Day 15 rest day in Deadhorse.
Deadhorse is near Prudhoe Bay. On a map the area looks like a brain with too many vacuoles. These are pretty little ponds and lakes which in the winter are frozen and covered with ice.
Winter is the busiest time for the oil fields. The drilling gear can be moved easily over the frozen territory. It appeals to those who like working in the cold at up to -60degF.
Our hotel is called SA10 (service area 10). We cover our outside shoes with booties when we enter the building. Our room has a double bed, desk and an en suite. Whoever normally occupies it is away on leave. The maid told me she came to visit her son last summer and ended up with a job here. She says she is terrified of the winter here. Home is Florida for her.
You can see how it is much like a cruise ship. Steel construction, small windows(no balcony cabins), an emphasis on hand sanitation and food available 24 hours a day. Hand sanitation practices included washing hands with special soap (a relative of Lysol) drying with motion sensor dispensed towels followed by antiseptic hand wash, air dried. Better than most wards in NZ hospitals. Anyone wanting seconds has to repeat the same procedure.
Over the road is tanning place. All the buildings are prefab.
Gravel for the roads is being stockpiled. The truck spraying Calcium Chloride solution on the road came past us when we were on the bike. Too late for us to realise that it wasn't Just Water.
We had booked a tour for 9.am and made it just in time after getting lost. You'd agree that this looks just like a tour bus depot.
Guess who is in business here? Prudhoe Bay National Forest courtesy of Halliburton.
Lots and lots of boys' toys resting up through the summer months.
The biggest 'hotel'. Workers stay in these places on a rotation. A few weeks here and a few weeks off. Free flights to and from Anchorage.
Moving Camp, Deadhorse style the whole setup of facilities are moved by road to another site. These ready-built units are brought to Deadhorse by barge from the Pacific. They are easier to move around in winter when everything is frozen.
A gesture to the plant kingdom.
And now the big highlight. Our excursion to the Arctic Ocean. The only access to the ocean is through the security area is via an organized tour.
I have put my feet into The Arctic Ocean. The security man said we were forbidden to swim. I think I would have been up for it. It was not as cold as I expected. 4 weeks ago there was ice up to the beach.
Paddling in Prudhoe Bay, Beaufort Sound, Arctic Ocean.
A bear print especially for tourists!? We saw several caribou on our way to the ocean and birds. We can see why birds from NZ migrate to this fertile place for the summer.
The tiny plant in the sand near the print had flowers that clustered together about the size of a clover flower.