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Harriman Expedition Retraced



after the expedition
After the

journals 2001

mammal list - part I
July 21 -
August 5

bird list - part 1
Bird List:
July 21 -
August 5

mammal list - part2
August 5 - 20

bird list -part 2
Bird List:
August 5 - 20


Journal: Jonas Parker

12th Grade, Sitka High School, Sitka, Alaska

July 21, 2001

I got on the airplane this morning, having slept in until the latest possible moment.  Had some orange juice, and had Mom and Erica drop me off at the airport at about 9:30A.M.  The plane was absolutely packed full of people, mostly charter fishermen, heading home.  The flight was non-stop, so I got to Seattle in no time.

I claimed my baggage, and went upstairs to meet Doug and LJ.  I sat down at gate D6, which is where they were supposed to be getting off.  Their time came and went, so I went looking around, and it turned out that their plane had been switched to gate D12.  So I went over there a few minutes before they got off.  I met them, and we all went downstairs to claim their bags.  We all had a ton of gear and we went looking for a cab.  We found out eventually that for an extra few bucks each we could rent a limo instead of a cab, so we did!  The driver packed us all up and took us to the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel. 

This is the classiest hotel I've ever seen!  We went upstairs to our room, unpacked our stuff really quickly, and then wandered around the hotel for a few minutes.  I took a shower, and put on my suit-and-tie get-up.  We then went to a required meeting for the Harriman scholars.  We met some people, and talked  about the logistics of the trip. 

Directly following the meeting, we all went to the dinner, which took three to four hours.  Very, VERY formal.  Shelia Nickerson read some poetry to us tonight -- very powerful and vivid.  LJ and I took some video after dinner, and now we're just enjoying a T1 internet connection, and I am downloading music.  Tomorrow we all have to get up at 5:30A.M. and go to the airport.

July 22, 2001

This morning we got a wake-up call.  It wasn't so bad to get up early, it was even a bit refreshing to know that a body is still capable of that!  LJ and I went downstairs to the lobby and beat a fair amount of the group to breakfast.  We scored a table and helped ourselves to a fancy buffet.  The Allisons joined us later on.  We read the New York Times, and made fun of President Bush for a bit.  Then we made our way to the Greyline bus that was to get us to our plane.  I talked with Pam Wright for the whole bus trip.  She had a lot of interesting things to say about ecotourism and logging. 

Checking into our flight was a piece of cake.  We finally made our way to the gate and found out that Zegram had chartered an entire Alaska Airlines MD80!  LJ, Doug and I had seats in the very back of the plane.  We got into Prince Rupert no problem, and had a terrific welcome committee at the airport.  We all got onto buses, and got on a ferry.  Got off the ferry and were all taken to the Crest Motel for lunch.  Going through customs was a cinch.  We dropped off our bags and went into lunch, a delicious buffet in a room that overlooked Prince Rupert and the channel. 

After lunch, Doug, LJ, Allison Sayer and I went out to check out the town.  We walked all over the place.  We met the Litwins, so we walked with them for a ways.  We walked through the Cow Bay District,which was different.  By the time we had made the circuit, we had just enough time to check out the museum.  We went in there, looked around, and hit the slide show  about the natural history of British Colombia.  We were all tired, so (at least I) was starting to nod off.  We were about 15 minutes late getting back to the hotel, we were supposed to have a meeting with the Young Explorers Team.  Once that was over, we all got on buses and headed down to the boat. 

We got on the boat and got the royal treatment.  We checked in with the reception desk and then we were shown to our rooms.  We attended a safety briefing which was boring.  I had put on my tie, and was the only person wearing one, which was cool.  We listened to lectures by Kay Sloan and Rosita Worl.  Tonight I sat with Paul Alaback and talked about some stuff to do for my project.  I finally learned how to deal with my Arc software, so all I need now is a color printer, and I'll have something to work with.  Tomorrow morning early is Cape Fox.

