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19 September, 2001

A "Journal" Journal

Being on this expedition has been a wonderful learning experience for me, and I have enjoyed sharing it through journals. Writing a journal each day given me an excuse talk with numerous people on board and learn much about the science, the ship, and the people on the Healy. It has been quite educational! The most wonderful part of my day is when the satellite link is made and e-mail comes and goes. When e-mail leaves the ship, my journals and pictures go out to the TEA website where they are posted for you to read. At the same time, e-mails come in with questions and comments from readers. On a typical day, I receive around 15 e-mails. The most I received at once was 96 (after several days with no satellite link) and the least was 2. Your contact has been of the utmost importance to my well-being!

It has given me much pleasure to read and respond to each e-mail that I have received through the website. The audience has been varied and includes students of all ages from kindergarten to college, teachers of all subjects, principals, administrators, and college professors. Also science junkies, strangers (some from foreign countries), geologists, the media, and the family, friends, and co-workers of scientists and Coast Guard Crew have responded. It is like opening presents on Christmas morning every time that e-mails arrive!

And just what do these e-mails say? Many have included comments about science, the crew, the scenery, and updates on the news from home. I have also received numerous questions. Here are a few examples:

--Do you eat ice cream up there? (unfortunately I do-- almost every day)

--How long do scientists have each year to conduct research in the Arctic? (it depends on many variables but is possible year-round on the Healy)

--Are there animals on the ship with you? (only humans and the specimens collected by Linda Kuhnz)

--Can you go sledding? (I suppose it's possible on ice liberty days, but no one has)

--What is your favorite thing about the Arctic? (the scenery and the North Pole experience that we had)

--What is the biggest adaptation you've had to make for the climate and resources around you? (few because the ship has all of the comforts of home)

--How many times did you fall off of the treadmill? (none, yet!)

--Have you learned anything new about the rock cycle? (lots)

--How can you sleep with all of the sunshine? (I close my porthole and pretend it's dark)

--Who won the soccer games you played on the ice? (not the Americans!)

--How many teachers are on board besides you? (I'm the only school teacher, but some of the scientists are professors)

--Are you homesick? (life has been good here, but some days I do feel homesick and miss my family)

I thank you for the support, encouragement, and fun that your contact has provided me. If there is any subject I haven't covered in a journal that you would like to know about, please offer your suggestions soon. Or if you would rather just say hello, that would be wonderful, too. I have truly enjoyed hearing from everyone and hope that I continue to receive responses for the final two weeks of our expedition in the Arctic.

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