Week 02 Chile! Alaska! And…

Date Posted: 2.28.2011
Location: 44º54'N 92º47'W
Expedition Basecamp, Minnesota, USA
Weather Conditions: Cloudy, 0°F (-18°C)
There is a reason we mounted the head-cam on Chukchi’s head this week… Mille smiles from ear to ear, “Chukchi is named after the Native people that live in the most western region of Beringia on the Russian side of the Bering Strait, and we thought it would be fitting with some Chukchi Cam action this week… As, we are about to be heading to Chukotka!!!” Yes, yes, we are still going to Alaska too; and Chris and Tasha are about to take off to go to the very tip of South America; while Christine is somewhere to be found in the South Pacific on some island
surrounded by wonderful people—and plastic…

Plastic in the South Pacific ocean by Christine Germano  
  Watch Mille and a world map on where we are
  heading... now!
  Watch the Chukchi Cam in action
  Watch the Polar-Husky-Joar-Chase!
Christine has spent the past three months on tiny islands in the South Pacific working with youth on environmental change—and documenting the horrific plastic pollution in the South Pacific Ocean  
"I am a geography teacher," grins Chris, "and I have had to second-take a few times while talking with Mille this week!"

Go ahead grab a world map—here is the short of it: Monday morning Chris and Tasha are about to jump on an airplane (or rather, six of them as you can read on the blog) to make their way to the most southern airport in the world 8641 miles later! Now in the land of Tierra del Fuego, right across from Antarctica, Chris and Tasha will board the 5Gyres research ship Sea Dragon; to take part in the sailing expedition to round the corner of South America, through the historic Beagle Channel (where Darwin did his first exploration) and up the Chilean Coast.

     It was Joar’s birthday on
   Monday and our friends from
   Jerabek’s New Bohemian
   Bakery brought him a delicious
   gorgeous birthday cake!

   Have you ordered your dog
   treats yet? Donate $10 to help
   us fund-raise, and you get a
   huge Polar Husky dozen (14)!
“Darwin was onboard the Beagle ship 180 years ago and his observations on that journey in so many ways set the standard for how we in science observe the world even today—it is beyond exciting to follow in his foot steps as we set out to work with the research team onboard the Sea Dragon, to investigate the state of plastic debris along the route” says Chris.

  Listen to student explorer Tasha’s  thoughts on the journey ahead

How did Tierra del Fuego earn its name? Check out Polarhusky.com/Seadragon. We all get to go along with Chris, Tasha and the rest of their 9th grade team at the Centennial High School in this, the first-ever full-scale adventure learning expedition in the K-12 classroom by students, for students!

Yes, all of us taking part in this are making history with the journey to South America, and so we are with the Polar Huskies heading for Chukotka!

“It’s not the first time we set sled for Chukotka in Russia,” grins Mille “but it is the first time the Polar Huskies part-take in a dogsled race!” Yes, got that right! Joar (who owns a kennel of fast-paced racing huskies back in his homeland of Norway, mind you) goes on, “preparing for our planned journey to Beringia along the Alaskan coast on the eastern side of the Bering Strait, I have been training this gang to go on, day in and day out, in any harsh conditions we may encounter, pulling heavy loads—now we are setting out to compete, racing along the shoreline of Chukotka some 1100 kilometer (683 miles)! It’s the longest sled race on the continent!”

We are now going to need another set of sleds!  

The air is buzzing with logistics around basecamp right now! Much is still “in-the-making,” but we do know that the race goes on for most of April and we will have to be in Chukotka by end of March; as planned all along we will first be packing up and heading for Alaska—and after the race we will return to Nome to then head on to the northern edge of Beringia on the Alaskan coast of the Arctic Ocean for the month of May! It is truly becoming a Beringia adventure! Sometime in there Christine will be heading for a stay on Little Diomede Island – the tiny island in the middle of the Bering Strait – working with students there on their view on environmental change and truly connecting the two continents!

