Today, Wednesday, we awoke with big plans. We had reserved a float plane to take us to the far western side of Kodiak to install two sites, the side of Kodiak Island closest to the earthquake. We had pre-shipped the large and heavy gear to one village site, had tested our equipment and procedures, and had carefully packed boxes for maximum efficiency on site. We awoke, and after some coffee and breakfast packed lunches, and loaded the truck. It was not the nicest of days, but what could be called an “Aleutian day”, kind of foggy, drizzly, a bit of wind. That was worrying but the float plane office said to come down.

Our field support vehicle

We are using a carrier we used extensively in the 2018-19 AACSE deployment and always got us safely to our field sites. On this rapid-response aftershock survey, it was easiest for most of the sites to be just re-occupying places we already had been. Permitting is a challenge. Projects like this require tremendous effort in finding who owns what land, who will give permission for placing equipment, and what are their procedures for getting permissions. On Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula we could deal with National Wildlife Refuges, local borough school districts, the state, a national park, some private owners, and several native corporations. All have been incredibly welcoming as long as we follow procedures. All of that means that when we show up ten days after the earthquake, we rely upon our existing networks and contacts, and re-use sites. 

Our float plane provider

We arrive in the morning to find a fancy new set of offices for the float plane operators – last time we were there in 2019 they worked out of a tiny kiosk. Clearly, they have been busy, lots of fishing and hunting on Kodiak keeps visitors coming and transport companies active. But, as I go to check in, bad news: no flying today!  In Kodiak the fog is too thick for planes to take off, and on the western side the wind is blowing the wrong way. Our first stop is a small distant lake with a steep hill on one side, which only works if they can take off flying away from the hill. Not today. We discuss the rest of the week, re-plan everything, but the schedule is scrambled. This is fairly typical in the area, weather prediction poses challenges, and bad weather shuts down flying on a regular basis.

Kodiak Lodging

So what do we do? We take a weather day. Part of that is spent catching up on paperwork, but also a few outings. For example, we learned that the Kodiak Walmart has a stuffed large brown bear by the entrance, how uncommon is that?

We also spent time probing deeper into some of the mysteries of our instruments. We received data-loggers from the IRIS-PASSCAL Instrument Center that none of us have used before, so the day gives us a chance to try to understand the tech. And, we had a bit of time to explore the outskirts of Kodiak, where ruins of an old WWII fort have become a coastal park.

Team Kodiak: Enrique, Geoff and Dan

Hopefully, we can get out and return to seismology, if not tomorrow then the next day. All par for the course doing work in this area

Geoff Abers


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