Monday, June 25, 2007

The Sound Finally Breaks Open!

Areas much farther north than my village have been "open" for weeks now. By open I mean that the frozen sea or sound that they are on has thawed enough that the ice has broken up and floated on its merry way. The picture here is showing the Sound as it starts to break up, it is raining on the far horizon.
Our little sound has taken its time! Finally it broke open at 10pm. For the last week it has looked like it had melted, but the water that was seen was simply flowing from one of the rivers and was covering the ice. Everyone kept telling me that it had melted but that the ice had not broken yet. So, how much sense does that make? It looked like open water to me! Folks didn't have their boats out yet, so I was inclined to believe them. One of my friends and I were out bouncing around on the ice chunks for HOURS! How much fun! We realized that this was an experience that no one else we knew could claim. Playing on a sound full of floating ice at midnight in the Arctic Circle!

Of course both of us are in Health Care and realized the danger, but still had to play! Breaking up ice brings out the kid in most of us!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summer Solstice

Admittedly, the Summer Solstice doesn't have as much meaning for you folks in the lower 48 as it does for those of us in the Arctic Circle...for us it means that we start getting 8 minutes of less sunlight each day. Not that it shows much of a difference yet. It will not be noticeable until about August. The picture here is of the sun not setting and not rising over our little village as we fly into it around 4 in the morning.
Being of Irish heritage, I did manage to be the only person I know who has gotten a sunburn in the Arctic Circle on the Summer Solstice. No, no pictures for you. My poor little nose actually seriously considered the option of blistering. I did put on SPF 45 sunscreen, but found that sitting out with a moose and a swan for 5 hours on the tundra can lead to a severe burn on your face. It is still too cold to go out without jackets and stuff. The mosquito's here are pretty thick too! Therefore the only area that was sun burnt was the wee little paramedic face.
For the celebration of the Summer Solstice I thought that I should post some pictures that I managed to get of the Northern Lights before the hours and hours of non-stop sunlight. When I first came here, people kept telling me how stressful they thought the long nights would be. I have found the non-stop daylight to be more stressful! It has been more challenging to not have the desire to SHOOT the sun down....sigh. You can only make things so dark using curtains and even aluminum foil on windows. The things I miss right now from the lower 48? Night sky's full of stars! Though I would even take an Alaskan sky full of Northern Lights instead!
Remember how I described the Northern Lights? It really feels like an energy that is almost alive! It wraps and moves in such an amazing way! It reminds me of waves only without the predictable pattern that the ocean has. It is an experience more than any picture could ever capture! There is an awe and an indescribable feeling of being a witness to something ethereal!