Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dutch Harbor

I arrived in Dutch Harbor on the Aleutian Islands yesterday after a week in Girdwood filled with lots of hiking (over 32 miles total!), delicious food, lots of beer, incredible weather, and great company. It was so nice to get to revisit Girdwood and spend a week with Libby with neither of us working.

So now I’m in Dutch Harbor where the science party is trickling in, most of the luggage is missing, and we’re pretty much just waiting. Dutch Harbor is kind of a strange place. There are two connected islands with the town spread out between them. I think I need an aerial photo to get a grip on the terrain, it seems like water and land are intermingled equally everywhere and I can’t really figure out what’s going on. The terrain is hilly and brown, no trees, no green anything yet, with lots of industrial looking buildings scattered on the hill sides and crowded down by the water. I haven’t really been able to find a town center yet, just varies little clusters of different kinds of buildings. The weather here is much more typically Alaskan, cold and raw with very low clouds hovering just over the mountains. It’s very desolate, not like anywhere else I’ve been but in some ways a little reminiscent of Maine with the rocky coast and brown hills only there are no trees at all here. But there are huge orange starfish and lots of sea urchins in the intertidal zone and bald eagles everywhere!

We’re supposed to leave port tomorrow morning, but if the luggage doesn’t arrive (which is apparently common here!) we may wait a little longer, or else we might have to go on a shopping spree at Alaska Ship Supply, the one real store here besides the grocery store. We stayed in a hotel last night but we’ll be on the Healy tonight and get to find out what that’s like. Suspense....

By the way, there might be a delay of a day or two between when I write these posts and when they're actually visible on the "real internet" so it might be old news by then.

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