July 19, 2006
I check out of my hotel and take the shuttle back to the airport. The flight to Deadhorse, Alaska took two hours.
Brenda Konar and Katrin Iken, two biologists from the University of Fairbanks, were there to greet me. Luggage collected, we are off to Endicott's Base Operations Camp (BOC) on the way we saw an Eagle, an Arctic Fox, mother Caribou and calf and a flock of Snow Geese. At BOC I meet the rest of the crew: Ken Dunton, the lead scientist, Susan Schonberg. the taxonomist, Ken's brothers, Ted and John Dunton, who take care of the boat.
After dinner I watch another safety video and take a quiz on the material covered. Then its out to the lab to get a tour of the facilities, and a quick orientation of the research we are doing. Ken has been doing research here for 29 years. In 1977 the "Boulder Patch" was discovered. Most of the ocean bottom is sandy, but just off Endicott, in the Beaufort Sea, there are many boulders, brought by glaciers. This allows for the growth of a different ecosystem than on the sandy bottom. The boulders are used as anchorages by algae such as kelp or rhodomela. These are the producers for ecosystem. All these years of research has made Ken an authority on Arctic kelp.
Next, I'm shown to my room. Very nice, considering I was expecting dormitory facilities. I'm lucky because I don't have to share my bathroom with anyone else. Very nice accommodations and the food isn't bad either. Besides serving all you can eat breakfast lunch and dinner there is a 24 hour snack bar in case you get hungry. I hope I don't gain any weight.