Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's Tununak Time

HI folks. Yes I still have a blog. I actually let a whole site visit pass without a post, how negligent of me. I was out in Kasigluk-Akula, (home of the Tundra Foxes) in late March through mid April. Since then, I took an awesome little trip to Anchorage, spent a little time in Bethel, and then this past Monday flew on out here to Tununak.

About that flight out here....The pilot came to get me to leave for Tununak and then called the village agent to check on conditions before we headed out to the plane. He came and told me that the Tununak runway was closed but they were working on it. Although we had very little remaining snow in Bethel, evidently they had lots of it out in Tununak. After a little more checking by the pilot we decided to fly out here, circle the runway and decide if it was ok, and if it wasn't, land at nearby Toksook Bay instead. It was a warm day so I would have been ok with a village to village snowmachine ride, but I was hoping against it.

So, we were off. I took my customary 1/2 hour Cessna airplane nap, and woke up when we were getting near the mountains of Nelson Island. I perked up then, knowing there's always a chance of spotting a musk ox out here, which I did spot two way off in the distance. Still have yet to see one up close enough to look like much more than a distant black blob. Anyways, soon we were approaching Tununak Int'l and came down for a closer look. Sure enough, there were tall drifts along the runway. We decided to go for it, and it was a pretty interesting landing. Slush flew all over the place, and we were keeping a close eye on the wings to make sure they'd clear all the drifts. The pilot had to make a couple tricky little moves to avoid clipping them. But, we made it.

So here I am at TNK, Tununak, Paul T. Albert Memorial School, home of the Coasters. I have a LOT of students here and for the most part they are great. It's beautiful out here and I want to get out on some hikes and maybe bag some birdies to eat. Here is the view from in front of the little tiny house I'm staying in.

Directly in front of the village is the bering sea, and people have been dragging boats out to the edge of the ice and are on the ready to shoot/catch seals. I don't know how long the ice will last out in front, or how deep the water below it is, but maybe I'll find out before I leave in two weeks. Hopefully I'll get some more photos and stories to share from here.