July 23, 2001

Today began at about 5:45am.  It was brutal, but both LJ and I got up, showered and went to breakfast.  It was a nice continental breakfast.  We were already anchored at Cape Fox, so promptly after breakfast we donned our life vests and got into zodiacs.  I managed to get into the second boat, because I was hanging out with Richard Nelson.  We got to shore, and I walked up to the tideline.  I was close to the film crew and out of nowhere I heard: "Jonas!"  I turned around and Allan with the film crew for PBS said, "We need someone to help us out."  I said, 'I'm it!" 

So for the entire morning reception I hauled a photograph bag and tripod around, and ran errands for them.  It was great, because I got to get to all the places I'd never otherwise get to -- all front row seats!  I didn't get to look around much, but still I was able to see the entire ceremony up close. 

When we returned to the boat I thanked the crew, because I wanted to do some more of it later, and they said they'd give me a shout.  We then listened to Rosita Worl tell us all about the ceremony we had just attended.  That was followed by lunch.  At the very end of lunch, we were docked in Metlakatla.  The crew called me up to their room and I picked up the bag and tripod and some other gear.  We all disembarked and walked around town for a while.  When we got back aboard, the Lieutenant Governor and several museum curators from across the country lectured to us about the significance of the Ketchikan stop and the repatriation of the Native artifacts from Cape Fox.  When they were done, we were at the dock in Ketchikan. 

Once again the film crew called me up to the deck, and we filmed the process of unloading the artifacts from the boat.  It was a big event and was being recorded and watched by many.  With the film crew, I was right in the midst of things.  After the unloading, the crew and I went to an elderÌs house where he lectured to us about the importance of preservation.  Then we all proceeded to the Civic Center on a hilltop in Ketchikan.  This is where all the artifacts were being taken and where the potlatch was later held. 

It was teriffic to be working with the film crew, because even though it was tiring, it was fun, and we were right there in the midst of things and were never bored!  We got back to the boat and I just finished downloading pictures of the day from disks to my hard drive.  ItÌs wonderful!!!  Tomorrow morning we are being granted a bit of a reprieve -- we get to sleep in until 6:30A.M.

July 24, 2001

We slept until 7:00A.M!  We had a nice breakfast, it consisted of a ton of bacon, and pulled into the dock at Wrangell.  LJ and I went down to our rooms to organize the technical gear.  After we did that, the boat was calling for people to begin departing the boat.  LJ and I decided to take a ten-minute nap, but were still able to catch up with the walking tour, no problem. 

We walked a mile out of town and looked at the petroglyphs, which was really neat.  Afterward, LJ and I met up with with Julia O'Malley,  and left the beaten track to look for a house that belonged to an old friend of hers.  We found it, took a few pictures, and then proceeded to the Elks Lodge where the community welcomed us, and the Harriman Expedition offered gifts to the town.  We watched some Tlingit dancers and bought garnets from some local children. 

Back on board, after lunch, Paul Alaback gave a lecture on the Tongass, and made reference to my GIS maps that I had set up on laptops for the lecture.  After that we had several hours of free time, so LJ and I slept for three hours.  When we finally got up, it was a half hour before dinner, and everyone was at the formal cocktail party having free booze.  We showered, and got ready. The dinner was great, and in the evening the YET got together and organized stuff for us to be doing tomorrow.

July 25, 2001

This morning we were scheduled to get up at an ungodly hour -- something like 4:30A.M. to see the entry to Tracy Arm.  I also knew that we had to come out Tracy Arm, so whatever we missed on the way up, we could see on the way out.  LJ and I showered, and had breakfast.  We finally made it up to the top deck and we had plenty of time to see plenty. 

Right off, Allen Moore and Larry Hott snagged me to do some camera assistance for them.  We interviewed several people including Kristine Crossen, Patricia Savage and Kim Heacox.  After they were done filming, I got to take pictures of my own.  After Tracy Arm, which was magnificently beautiful, we proceeded northward, and listened to a lecture by Bill Cronon about the gold rush  of the late 19th century.  Very well done!  That over, we had lunch and then pulled into Juneau. 

