First trip to Nuvuk in 2011

I went out to Nuvuk today.  The purpose of the trip was to accompany Hank Statscewich from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who needs to pick out a new site for an experimental current radar.  They have run it near NARL for a year, with no problems, so they want to try it further out-of-town.  Since there is a good bit of archaeology out at the tip of Point Barrow, the idea was that I could help him find a spot that was not likely to have any archaeology.  We’ll still test before anything gets put out there, but still.

It was a sunny day, but there was a good East wind off the ice.  We were heading into it, more or less, going probably 25-30 mph until we got off the road, and the ATVs from BASC didn’t have windshields on them yet (they take them off when storing them so they can fit more vehicles into a smaller space).  That bit was not fun.

The first place we went was on the younger, more western of the two prominent beach ridges, near a weird concrete and steel device that reportedly was brought over from Prudhoe Bay during the gray whale rescue.  It seemed like a good possibility, so we took GPS readings.  It looks like there has been a good bit of er

Looking at the ice on the Beaufort Sea, I was happy to see it was really flat for quite a way out.  That will make it easy for bear guards to spot bears there, if only it will stay that way.

Flat ice on the Beaufort Sea, at the farthest north point in the US.

We looked over toward the ridge with the Nuvuk site on it.  I was very discouraging about it as a site for the radar, but Hank was curious, and enough snow had melted so we could get there without bogging down (ATVs aren’t so great in snow), so we headed on over.  There was some sort of rack that was new since fall, so I wanted to look at that.

Looking SE toward the Nuvuk site.

While we were over at the site, I double-checked how far we had tested in relation to the telephone pole with a light on it, since there is interest in mounting something on that pole, and access will be an issue until we are sure there are no graves right around the base.  We mark the end of the tested area with a line of driftwood, which we move inland at the end of every field season.  It’s only a few meters from the pole, so we should be able to clear that one way or another this summer.

Looking toward the Beaufort from the middle of the site. The line of driftwood on the ground marks the limit of the tested area.

The “rack” turned out to be a table-like construction which was labeled as a survey marker for North Slope Borough Wildlife Department.  I checked with them when they got in, and the survey is due to be completed in four days, so it won’t be a problem for us.  I took a picture of Hank on his ATV while we were there.  Actually, I took several with his camera too, but the image never looked in focus to me, so I took some with my camera just to make sure.

Hank S. at Nuvuk

We stopped at another spot that was also a possible radar site.  Hank will take the GPSs back and do calculations to determine which one would work best for the radar, and then let me know and we’ll test it as part of determining if it can go out there.

The ride back was great, since the wind was at our backs.  Alas, my face is covered with what look like hives, which is what happens when I windburn

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