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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pulling the Plug

I returned from Alaska, and the Alaskan Glacier Awareness Project over a year ago. In that time I spent a great deal of energy working on turning the 40 or gigabytes of video into a coherent film, that I could submit to film festivals.

At the moment I have a 28 minute rough cut, complete with music. I am fairly happy with the rough cut, and feel with two or three more passes I could have a fairly good finished project. We got some amazing photographs - which I have carefully kept off the internet (with one exception)- to add a layer of suspense to the film. The final step was finding a Glaciologist to look at our photos and tell us what we are seeing.

It took a while, but I finally found a glaciologist who would tell us what our photos said, and the answer is... Nothing.

It seems tidewater glaciers - which are glaciers that terminate (or end) in the water are incredibly complex. There are many factors that speak to the health of a glacier, and when that glacier terminates in the water it is even more complex. She said that when they study tidewater glaciers, they need to work with several other scientists at the same time. Oceanographers, geologists, meteorologists, etc, etc.

We spent so much time planning the expedition, we didn't think about talking to a scientist before we went, which in retrospect was really stupid. What we saw was this.

About half the glaciers were unrecognizable from their 1957 selves. But some seemed unchanged. We hoped a glaciologist would be able to tell us why that was, and they can, but the photos themselves don't tell the entire story. So with that in mind, I am pulling the plug on the film.

There is no doubt that the glaciers are unhealthy and dying, but our photos don't prove that. It is a much more complex situation. 

The footage will get used in some form, and it will be making appearances on this site. The photos will be finding there way to Instagram and Facebook soon.


Barry glacier from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.

As you are looking at the transformation above, keep in mind the original photo was taken at the end of the season when it should have been the smallest. Our photos were taken in June when they should have been the largest.

I sincerely apologize to the people and sponsors that worked with us. You will continue to be spoken of highly on this site and in other social media, so for the record, a great contact at starbucks got us a ridiculous amount of coffee and other products for use on the trip (including a large gift card to keep us Caffeinated on the drive up and back). I also want to add, if you are driving through Minot, North Dakota, stop at this starbucks and find a guy named "Joosh". We are still talking about Joosh today.



Honestly, there is no other reason to stop in Minot. Sorry Minot, I call it as I see it. 

Another great supporter was Delta Kayaks, who got us our third boat, and they all - even the nearly destroyed by a forklift Delta Fifteen - performed amazingly. Like zero problems amazingly. I stand by my earlier comment that the Delta Seventeen is the best expedition kayak on the planet. Period. 

Our final sponsor was Lazy Otter Charters who comped us a month worth of parking in Whittier Alaska. If you are going to Prince William Sound, please look them up. They Also make great coffee!

The final supporters I need to thank are our Kickstarter Supporters. It is you that I feel I have let down the most. We set a small goal that we blew out of the water, and probably couldn't have done the trip without your help. 

If you donated to the trip, in any manner and you want a copy of my book, please send me an email and I will make that happen. 

A special thanks goes out to Adam Forgash, who was our largest kickstarter backer. He is a great photographer and becoming a great film maker. Thanks for your support Adam. 

Thank you so much to everyone who supported this trip, particularly my amazing wife who lets me undertake crazy things like this from time to time. Stay tuned for photos of the glaciers. And as always, thanks for your support. 

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