Wednesday, March 14, 2012

We're Going Viral...

Ben Aspholm here.

Time for another whimsical journey through another day of the Polar Science Group in Barrow, Alaska.  Today was STEM Outreach day.  Kyle, Rebecca, Will, LCDR Woods and I went down to Barrow High School with our Build a Buoy kits and our Sea Perch's to help recruit future scientists and engineers for our nation.

Setting up in the high school sauna, or as they called it a swimming pool, we entertained kids ranging from 7th grade to 11th grade.  Although they were shy at first, they began to open up to us and began building really good buoys and enjoying driving the Sea Perch's around the pool. We really enjoyed spending time with them and feel that we have made an impact on them to possibly pursue future careers in a technological field.

We then enjoyed a quick Chinese Buffet at Sam & Lee's before heading back to go out for our last trek onto the ice.

We all geared up eager to go out and help CDR Smith and Rebecca collect some final snow and ice samples for their chemistry analysis.  We drove along the trail in our snow machines in beautiful cloudless skies and once we got to the site the chemistry crew was ecstatic to see frost flowers growing on top of one of the holes drilled the previous day.  They collected those and then we broke through the hole to take some water samples as well.  We then used that hole to make a second attempt on a video this time using guaranteed waterproof case.  We dropped it through the hole unaware of the beautiful video it was taking.  Look below to see the video to get a rare never before seen view of the ice of the arctic ocean from below.  We were all definitely uber excited that this video came out better than expected.

We stayed out on the ice for a little while longer getting some brine samples and playing on the large ice boulders that form on the pressure ridges.  Will, Kyle and I even found some nice lounge chairs and prime tanning spots to get that spring break beach tan, however, you tend to have your skin turn black from frostbite rather than tan from the sunlight when it's exposed for a long time out here.

We then made the final snow machine ride back to NARL soaking in as much as we could.

It was then time for Chef Woods to make us his grilled London Broil and Potato dinner with a CupBrownie dessert.  It was extremely well cooked and we enjoyed it immensely.

We were also joined for dinner by Tom Douglas.  The man that has been our ice guide, bear guard, just overall coolest guy ever. This guy's stories, experiences, knowledge of the area, and just overall knowledge of everything known to man has made him an awesome guy to talk to.  We all think he asks us questions about the Naval Academy and the Navy just so we can feel better about ourselves because he probably already knew the answers before he asked the question.  Seriously though... this guy is awesome and we're all glad to have spent so much time with him on the ice and to have learned so much from him.

So tonight is the final night we spend in Barrow for the 4 of us mids and LCDR Woods.  Due to the fast successful buoy deployment and the wonderful weather we've had since we've been here, we have finished our research ahead of schedule allowing us to fly back to Anchorage a day early.  What does that mean for us? It means that a townhouse and a day of skiing at Alyeska Ski Resort outside of Anchorage awaits where we will be doing more research on the weather patterns and the meteorological changes as you move quickly down in elevation.

Unfortunately, we did not see any polar bears during our time in Barrow.  Nor will I be able to tell any of my friends that I was able to 'pet' a seal.  And I swore I was going to see one of these, but we didn't. :-(

Anyways, we shall report tomorrow from Anchorage, and happy hump day!

1 comment:

  1. You guys are too kind with all the comments. Thank you. I asked all the Academy questions because if this science thing does not work out for me I am going to try to get in to the Academy. Not sure they take slow, out of shape 40 year olds but one can always dream big.....

    It was fun hanging out with you all. Take care, keep in touch with yourselves, and enjoy your travels.