I went with Larry and Allen to interview Paul Alaback in a forest setting somewhere.  That turned out to be an adventure, because we had a bit of a hike to do in a patch of forest near Lemon Creek.  Part way through the interview, they ran out of batteries for their wireless mike.  I had to run back to the car and back up the mountain -- twice to get extras.  Still, it was a lot of fun.  Then back to the boat to get dressed up for the governor's dinner at the mansion in Juneau.

It was a nice dinner, in which gifts were exchanged as usual.  Following, we proceeded back down to the boat, and the governor and his wife followed.  Before dinner, I had a chance to interview the governor about some issues concerning Alaska.  I didn't actually interview him, but I held the boom mike.  We had dinner on the boat --with Marjorie and Debbie no less!  Afterwards the governor gave a speech about how great the Harriman Alaska Expedition was, and how great Alaska is.  Then he took questions.  LJ and I presented him with a T-shirt and made a short speech in front of everyone, and I thought I did a great job. 

July 27, 2001

This morning began at the ghastly hour of 4:30A.M.  The boat entered Peril Strait even earlier, but most of us were not willing to get up, but we made it to the top deck by the time we cruised through Salisbury Sound.  It wasn't raining, but the breeze was cold and it was cloudy.  Neva Strait held nothing of too much interest, but Olga Strait yielded a sow grizzly bear and her cub  walking along the shore as we passed. 

We cruised by Sitka, and docked at the Petro Marine Fuel Dock near Seafood Producers Cooperative.  The group disembarked from the boat at 9:30A.M., then milled around for a bit and before boarding Tribal Tours buses.   We rode to the end of the road system and examined the site of the former Alaska Pulp Corporation. 

The Sitka Conservation Society had put tour guides throughout the busses.  After the pulp mill examination, the group proceeded to Allen Marine.  We watched the workers for a bit, and then boarded buses and back to the boat. 

After an exquisite lunch, the group disperesed.  Some went downtown, and others went to the National Historical Park, and we all got back to the boat by 5:30P.M.  We cruised west, then north to Point Adolphus.

July 28, 2001

Today was pretty cool.  It was tiring as usual, because our wake-up call was at 5:30A.M.  I showered and ran up to the top deck to get some digital video of the whales, of which there were dozens, swimming around Point Adolphus.  Our boat floated around for a while and everyone took a bunch of pictures. 

After breakfast we motored into Glacier Bay and by South Marble Island.  We passed dozens of sea lions and hundreds of birds on the island.  After that we cruised up to the far northeast arm of Glacier Bay.  It was there that the sun finally came out -- it was warm and beautiful, and we could see the glaciers and mountains perfectly. 

I helped the film crew with interviews -- of which they did about a dozen all day.  I got to be in charge of doing the film releases today, since Allison was super sick.  After we saw all of the glaciers that we could stomach for a day, we motored out of Glacier Bay, out of Icy Strait and out of Cross Sound.  By that time we were having dinner. 

After dinner LJ, Megan and Elizabeth all went out onto the back deck to fly the kite I bought in Wrangell.  It was a ton of fun.  We had an audience and we managed to film the whole hour-long escapade with my camcorder.  We took the footage back to our room and watched it.  Then we went and mounted our kite next to the Alaskan flag and the flag of Smith College.  Tomorrow it will be interesting to see who notices it, and what peoples' reactions to it will be.

July 29, 2001

This morning we had to get up early to greet the incoming Yakutat visitors.  As we pulled into Yakutat Harbor, a pilot boat dropped off the students and some Native speakers.  First thing in the morning we had a lecture from one of them about the people that have always lived in the Yakutat area.  After that, LJ and I were introduced to the Yakutat students.  After we picked the folks up, we motored to the Hubbard Glacier.  It is supposed to be the largest tidewater glacier in Alaska, which was pretty cool, but we couldn't get very close -- maybe 5 miles from it.  It was still impressive, because it was so big.  Then we motored back to Yakutat and I slept for 2 hours, which was really nice. 

