Friday, April 6, 2012

The True Meaning of Wind & Cold

Yesterday morning our outreach videographer (Derek Hallquist, Green River Pictures) and I (Kerri) snowmobiled out on the sea ice with our bear guard Justin.  We followed whaling trails in search of the lead (open water).  After a bit of ride and some confusion, Justin realized that the trail stopped where there had been open water the previous day.  Overnight a huge amount of ice had run into the shorefast ice.  We could see a huge mass of ice floating by in the distance, so Derek set up his camera for a time lapse.  Justin told us that we needed to keep a careful eye on the ice in front of us because it could change instantly if the floating ice mass in the distance ran into this ice.  This was a dangerous situation, particularly as the wind was picking up, so we needed to hurry to shoot the video and head back to safer ice.  Despite all of our down clothing, Derek and I managed to get extremely cold during our trip due to the wind chill out on the exposed sea ice.  Many folks have asked if I am cold (since I get cold frequently in the lower 48!).  However, except for during snow chamber experiments when my hands have gotten cold, I have been pretty warm up here...until yesterday.  It was pretty brutal trying to take photos and video in the cold.  I managed to take a few photos (with gloves on) before my hands were in pain.  You don't go through a chilled stage with the cold here - you go straight to pain!  Derek described it as feeling like his hands were in boiling water.  Unfortunately, he did end up with some frostbite on his cheek, but I expect that the video will be great!  Our snowmobile ride back back to NARL was quite something - riding ~50 mph into ~30 mph winds on the ice.  We were cold!!!
Derek's camera set up for a time lapse video of ice floating in the distance.
Derek interviewing our bear guard Justin.  Notice the flying camera strap on the left - it was ridiculously windy!  My job as the "camera assistant" was to try to keep the fuzzy mic out of the wind!
Our awesome UMIAQ bear guard for the day - Justin
Derek checking out the snowmobile trail through the pressure ridge.  The whaling crews starting breaking trail in February, and whaling will start very soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment