A week ago, I would have been hard-pressed to pin any town in Alaska within 500 miles of its true location. This afternoon, riding down to Seward, half buried by luggage in the back of an overstuffed rental van, I’m already feeling like I’ve got this. I’ve drank and played old-time music into the wee hours of the morning with some of the finest musicians in Fairbanks. I’ve driven the the Parks Highway through Denali National Park by moonlight, a road so desolate in winter that I went four hours without seeing a single other car going my way. I’ve swapped crazy tales of misbehavior on the high seas with unnervingly colorful characters over beer and whiskey in a dive bar in Talkeetna. And I don’t think I’ve had a single meal in the past three days that didn’t involve some form of caribou.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m in Alaska this week, tagging along on a ten-day cruise aboard the R/V Sikuliaq. We start in Seward and, if all goes according to plan, will do some current measurement science out in the Gulf of Alaska before continuing on to Seattle. But my job – other than providing comic relief and staying out of the scientists’ way – will be to install and test out that data acquisition system I’ve been working on.
I’ll try to play catch up in the coming days, but the weather’s moving in, and Chief Scientist wants us to get out of port a day early. More news as it happens.