Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Harry Brower, Sr.

Harry Brower, Sr. was interviewed on November 7, 1979 by Ron Metzner in Barrow, Alaska for a project related to potential oil development of the Alaskan continental shelf. Interviews from this project appear in Historical References to Ice Conditions Along the Beaufort Sea Coast of Alaska (Scientific Report, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1979). However, Harry Brower's interview was not included in the publication. In this interview, Harry talks about sea ice movement at Cape Halkett and around Barrow, Alaska, and his own experience with being out on moving ice. He also discusses ice pile ups, changes in the sea ice, and the year the ice did not go out in Barrow (1975).

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 97-64-06

Project: Sea Ice Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Nov 7, 1979
Narrator(s): Harry Brower, Sr.
Interviewer(s): Ronald Metzner
Transcriber: Lisa Krynicki
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
North Pacific Research Board
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
Slideshow
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Sections

Ice pile up at Cape Halkett

Being on the moving ice and learning about ice from Joe Ahgeak

Ice pile up along the bluff and topple over

Ice pile ups at Barrow when he was a boy, and in 1977

Ice pile up south of Barrow near the gravel pit in 1949

Leads opening in the ice in the wintertime and pressure ridge formation

Ice pushing up over barrier islands

Ice movement in Elson Lagoon and large pressure ridge in southern Dease Inlet

Ice and pressure ridges in Smith Bay and at Cape Halkett

The year the ice did not go out in Barrow (1975)

Ice grounding in shallow places

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Transcript

RON METZNER: Why don't you say something Harry, just to see if your voice is --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: What -- RON METZNER: Anything. Hi.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well. Just gonna start anyway.

RON METZNER: Okay.

This is November 7th, 1979 and I'm interviewing Harry Brower, Sr. Where were you born and what year?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Barrow. 19 -- October 11th, 1924.

RON METZNER: And where you lived? Where have you lived?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: At Barrow. RON METZNER: Mainly?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Rest of my life.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Did you do any traveling?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Been traveling long -- quite a bit.

RON METZNER: Okay. Okay. I -- I'd like to hear about that pile you saw at Cape Halkett. Can you remember that -- like, what was happening at the time. You were chopping pitch?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, the time when we were had this for fuel, for chopping some pitch that were form up into a oil -- oil seepage.

RON METZNER: Where was that? HARRY BROWER, SR.: At Cape Simpson. RON METZNER: Cape Simpson.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And from there we went out on the ice seal hunting.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: So when that ice start moving, it was piled up over the bluff.

RON METZNER: What time of year was this?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: In springtime. At the last part of May.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Do you remember what year?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: I couldn't say, because I was --

RON METZNER: Was this before --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Might be -- I might be about seventeen or eighteen years of age.

RON METZNER: You were about eighteen maybe? This was before you got married?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Way before I got married.

RON METZNER: When did you get married?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: When I was twenty-one.

RON METZNER: Okay. Okay. And, so the ice started moving. You guys were on it when it started moving?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. We were on top of it. But it scared --

RON METZNER: Oh yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Cracks all over.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Was there any wind? Had there been any storms?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Not more than about ten or fifteen miles of wind. That was movin' this ice.

RON METZNER: Which way was it blowing?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: From the southwest.

RON METZNER: From southwest?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes. And we were watching it when it start piling up because we were on the ice. Then he don't want to come ashore. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: He says it's safer when you're on ice, so you can go further out when it start piling up.

RON METZNER: Who were you with?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: My brother-in-law.

RON METZNER: Uh huh. Who is he?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Joe. RON METZNER: Joe.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Joe Ahgeak. RON METZNER: Joe Ahgeak. Is he older?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: He's way older.

RON METZNER: Yeah. He knew a lot about ice.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes. RON METZNER: Good.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: So that's where I learned most of my ice -- ice movement when I used to follow him so much -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: --when he's hunting out on the sea ice.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Where -- where were those bluffs that you saw the ice go over?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: At Cape Halkett.

RON METZNER: Like -- like at Isuk station, or --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right close to it. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: You know where that -- the point on that -- that Halkett cape? RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: By that camp up there, at the point of it.

RON METZNER: At the point. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right where that big bluff --

RON METZNER: Big bluff is.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- just piled up all -- way up on top of it.

