Back to the airport I go, luggage and freshies in tow. At the Anchorage Airport I met up with a majority of the researchers and volunteers with whom I will be joining for the next three weeks. Everyone in Boston has been speculating about the size of the plane that will take me from Anchorage to St. Paul so I tentatively peeked out the window to see what is in store. I was quite pleased to find a really nice jet waiting for us (see below). It had ten rows for about thirty passengers. The only problem was that the plane was full... of both people and luggage. Most of our luggage got bumped to the next flight so that we could all get to St. Paul that evening.
My ride to St. Paul
The plane was still pretty heavy though so we made two stops along the way to refuel: one at King Salmon and the other at Cold Bay. Check out this Google map to see where we traveled along the way.
View Trip to St. Paul in a larger map
After a safe landing, it's time to head to Staff Quarters. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a division called the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). NMFS owns a few buildings on the island that are utilized during a variety of research studies. For the next three weeks it will be ground zero for the biennial Northern fur seal pup survey. Fifteen scientists and researchers are about to move in and call Staff Quarters home. I hope they are ready for us!
On the right in the Staff Quarters pic there is a white building which contains the lab, offices and all of our gear. I will become very familiar with this building in the coming days. The main building (the one to the left in the picture above) is the living quarters. We pull up to the door and head inside. There are small apartments and individual bedrooms with enough room to hold over twenty people. Here is a picture of my room complete with a map of St. Paul (hopefully this will prevent me from getting lost :)
Once unpacked, we received a brief intro and then had a potluck dinner complete with chocolate cake with chocolate icing for dessert. Yum! Now it's time to hit the sack. Tomorrow we have to be up and ready to go at 9 a.m. for our first day of work with the seals! (Which is the stuff you really want to see anyway, right?) Stay tuned!