canada, Germany, and U.K.   LCDR John Woods, CDR Joe Smith, and CDR Carl Hager ventured to the Arctic with Midshipmen 1/C Kyle Crowder, 1/C Benjamin Aspholm, 2/C Will Parker, and 2/C Rebecca Watson for the Spring Break experience of a lifetime. The seven USNA representatives, along with, Sam Denes,  a Doctoral Candidate in the Penn State Acoustic Program, journeyed to the arctic to deploy an USNA-PSP Arctic buoy (IceGoat1), collect acoustic data, and obtain samples for biochemical research. 

                MIDN 1/C Kyle Crowder, an honors Oceanography student, worked with LCDR Woods throughout the past year to bring the IceGoat1 buoy from concept to a finished product. Fall semester was spent working hard on determining what materials and equipment would be needed, finding funding, and then finally ordering the parts. After winter break, most of the parts had been obtained so construction of the buoy was started. Throughout this process, Kyle’s primary role was developing an understanding of each of the components that would be needed in the buoy. Ignatius Rigor from the University of Washington was constantly answering questions regarding the ARGOS and Todd Valentic from the Stanford Research Institute was helpful in designing the Iridium satellite communications system. 

                MIDN 1/C Benjamin Aspholm, an Astronautical Engineering student, was one of the three Midshipmen working on the IceGoat1 Buoy.  The Midshipmen worked together to design a solar panel power system to power the multiple systems of the IceGoat.  The system is designed to only be on when the solar panels are generating current from the sun.  This means that when the sun goes down, the entire system shuts down to conserve the life of the battery.  The system then wakes up every morning and captures pictures all day while the sun powers the system and recharges the battery.  The system powers the two Logitech web cameras that take pictures every 15 minutes as well as two communications systems, an Iridium satellite uplink, and an Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) radio.  The Iridium uplink is the system used to retrieve all the data from the IceGoat.  It can also be used to send commands to the IceGoat to either update its systems or change the way data is recorded and sent back.  The APRS system is on a radio frequency that can be used to communicate with small satellites deployed by USNA with similar systems on board.  Information from the IceGoat1 will be relayed to the small satellites back to USNA using this system.

                MIDN 2/C Will Parker, an Oceanography student, was associated with the acoustic sampling under direction of CDR Carl Hager and Sam Denes.  The primary objective of this project was to determine empirically the transmission loss of a signal between a source and receiver under environmental conditions in which the propagation of the signal into the air and ice are of interest.  This work will be used as ground-truthing for a finite element model implementation of the propagation losses, which will be incorporated with other data to determine detectability of signals under conditions experienced in the Arctic.  


MIDN 2/C Rebecca Watson, a Chemistry major, worked with CDR Joe Smith to collect chemical and biological samples from snow, ice, and water.  Field sampling collection was extremely challenging in the Arctic wintertime environment but the team was able to collect snow samples from the tundra and from the sea ice, a 1 meter ice core, and water column samples from beneath the sea ice.  Additionally, samples were collected of “frost-flowers” and “brine-cicles” that were found while working on the sea ice.  Samples were transported back to USNA for analysis in the laboratory.  The snow samples will be analyzed for halide ions and metals, ice core samples will be analyzed for halide ions, and water column samples will be analyzed for halide ions, dissolved methane, and Deuterium and Oxygen-18 ratios.  Samples from under the ice-water interface of the ice core (the portion of the ice closest to the sea water), frost-flowers, and brine-cicles will be used in an attempt to culture extremophiles associated with the ice. 
 
In addition to research, the midshipmen and LCDR Woods spent a day at the local high school teaching students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). A few hours were spent in the pool area with three different stations set up. One station was a “Build-a-Buoy” project, where the students were able to build buoys and test their buoyancy by loading them with golf balls. At the second station, students were able to drive a “Sea Perch,” a simple remotely operated vehicle, through the pool. At the last station, the students learned further about buoyancy by trying to created “flinkers” out of packing peanuts, metal washers, and paper clips. Flinkers are objects that do not float or sink, but rather suspend themselves somewhere in between the surface and the bottom. This was an excellent experience, especially for the students who are rarely introduced to college or the military. 

Thanks to the support of the STEM program and the cooperation of scientists and professionals associated with BROMEX, the midshipmen were able to take part in current Arctic field work. This program allowed USNA Midshipmen and Officers to gain experience conducting research in challenging Arctic conditions first hand while also absorbing local culture and heritage. The USNA-PSP trip to Barrow benefited the students by immersing them in environmental research as well as allowing them to gain an appreciation for a way of living so different from their own.  The experience gained and data derived from this effort will be used to enhance USNA course materials and laboratories for Midshipman education and will also be used in Midshipman Independent research projects.  Lessons learned from and success at BROMEX 2012 will provide the basis for continued Midshipman involvement in ongoing and future national and international Polar research projects.
You can follow the USNA Polar Science Program on facebook, view pictures and videos, or get the current data from IceGoat1 at one of the following sites:


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finally Thawed Out!

Greetings from Annapolis, MD.  It has been two weeks since we arrived home from Barrow, and I apologize it has taken so long to get a wrap up together.  What an experience for everyone involved!  I mentioned to my students that working in the Arctic is an addicting lifestyle, and on our way home from the trip (and you can read in their blogs), you can see that it affected them deeply.  The environment is so different than any other on Earth, and so few people get to experience it.  It truly changes your life, and makes you want to keep going back!

It is very difficult to summarize our trip, without a VERY lengthy posting, so I figure I will do it over small installments.  I want to thank all the people on the BROMEX team, especially principal investigator Son Nghiem for inviting USNA and giving us the opportunity.  Also, the guys at UMIAQ (the logistics company in Barrow, made up mostly of native Eskimos), were top notch, and are driving the decision to attempt to get back up to Barrow every Spring Break for another 'midshipmen on ice' experience.  The scientists involved with the BROMEX team were all top notch, and treated as we were all on their team as well.  The 4 midshipmen, and other two officer, could not have been a better mix of people that all came together to really make the experience the best it could be!

I do not really have a favorite moment, because the entire trip was a nonstop blast!  We could not have done anything differently to make the experience better.  We were ahead of schedule, and even got to play a bit on the way home in Anchorage (skiing at Alyeska Resort in 40" of fresh powder!).  The sort of list of experiences that cannot be measured would go something like this:

Experiencing the people and landscape of Barrow, Getting on the Sea Ice EVERY DAY (and with the most interesting man in the world Tom D as our guide!), Cruising over the frozen Arctic Ocean on snow machines in -30 degree weather going 50 MPH resulting in a -88 degree windchill, Getting to deploy (sort of) USNA's first ever Arctic Buoy and watch it perform better than expected!, Setting up an acoustic array to collect some ground breaking science data, Collecting ice and snow samples for future analysis back at USNA, Taking tons of pictures one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth, Seeing the smile on the midshipman's faces as they treated the Arctic as their spring break playground (Who needs the beach when you can walk on the Ocean-Spring Break 2012, Barrow, AK), THE NORTHERN LIGHTS DURING A SOLAR STORM (from the Northern Most Point in the US multiple nights!!!), Our fun times in our 'hooch' Bancroft Hall North, Attempting to get under ice video with a 'non-waterproof' GoPro, Getting under ice video with a properly cased GoPro, Spending time at Barrow High School interacting with native kids and showing them some cool hands on science, Experiencing the great city of Anchorage, Thinking about redoing everything again next year with another group of mids!

Again, that is a short list, and I will hopefully expand on each of the topics over the next few days (and weeks!).  The USNA Polar Science Program is here to stay! 

I want to make a call to all teachers (thanks Kerri Pratt for the suggestion) both in the local area of Annapolis, and remotely.  Please use this site (or email me at woods@usna.edu) with a list of questions that you would like my students to respond to.  The questions can be anything at all, from what the environment is like to what do you eat in Barrow?  Sort of like a virtual Q and A.  If you are in the local area and would like us to come by and give a talk, please feel free to ask!  We are preparing a sort of roadshow talk where we can share our experiences with others.

Thanks again for following and keep your eye out for exciting news in the future!