Later Doug, LJ, Larry, Allen, Allison Sayer and I went on a hike on a gravel trail that followed an old railroad.  There were lots of salmonberries out and about and I got to play naturalist for a bit, which was fun.  Allen found a bike ditched in the woods and I put the chain back on and rode off on it.  It was definitely a junker, a piece of garbage and way too small, but it was fun to ride around on.  After a bit, we all got ourselves back to town and met up at the ANB Hall to watch some Native dancers.  Presently, we all got back on board the ship, and spent the rest of the evening working.

July 30, 2001

Today was pretty cool.  I forgot that there was a scholars meeting at 8 A.M.,  so last night I had told LJ that we could do some serious sleeping in.  As it turned out, Doug called us about ten minutes before the meeting and said that we didn't have to be there.  Five minutes later Doug called again and said that we did have to be there.  So LJ and I threw on some clothes and were the third and fourth people to the meeting.  The meeting was tedious -- Tom Litwin pretty much gave us the rundown about how people were tired and how that we should be having fun and that every single event that was offered in every single community was not required.  Pretty much itÌs what Doug has been telling LJ and I, only it took 25 P.hd.s an hour of agreeing with each other to finally come to the conclusion that, yes, having fun as a first priority. 

After that everyone had breakfast and then went up on deck to watch for Cape St. Elias and Kayak Island.  They popped up in the distance and I got it documented.  About an hour later it was suggested that we all come topside to get a look at a massive congregation of sea birds and humpback whales feeding off of Cape St. Elias.  It was indeed very impressive as the whales were lunge feeding and there were literally thousands of birds all around us -- all feeding.  After that excitement, I went to sleep for a bit longer.  When I woke up, it was time for lunch.  By the time lunch was finished, our boat was anchored off of the coast of Kayak Island.  Expedition members gradually disembarked by zodiac for shore.  Once on shore, expedition members split up into groups. 

I went with Conrad Field on the Ïlong walk, which covered all of the intricacies of a beach.  We walked through estuary grasses, the high tide line and the intertidal zone.  We hiked back after a ways, by which time I was exhausted.  We zodiaced (is this a word?) back to the big boat and I promptly went to sleep.  A couple hours later, LJ and I were up for dinner.  The food didnÌt look too great, so I went to the library to do my evening chores, so I could get to bed early.  Cordova tomorrow.

July 31, 2001

This morning we got up after a nice long sleep.  We had breakfast and by the time we were done we were docked in Cordova.  It was raining and I got out of the Wetland walk on the Copper River Delta by going with the film crew.  We went downtown and looked through the museum.  Then we all went to the Orca Bay Lodge -- formerly the Orca Bay Cannery.  We did some filming in the rain and then headed back to the boat.  We got on with some new passengers.  Jamie Kenworthy from the Alaska Science & Technology Fund was there and so was Mead Treadwell from the Institute of the North.  Both of them are the reason LJ, Doug and I are on the boat to begin with.  They joined us on the leg from Cordova to Valdez. 

As we went through Prince William Sound we could see five oil tankers on the horizon queued to enter the Port of Valdez.  Prince William Sound was flat calm and yielded some good views of the Chugach Range.   The film crew did a couple interviews on the top deck it was so nice out.  There was an on- board panel discussion that was very interesting.  Everyone up there seemed to think that Alaska was dependent on the oil industry, and thus we should drill Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge so we don't disappear from the world.  The thing that just drives me crazy, is the fact that these people are close minded to the fact that if the Alaskan economy was to diversify or become less dependent on oil by increasing technology development, we wouldnÌt have to drill in the first place! 

Anyway, by the time the panel discussion was done, everyone went to have dinner and then we were in the Port Of Valdez.  I jumped on the bus with the film crew and went with the rest of the herd to the end of the Alaska Pipeline.  It was a pretty interesting tour and we saw a lot.  Took a lot of pictures too.  Made our way back to the boat and burned a CD with all Harriman related documents for Jordan to update the Institute of the North's website.  LJ and I are going to try and sleep on the top deck (outside) tonight.

August 1, 2001

I woke up this morning to the sound of the Filipino crew mopping the decks.  It was super early.  I managed to get back to sleep and woke up at the wake-up call like everyone else.  When I did finally get up, we were in College Fiord.  We cruised by Wellesley, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Baltimore, Radcliffe, Harvard and Yale Glaciers.  There was a stop in between where everyone cruised around in zodiacs looking at glaciers.  I went with the film crew to interview Kathy Frost and later Kristine Crossen. 

