Tuesday, 24.08.2021

I dried my tent in the well-heated rescue station overnight, pack all neatly in my three gear bags, and the borrowed gun in the solid gun case Billy was able to sell me for a good price. I am cleaning the spare kayak off all tape and sticker rests with some white gas, but cannot rinse the sand off yet as the fire station is closed this morning. I need to ask Billy for doing this favor before he sends it off. But we took already this protruding rudder off for a better shipping shape. Billy and I have some interesting conversations about our different worlds and once more, I learned a lot about life in the arctic. Soon it is time to drive to the airport, and I was smiling about the short line of two waiting cars, while another guy came driving by in his truck to take my name as a “drive in – check in”. No ‘terminal’ here at this local airport…
When the arriving passengers left the plane, I see a white man with a gun case looking at my own gun case, asking if I ‘had any luck’? At first, I was not getting what he likes to say, but yes, I had perfect luck NOT to shoot with this gun on the bears!
The lovely lady pilot Lydia is unleashing all the bags and boxes which come in and loads the bags of her new three passengers she has to fly via the tiny inland village Atqasuk (about 200 people) to Barrow. I am asking the pilot, as always on bush flights, if I am allowed to take the co-pilot’s seat, and Lydia is so nice to agree. Thanks! Unfortunately, the cloud coverage is about 95%, and we can barely see any ground during the calm flight. In Atqasuk, two people leave the plane, one man comes in, and we head off to Barrow’s much larger airport.
Barrow is the northernmost city, and one of the larger native villages with about 4000 people living there. I pay for my flight with Matt at the Wright Air desk and get my ‘discount’ by not getting charged for my many luggage. Thanks! Cedric is already waiting for me to pick me up, with Mike outside in the car. We stay in Mike and Cindy’s apartment, where Cedric is already staying for the last three nights. So nice of both of them to provide me the apartment! Cindy is unfortunately out of town, but Mike is living next door with a sea view and a lovely ‘backyard’ of local artifacts, giving a home to dozens of wild small birds! So beautiful. He created ‘palm trees’ out of metal poles with black whale baleen as ‘leaves’. Very creative!
I settle in our new ‘home’ for the next two nights, and Cedric and I have a lot to talk about. He is taking it somehow easy that nature rules, and has made already new plans. Maybe we paddle net year together! We will both fly out on Thursday to Anchorage.
Cedric prepares some lunch, and after I took my well-needed shower and laundry, in the afternoon, we take a walk through town, staring at the beach. The solid ice belt is almost gone by now, sad to see, but who knows how and how strong it comes back in the next days. Our decision is final, no need to mourn now, but we move on and look forward to 2022!
I take many pictures on the walk through town and catch one or the other curiosity for my eyes. Everything is so interesting!