Monday, March 19, 2012

3490 miles and 95 ºF Away

It’s been hard to describe our time in Alaska to friends and family other than by saying it was an adventure of a lifetime and I just hope I get to visit again. The ruggedness, beauty and sense of discovery are already calling me back. I was initially invited on the trip by CDR Hager so a very grateful thank you to him! While on the ice off the coast of Barrow, Alaska I mainly helped CDR Hager and Penn State grad student Sam Denes with acoustic field work. Among other things Sam was looking at how sound propagates through the arctic water.
 I think all of us thought about spring breakers in Florida or Puerto Rico at some point but all in all I couldn’t have asked for a more awesome experience. We even got to throw the frisbee out on the frozen ocean one day. Aside from the rewarding scientific work we helped contribute to I was able to explore the culture of Northern Alaska not to mention ride snowmobiles almost everyday and have fun in Alyeska and Anchorage. When we weren’t busy the locals and guides were always willing to share their experiences and stories in the Arctic and they are truly amazing people that I was able to get to know thanks to this trip.
Thank you so much to everyone at the Academy, STEM and all the officers for making this possible. Special thank you to the Umiak guys and everyone working on bromex who made us feel so welcome up in Barrow! I hope we can make more visits in the future and let more people expeience this part of the world.

Saying Goodbye..

Hello All!
Rebecca here with one of the last posts of this year's Polar Science Program's journey to the arctic! Like Kyle mentioned, the adventure was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I am so glad I was chosen for this trip and that the USNA STEM program was able to send me (and that those I went with put up with me). I went to help with the chemistry side of sampling and CDR Joe Smith was incredibly patient with me as I attempted to learn the ins and outs of field chemistry. For starters, electrical tape and zip-loc bags (or really any type of plastic) are no match for -20* C. The same holds true for glass bottles (once they warm up), ball point pens, and hands covered by only glove liners and nitrile gloves. Fortunately, sharpies and paper proved to do just fine in the cold weather so at least that's something. At the end of the day though, I learned that not everything will go as planned and sometimes making it up as you go is the best way to get things done.







All in all, the adventure to the bitter north was absolutely awesome. I hope the work CDR Smith and I put in is all worthwhile too and we will find out soon as we begin working with the samples we collected. I know that Kyle, Ben, and Will really accomplished a lot though so I'm glad we were able to help with the BROMEX project. We were able to meet some great scientists that really made the trip even more worthwhile. I wish them the best in the next few weeks as they complete their projects as well.

 I do not know if I will ever get over how gorgeous Alaska is.I kept thinking how photo-shopped everything looked because it was hard to believe a place so amazing actually exists. I definitely want to go back in the summer, and maybe even make another winter adventure for more skiing and possibly another peek at the northern lights. I highly recommend everyone make it up to Alaska at least once in their life. It's a trip worth taking, and if you want to make it really great, fly with ERA airlines. They will be sure to make your trip to the frozen tundra as authentic as possible.Thank you for all your support and hopefully we can continue our adventures next year!

Back to School

Ben here.

I just wanted to throw in my two cents on my overall experience of the trip.  In my opinion, it couldn't have been a better spring break.  With the experiences I had, the people I was with, and the work I accomplished I really feel that I could not have asked for anything more.

I was there primarily for the IceGoat. After helping design and implement the power and communications systems for the buoy with 1/C Nathan Kren and Kyle, I feel that our hard work has really paid off and the buoy is working better than we ever imagined.  Instead of being starved for power in the cold and harsh weather conditions, we are in great excess of power and are using the rest of our time here to figure out what other fun gadgets we can put on IceGoat2.

I would also like to thank everyone who put together our trip and made it so successful.  Everyone back at the academy who had part in the IceGoat production, all the people who set up our trip, and everyone up in Barrow that made our stay as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.  There really are some great people up there in that part of the world and hopefully one day I'll get to see them again.

I would also like to thank LCDR Woods for keeping us working hard so we could enjoy some fun time near the end of the trip.  When we were getting lazy he was right there keeping us working because he had bigger plans for us. Him setting up our night at Alyeska and our other night at the Captain Cook were just cherries on top of a wonderful trip.

So I hope you all continue to follow the IceGoat online. I know I will be eager to see what happens to it and what wonderful pictures it can send us from its home on the ice!



-Ben Aspholm

Looking Back


Hello all, it’s Kyle. Looking back on it, our trip this spring break to Barrow, Alaska was a once in a lifetime experience. The trip could not have gone much better. We accomplished everything we set out to do and had a great time in the process. Perhaps the most memorable part was the sheer beauty of the Arctic. Looking out on the horizon and seeing ice as far as you can see in every possible shade of blue is an incredible sight to behold. Also, or timing to show up in Alaska was perfect. The solar flares made for some phenomenal northern lights. I will never forget the amazing sights of the Arctic.
Thank you all for following us through this great experience,
-Kyle