A caribou strolls along a small lake near the main road, under the watchful eye of waterfowl.
Every summer, tourist arrive by the bus loads to dip their toes into the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean.) This spot is the only access where they can fulfill their desires. The area is known as East Dock and is within the controlled access area of the Prudhoe Bay oil field. Many people go a step further with total submersion. Cloths are optional. To visit this site you must arrange a tour with the private tour company located in Deadhorse, just off the oil lease property. Holland America and Princess Cruise Lines both have regular tours to this location and upon thier arrival on the slope are handled by the same tour company. Would you believe that the numbers this year for those coming on the oil field for a tour will top 8000 between May 15Th and September 15Th. For more info about the tours let me give you this number. 907-659-2368. and the web site, http://www.arcticcaribouinn.com
After 9/11, I was directly involved in the tours for two years. It was amazing to see people arrive with so many negative ideas about the oil industry. After seeing the standards in place that we must abide by, and seeing first hand just how clean this place is, most walked away with a different point of view.
Sand dunes in the Arctic? Yep, and they are hundreds of years old. The sand is blown to this area from the Sagvanirktok River Delta. They are located just off the main road which takes you to the East Dock area. They are for viewing only. No personnel is allowed to walk on the tundra or any area such as this, without being allowed to do so by the BP Environmental Department. This requires a permit process.
Geese and other waterfowl are everywhere. This year it seems like there are more birds then ever. It is one of the highlights of being on the slope. Watching the animal life do its thing.
All images by Randy J. Cole