Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Okmok trip, part 2: Setting up Camp

To pick up where I left off--

The weather was beautiful by the time we arrived at Umnak.  We would be staying at a bunkhouse built for the ranchers at the Bering Pacific Ranch, which had pretty much the only infrastructure on the upper section of Umnak Island.  The plane did a fly-by of the ranch first (to alert them to our presence) before looping around to land.  Our "airport shuttle" arrived in the form of a big old Alaska school bus.

Heading in to Umnak Island! The snowy part is the Okmok caldera rim.

view from the runway, looking NE towards Cape Idak

We arrived at the ranch to find that all of the food and equipment we'd sent weeks ahead of time did indeed make it there ok.  The bunkhouse was close to what I'd been expecting (a group of trailers connected under a common roof) except that it was filthy inside.  No one had stayed there in years, and the windows apparently didn't seal well because the interiors were all covered with a layer of ashy dust and big flies.  The kitchen and bathroom both had a lot of mold and mildew, including inside the refrigerators and freezer.  Kudos to our UCSD contingent, Kerry and his student Georgie, who arrived on an earlier flight and dealt with the worst of the mess before we got there.  By evening, through a combined effort, it was starting to look and feel more like a home.  We even kind of had a pet, a very self-sufficient cat who lived there year-round.  We called her Glennda (after Fort Glenn).  Here are some photos of our accommodations:

sorting and staging equipment
The "hallway" of the bunkhouse.  Bedrooms to the right, bathroom straight ahead behind the big truck (!),  kitchen and dining room to the left

My and Georgie's room (post-cleaning!)

part of the dining area, also after a lot of cleaning. We brought the bread maker!

We hung maps inside to help plan our daily work.

You wouldn't have wanted to see what this looked like when we arrived.  The washing machine didn't work, but the dryer did (thank goodness!).

More posts to come, on: the remains of the WWII base on Umnak, sights around the volcano, the seismic and MT work our group did around/on top of the volcano, and other elements of life on the island!

No comments :

Post a Comment