Tom learned how to make an Alaskan Moose call with a coffee can and a peice of string. 5 days to take off and the packing has begun.
Tom took me on a reconnaissance moose flight Satruday. We flew just over 100 miles North of Bethel to the spot that Tom, Mike, Buzz, and Fred will be hunting next week. Tom was looking for lakes that were long enough for the float plane to land on. The boys are chartering two Beavers to drop them off with 2 rafts. My job was to photograph the lakes and any moose seen. We saw 2 moose and 2 Grizzly Bears. You can just make out the brown dot in the vegetation in the bottom left. It was a beautiful day to fly. I got to see the Yukon River and the Andreafsky Mountains. Tom let me fly the plane for a few minutes too. I tend to list to the right.
School started last week. The week before school started, I volunteered to help the tech department get the video cameras working in each village. Brent, the video support person, and I went together the first day to reconfigure the cameras after the switch over to a new provider. We had fog until noon each day I flew, Luckily the school had charted the plane and we made up time in the evening. We split up to cover more territory the second day. It isn’t dark until 11:00 PM still. I saved money on the charter by taking a passenger, the mail and some groceries on the second day. It was great to see the schools and meet folks live that I usually see only on video. But what a whirlwind tour.
Classes have now started and we are all trying to get back in the swing of things. It’s hard with the beautiful days we have had and the ripe blueberries calling us outside.
A camp ritual. Leaving no trace and traveling light requires one to burn their poop.
Puffins from the west side of the island.
Tom brought home a garbage bag full of quiviut or muskox fur for me to spin. Quiviut is the softest warmest fiber known. He asked Eddie and Bill to pick up any fur they saw too. Hats and scarves knitted of yarn made from Quiviut start at $200. The yarn costs $100/ounce, I recently bought some hair to spin for $35/oz. Now I have my own stash from Nunivak Island
This is the muskox that Tom discovered laying on his back. He thought it was dead. He got a bit too close and the Bull shook his head at Tom and tore up the ground with his horns. Then he passively walked away.
Here is the crew that survived 3 weeks on the west end of Nunivak Island. They were document shorebird colonies along the island. They saw Gyrfalcons, Parakeet Auklets, Murres, Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins, Rudy Turnstones, Pigeon Guillemots. Noteworthy events were a range extension for the Whiskered Auklet, and seeing multiple pairs of the Siberian Race of the Rosy Finch. Counts on the survey estimated over 250,000 birds, a majority being common murres, and black legged kittiwakes.