Monday, January 29, 2007

Antarctica Journal day15 - January 28, 2007

I drive a boat in Alaska. We study humpback whales in Prince William Sound and adjacent waters. I live on Kachemak Bay-Big 'ole fast running bore tides-15-20 footers, wind, current. But this looking for a mooring in the middle of LOTS of icebergs the size of five story buildings, all floating around willy nilly, in front of a glacier in a bruiser of a wind belt, with rocks and 5 knots of current…well. Call me a weenie.

Spent the day getting over a vicious cold. Slept on the deck, cleared my head of germs and I'M BACK! Being on a boat for 6 weeks with 2 people you know well and 5 you don't is interesting to say the least. Whenever the crew doesn't want us to know what they are saying they speak French. I need to learn French! We hung with 5 humpbacks-Betho-4 white flukes 1 black. They are lunge feeding and bubble feeding and could care less if we are around. We had a fantastic time in the Zodiac with giant swarm of seals –finally down at water level.

They were crab eater seals-really beautiful but very difficult to photograph. At one point I just watched as the seals, a bunch of penguins, and a zillion birds dove on a ball of krill. It was a frenzy of feeding. It is so great Antarctica is wild. It may be the last untamed place. Sure you can still get eaten in Alaska but lack of fair chase ethics in hunting, (see bear baiting) greed like Soapy Smith could never equal, a willingness to rip the guts out of a place (see Exxon) and a basic lack of imagination (see state legislature) have wounded her. Humans, like wild pigs, are such an irresponsible species.

John told me a story about how icebergs became blue. He says all the blue in the world comes from the sky. When raindrops and snowflakes fall they have a bit of blue in them-we see blue in the ocean, right? So more snow falls and begins to compress the ice under it and it becomes bluer and bluer. But after a zillion years of compression all the blue is squeezed out just like the juice is squeezed from an orange and the ice is clear and that is why when we see clear icebergs we know we are looking at the oldest ice of all.

The scientist in me hates this story but the poet loves it.

It is foggy-vis about 100 yards, big tabular icebergs. I glance at the chart-in big yellow letters it says. UNSURVEYED. That is so cool.

No comments: