Saturday, March 7, 2009

No Launch

We didn't end up getting a chance to launch during this window. Most people will return to Alaska in a week to try again, but several of us aren't returning. So good luck CASCADES-2!! I had a wonderful time, learned a ton and feel like I contributed something. But also really glad to be home!

Back to normal - classes and homework instead of blowing snow and polar bear warnings.

Thanks for reading about my adventures!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Whale bones!

Hans and I went to see the whale carcasses out past the runway at the corner of the island. We drove off road a bit and found the lumps of snow that turn into carcasses when it thaws, but right now, it's just frozen snow-covered whales and windswept bones sticking out of the snow. The polar bears come to gnaw on them in the summer when seal food is scarce. The bones were quite pretty!

Here is me squinting into the wind and being very cold next to the bones.

Whale Boneyard!

Random pile of gravel and snow that I see when I go for a walk. The light that day made it look particularly nice...

The days of the open launch window are quickly drawing to a close. And launch or no launch, I go home on Wednesday evening. And return to NH on Thursday! I really feel bad for the way things have gone, but of course, it's out of anybody's control. When the skies are clear, the solar wind isn't there. When the substorms are surging through the sky, the range is down for atmospheric winds. It's been a sure test of patience, which will continue a week later in the new window (after the moon has gone back down for the time slot). I won't be returning for that window though.

These past few days have been lazy... I usually don't make it to bed until after 4am, then I struggle to wake up by noon to catch the scheduled lunch, then back to bed for a nap, then either a long walk or time on the exercise machine and weights. Mike is great to talk to though, he's the usual tech guy here, but he was on his time off until about a week ago. He's Japanese-American and has great stories and likes to bitch about the stupid people in the world and the plight of abandoned dogs and cats. And he likes to make spicy thai, japanese and indian food, which is more than fine by me! I watched 30 Days of Night the other day which was awesome even the 2nd time around, and was quite an appropriate thing to watch, considering it is set in Barrow, Alaska which is similar to Kaktovik in many ways. Oh and I also finished reading "I Am Legend," about a man suddenly finding himself as the last non-infected human left alive. And I also managed to squeeze in the ever epic move Apocalypse Now. (I sense a theme here... doom and isolation?)

So I'm hoping for a launch (*crossing fingers very hard*) but either way I'm headed home. I miss my cats, my farm, my Matt and my Volvo.