Nick, Milly, and I safely arrived in Barrow to overcast and chilly weather but high spirits. We connected with the Ilisagvik team and spent the early afternoon going through our tools and organizing the shop. Almost everything is accounted for, just missing a few metal plates for the ski base design. Plenty of time to find them. The tools look great and there are plenty for all our students. Getting excited to build!
Later in the afternoon, we went downtown to check out the nalukataq festival - the celebration of a successful harvest when the whaling captains distribute whale meat, muktuq, eskimo ice cream, and other delicacies for a community-wide feast.
In the evening, some of our campers arrived and we all went back to the festival to watch the blanket toss, a joyful and fun event. The celebration was an opportunity for everyone to come out in their finest parkas and for all who wanted to try their jump skills on the blanket. The clearer weather means the crowd will probably be celebrating with traditional dances well into the wee hours of the morning.
Some jumpers added color and excitement by tossing bags of candy while in the air, adding an extra aspect to coordinate during an already tricky maneuver.
It's been an incredible first day!