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> July 29, 2006 - Looking at Things Differently
post Jul 30 2006, 12:28 PM
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Today we saw a magical sight. Right off the coast of our beach, there were 7 beluga whales feeding in the icy shallow waters, moving slowly as a pod, rising, letting out a rush of air, and slowly settling into the water again. Their large (10-12 meters) white bodies appeared bright blue under the shallow waters covering them. They stayed almost perfectly parallel with each other as they drifted along feeding.

Beluga Whales Swimming by Isfjord Radio

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I did a bit of basic research on Belugas for us. It seems that we have a good fossil record of the Delphinapterus leucas back to 55-60 million years ago. They live in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas and will migrate (sometimes with Bowhead whales) to open water in the autumn. They stay where the water is shallow, and feed on octopus, squid, shrimp, clams, snails, sandworms and many types of fish. They have teeth, but just swallow their food whole. There is thought to be between 62,000 and 80,000 of these 3-4.5m sized mammals left. They are very social, make lots of cool sounds and live between 25-30 years. They are born gray, but are white by adulthood. What we saw was an average sized pod of adults.

We had Nuna with us again and she likes to ride way up high in the boat. She is really a big help with carrying water samples, and is a proud dog so loves to work. Chris attaches her with a big belt, and gets pulled along. Chris has had to learn some Danish commands to get Nuna to slow down, stay, come, or turn right or left.

Nuna and Chris in the Boat
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On our hike up to the Moraine, the light was really beautiful. I started thinking about how normal these days have begun to feel and really how unique they are. The ground we walk on is so beautiful and colorful! I took some pictures to show you what it looks along our daily “commute”.

Ground Pictures
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As I hiked, I thought about what a fitness teacher once told me at the YMCA. She encouraged us to push near the end of a workout by suggesting we think of people who can’t do what we were doing, because of illness, age, life circumstance… and to push it for them. So, I began to hike thinking of people I know that couldn’t possibly do what we are doing. I mentally piled them all on the top of my pack and carried them along for the day. If you were among them, I hope you enjoyed the ride – you did not make my pack a bit heavier.

Hiking Along the Side of the Linnedallen
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I’ve mentioned the south hut several times, but I want to show you the inside.

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South Hut Beds
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It is a very reassuring structure to have out there! We don’t go in at all, but use a small open shed attached to the back. I love how efficient and tiny it is. If we needed blankets, a fire or safety we would use it. We have stashed things there in case of a problem.

Getting back across the lake was fun today as it was a very full boat and it took us a while. Here is our group, ready for the homeward hike and dinner.

Heading Home
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