Monday, August 17, 2009

Life at Point Hope

We finally got our internet and phone set up, so we will start updating our adventures.

I know a lot of you have been wondering, so here is what Point Hope is like. It’s usually around 50 F, but there is almost always a stiff breeze coming off the ocean. Everyone wears their coats everywhere, even inside, which is really odd because the natives like to keep the inside of buildings really warm.

There is gravel everywhere, but even so, Chalyse never seems to tire of collecting even the most common of stones. She’ll run here and there picking up every rock that catches her eye, getting only briefly frustrated when she runs out of room in her hands. She uses her pockets and parents to carry the ones that don’t fit. It takes half an hour to go two blocks and we have more rocks than we would like floating around our home, and Chalyse likes to randomly stick them in her mouth. Pretty sure she does it just to push our buttons.

The homes are generally small here, and nearly all made from wood. Some buildings use those large metal storage containers from barges to expand their floor space. The buildings often have several different styles of materials and construction, mostly because of the cost to get materials. Everything is expensive here. To illustrate, milk costs us about $13/gallon. I wish I were exaggerating.

We went to the south beach last Sunday. It was a really beautiful day. The ocean was calm, and the water was so clear. You could look out and see the rocky bottom of the ocean for several yards. When the waves retreated off of the shore, it caused the gravel to flow down, making a sound like rain on a metal roof.

Yesterday, the weather got a bit chillier than it has been, with a little rain and the usual wind. We all broke out our new coats. That night, the vice principal put on a party at the school for the staff. We had a ham, fresh vegetables and fruit, pies, and other goodies. We volunteered to bring rolls. Everyone made a big deal about them. Between the weather and the food, it felt like Thanksgiving.

Our new home

At the Beach

All the natives carry their babies under their coats to keep them warm.
Chalyse in her new coat


  1. I will no longer complain about spending 2.97 on a gallon of milk!! Thanks for the update. It's nice to be able to picture your life a little bit better. It makes it seem much more normal.

  2. I love getting the updates, we are all so curious what is going on over there :) I'm so glad everyone is doing okay and I love the pics! We miss you guys!

  3. Wow, coats in August! I knew the temperatures ranged around 50 in the summer, but I didn't think about rain, wind, and other factors. I really love the pictures - it makes everything seem so much more real.

    Also, I'm not sure about shipping costs, and I know powdered milk doesn't taste the best, but would that help? When I saw $13 a gallon I did a double take to make sure I read it right. It would be a shame if you had to spend the extra salary you're getting for being in Alaska just to pay for increased living costs. Would you like us to try and send you food from the dry pack and wet pack canneries? Just let us know! Glad to see everything seems to be going well!

  4. We have some dry milk but we were going to order more as well as powdered eggs. I guess they only have eggs at the store some of the time. We order a lot of our groceries through Walmart. We do it over the phone and they charge a 10% surcharge and shipping of course. I don't know if it would be less expensive if you guys sent it. It's less to ship in Alaska but we probably pay more for the food even before the surcharge. Oh, one thing we discovered is that with school lunch we get a pint of milk. Camille was maybe going to eat lunches with me on good days so with the two of us that's 5 quarts a week. We do have to pay $3 a lunch but we figure over all it may be cheaper plus we don't have to plan lunches.

  5. Wow...thanks for sharing with us!!! It makes it real...I won't worry so much about you guys...well not as much anyway... I just like to know what things look like, how you are doing and pictures of you...I don't ask for much, do I?!?!?!