Saturday, 6 February 2010

Arctic Wonders

Location of Colville River

Colville River Delta

Jim and Teena's house on Colville Island

One of the blogs I follow is Jim Helmericks - Arctic Smoke Signals. Jim and his wife live in one of the most remote places on earth - an island in the middle of the Colville Delta on the North Slopes of Alaska. The Colville river drains a wild part of Alaska, empties into the Arctic Ocean and is entirely above the Arctic Circle, it is frozen for 6 months of the year.

I stayed with Jim and Teena when I filmed the Spectacled Eider, a trip which has informed and influenced so much of my thinking. Jim and Teena are kind, solid people who have lived a life most of us can barely imagine, bringing up their 4 sons in a wild place that is totally isolated from the rest of the world. Their house is only accessible in the winter by a 2 day trek on a snow mobile, in the summer by plane.

Jim's father was one of the earliest bush pilots in Alaska and wrote a fascinating book about delivering mail across the North Slopes; he passed away in January.

Have a look at Jim's website, his extraordinary photos of astronomy and wildlife and marvel at people who really do live life at the edge.

Here are some recent photos from his blog:

Musk ox by the house

King Eider on the island

Jim fishing

Arctic fox pinching a fish Jim has just caught!

Common cuckoo - first sighting on Colville Island

Frozen boat with Aurora

purple finch


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