  Watch how Ashley put on new cool stickers on our big freight sleds

  Watch Jim get to work on making our ‘racing sleds’ ready for Chukotka!

        Another Polar-Husky-inspiring moment
“We are very very honored with this amazing opportunity,” says Mille humbly, “as a gesture for International relations, our team was invited by the honorable Governor Gobin and the Chukotka Sport Committee. Through our work with the National Park Service in Chukotka we already collaborate with the people of Chukotka—and to have the opportunity to be part of building bridge between nations, reconnecting the binds of the people across the strait, in particular as the US and Russia are working on the establishment of a first International Beringia Park—there is just no way I could not accept this generous invitation to take part in the historic Nadezhda race!"Nadezhda is a Russian word for hope!

“Frankly, I have such hope with all the good—and exciting adventures—this will bring along! And, I can not wait to see my many dear friends in Chukotka again,” smiles Mille.

Meet Sila!  

  Listen to Shari on how Sila is doing and her great personality!

Speaking of friends – if you are one of the many who have submitted suggestions for the naming of the newest member of the Polar Husky gang, we have some exciting news from our friend and Cool GoNorth! Scientist Shari Gearheard on Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada! It is now five months since Hershey fathered the litter of new superstars; and with all of what is going on, the pup will stay with Shari and siblings on Baffin until Summer. With that in mind we very much left it to Shari and her husband Jake to decide on the right name…

So, first of all, it’s a girl, not a boy :) And the name is: Silatujuq (SEE-latoo-yook)! Inspired by Allison from Boynton Beach in Florida (US), Silatujuq means “one who is brave” in the dialect of eastern Nunavut where Baffin is at. It also means 'wise' (so it refers to bravery and wisdom). And the root word, Sila, has all kinds of cool meanings. Sila is the weather, the universe, and has a larger meaning about consciousness (again the connection to wisdom). Sila is a very important root word in Inuktitut - lots of cool meanings!!

         Mille was the speaker at out first chat!
Speaking of weather, climate, earth and the universe, don’t miss our chat from NASA headquarters this week! Join our own GoNorth! Cool Scientist Dr. James Foster of NASA for a chat on exploration Wednesday, March 2 at 10 AM! Now, what better man to ask the question “why explore?’ !?

  Watch the Polar Huskies exploring on a
  training run!

  Watch what’s for dinner once the exploring
  is done for the day!

Polar Husky Superstar Sisu  
Sisu, this weeks’ first Polar Husky Superstar, is an explorer by heart—and for that reason she has the potential of becoming a great lead dog!

Whether she is sitting in the kennel on a warm summer-day or out on the trail running across the tundra, know this: Sisu is on the look-out! She is an amazing hunter, and has a very curious personality. While she is shy when she meets new people, she loves attention and she has a very distinct almost barking sound that flyes through the air when she sees, hears or smells anything 'different' that the rest of us should obviously be paying attention to!

Like her brother Chukchi, Sisu too was born the year we were last in Chukotka, but Sisu's name is from the land of the Sami people (in northern Scandivia) - where this Finnish word means "courage, strongwilled determination and perceverance" - it is a fitting description for this little but powerful, passionate and affectionate, hard-working woman. Sisu's tremendous speed will be a big bonus in the race ahead!


        Polar Husky Superstar Chukchi
When you first meet Chukchi, there is pretty much no way you can get to touch him... Chukchi has a very shy and cautious nature with strangers, but don't be fooled: Chukchi loves people, and he loves playing! Really, Chukchi is an intelligent super-happy-kind-of-guy always roaring to go -- and explore!

Since he was a tiny puppy, Chukchi has actually been very independent and never one to seek any kind of trouble. He just likes to have fun and get-a-long! That said, he is a very hard worker who really knows how to dig in and make a difference, even if he is not exactly the largest Polar Husky on the kennel. And trust us: this Polar Husky can fly! Chukchi is a great puller for setting a terrific pace; Something we will be looking to as we now soon set out to return to the land of the people he is named for!