There was a lot of calving going on, on Harvard Glacier that I got some good pictures of.  We  boarded the ship and set sail for Harriman Fiord.  I listened to a portion of Kristine's lecture and then went to take a nap.  When I woke up, we were passing Point Doran, which is where the original Harriman Expedition just barely slipped by.  We nosed in and checked out Cascade, Barry and Coxe Glaciers and then sailed further southwest down Harriman Fiord.  We got good looks at Serpentine, Baker, Detached, Surprise, Cataract, Roaring, Harriman, Dirty, Wedge and Toboggan Glaciers.  We sailed to the end of the Fiord and zodiaced to shore next to the Harriman Glacier.  I went with the film crew and we interviewed Kristine Crossen, and then LJ and I got an interview in.  It was a beautiful glacier and it was super bright and sunny (as it had been all day,) so it was very enjoyable. 

After a couple hours we got back to the Clipper Odyssey for the deck BBQ of lobster and rib eye.  It was great to eat outside in the sun.  Then we set sail for Night Island, which is where we will end up tonight at about 1:00A.M.  Because of the nice weather, we're (LJ, Elizabeth and Megan) going to go sleep up on top again tonight.

August 2, 2001

Today started with the mop crew waking us all up.  Since it got a bit cooler last night, we were covered in dew this morning, and I had to hang up my sleeping bag to dry.  I wolfed down some breakfast and then reported to the film crew, who were going out in the zodiac to film.  I carried up their stuff and went out in the boat with them.  We interviewed David Policansky and Pam Wright.  It was fun, and beautiful. 

After a five mile trip, we got back to the boat.  I goofed off with my photos for a bit and then grabbed a quick lunch.  By the time we were done with lunch, we were anchored up at Latouche Island Copper Mine.  I zodiaced ashore with the film crew and we all hiked up to a huge pile of tailings and interviewed Bob Peck and then Paul Alaback.  We got back to the beach, in just enough time to catch the last zodiac.  We weren't done yet, though.  Allison Eberhard and I went swimming really quick.  We both ran in with all our clothing on for a few minutes.  We dunked ourselves a couple times and then jumped in the zodiac.  We got back to the Clipper Odyssey,  and I took a warm shower and slept through a lecture and dinner.  LJ came and got me at about 9 P.M., because the scholars were going to the top deck to get a group photo.  At that time we were in Icy Bay and had a great view of Tiger Glacier.  Tomorrow is our last full day on board.

August 3, 2001

Today was tiring.  It started early, as the Clipper Odyssey anchored off the Chiswell Islands.  LJ and I had breakfast and then went back to our room to wait for a boarding call.  Allen Moore called up and said, "Come on up to help us out."  So LJ and I went up there with Allison Eberhard.  We got on a zodiac and cruised around.  We interviewed Kathy Frost.  These islands were pretty slick. 

The islands are relatively small, but they rise hundreds of feet out of the ocean.  All of the islands are bird rookeries and sea lion colonies.  It started to sprinkle a bit, so the film crew bagged up all their gear in garbage bags.  I was holding it, and at one point Allen asked for his pack that I had on.  I proceeded to take off the lens bag, which knocked the film camera off my lap and to the floor of the zodiac.  The result was that the handle had almost been ripped off -- the four screws that held it on stripped and snapped.  The incident pretty much put the camera out of commission.  They did some more shooting with their digital camera, which was OK.  They didnÌt seem to be bothered by my accident either, so that was good. 

We got back to the boat, had lunch, and by the time we were done, we were anchored in Harris Bay.  Expedition members zodiaced to shore and explored for a couple hours.  It was pouring rain, but the film crew (I was still with them) interviewed Aaron Crowell.  We were at a site of Native dwellings that dated several hundred years.  Then we zodiaced back to the Clipper Odyssey, and did our work early, because we have to wrap everything up tonight -- weÌre off tomorrow.




For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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