>The Wildlife of Summer

>The most incredible thing about the Alaskan summer here is not just the sunny days and ability to get outside, but the abundance of wildlife that surrounds us. This included the marmots, musk ox, caribou, duck, foxes and other assorted small birds. It is incredible because the winter here is very little of anything especially wildlife.

The memorable sights of this week are the herd of caribou on the spit, the lone buck and the herd of musk ox resting within a couple hundred feet of the station. Chief Casey and I got lucky in seeing the caribou. We were out on the ATV’s taking a ride down the spit when we saw a moving herd down the beach. Although the wind carrying our scent was not in our favor, I still managed to get some good photographs. As we made our way down the beach, after they had got a little distance on us, we were able to catch them running onto wetlands bordering the beach.

I completely missed the lone buck. He was not spooked by the ATV’s nor was he very afraid of us. Chief Casey pointed him out and he let us get some photographs. That was until he gleefully skipped across the pond and headed down the beach.

The musk ox are commonly on station grounds but usually roam a little ways from the station. On this evening they chose to sleep right next to petty officer berthing. It made for an easy approach considering the herd was within 100 feet of the door. I got relatively close before the lead bull was alerted and gave me the look to stay away.

Aside from the wildlife there is a the stunning scenery. I believe that this picture is worth at least a thousand words. I will miss this place when I transfer out. Even with all the challenges, I feel fortunate to have been stationed here. Next week we say our final farewell to ET2 Eric Pojar and welcome ET2 Steven Massie. This day also puts me at the top of the short timers board meaning that I am the next to go. The day is approaching fast even with a few months to go.