RON METZNER: How high was the bluff?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: I believe about ten feet high.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Then it went over it, but this ice that was piled up is about twenty feet high.

RON METZNER: Did it -- did -- did, like the whole sheet slide up or did it pile in blocks fall on top?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It -- it just piles up as a blocks.

RON METZNER: And blocks fell on --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: Did they fall on the tundra on top?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. It went way up, about fifteen feet away from that shore.

RON METZNER: Onto the land? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Onto the land.

RON METZNER: Behind -- behind the cliff.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. RON METZNER: Piled back there.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. Behind that. So that's how much that ice can move.

RON METZNER: Had there been any melting? Were -- were there a lot of puddles on the ice? Or was it still pretty -- not too rotten.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It was pretty safe, because we were going out with our dog teams, so --

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. It's the end of May so it hadn't -- it hadn't melted a lot like it does, say, in June.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: So that's it. That's --

RON METZNER: Would you say it was probably as thick as it had been that winter? Was it all first year ice?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, it's all winter ice. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Never been moved. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: So that's how much that ice can move. But --

RON METZNER: Had there been any storms before that? The days before or anything?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes, all winter long it's been there.

RON METZNER: No, no I mean --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: So that -- the storm been working on it all winter long. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But that's how much it does in springtime. Taking it up.

RON METZNER: Can you remember anymore -- anymore times like that when ice went over cliffs or bluffs? Like, maybe not that way but other direction?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, like I said, I stayed up here at Barrow and then when I was about ten-year old I've seen it 'bout -- piled up right close in Brower Cafe. ]RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It was about hundred feet high when it piles up on the beach right -- right where -- about ten feet away from the building.

RON METZNER: From Brower's Cafe? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: Yeah. I think your dad talked about that in his book.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: That pile. That was about thirty --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: When I was about ten years old. RON METZNER: Uh-huh, yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: So -- RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Ever since that, it piled up that much in 1977. Like I said, it piled up right there --

RON METZNER: Oh, in town. HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- right in front of the youth center.

RON METZNER: Right, when it ate the -- got those two telephone poles.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: Now that wasn't as high as -- was that as high -- no it wasn't as high as --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No. RON METZNER: -- your -- your --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It was less than halfway --

RON METZNER: To what it was for your father's cafe. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. RON METZNER: In -- uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That thing was way up high.

RON METZNER: Wow. Wow.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: I thought that it was gonna crush that building up.

RON METZNER: Yeah. HARRY BROWER, SR.: But it didn't, it stops.

RON METZNER: Yeah, wow. That's something. Have you -- have you seen any other big movements? When -- when was the one at your father's cafe? Was that in wintertime? It seems like it was --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. It was in -- in February, I think. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Something like that, because the sun was out.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. So the sun was back.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: The sun was already back.

RON METZNER: But it was still cold.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. Might have been in February, because I know very well that the sun was up.

RON METZNER: Right, Okay.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That's -- so -- I don't know if they ever gonna stop that pressure ridge.

RON METZNER: Yeah, yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Once it start happening, its happens.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Have you -- well, was there a storm that caused -- that happened -- be during that --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: The current and the big storm.

RON METZNER: What was the storm? Which way was the wind during that --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: From the west.

RON METZNER: From the west.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Had it been blowing many days? Or just started?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It was blowing -- started in the morning and ended at the evening. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That's how much it piles up. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, but -- that was the highest I've seen around here. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: I've seen few of them in springtime right by the -- the other side of the -- the buildings on the south side, on that big bluff.

RON METZNER: Wh -- south -- south of town? HARRY BROWER, SR.: South of town.

RON METZNER: On -- like where Ukpeagvik was? The old --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right there, where they were getting this gravel from.

RON METZNER: Oh, near the gravel pit --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. RON METZNER: -- by -- by the back of the airport.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. RON METZNER: Okay.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It piled up way up on top -- on top of it one time it climbs up like this --

RON METZNER: Okay, so -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: And then it drops up on the ground.

RON METZNER: So it slid up like a sheet. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: And then -- then fell onto the ground. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh.

RON METZNER: When was that?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That was in the -- 1940 -- '48 or '49. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Cause I was -- I had two kids.

RON METZNER: You had two kids then. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. And that was -- that was just -- was the gravel pit there then?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No. Before they even start getting nothing out of it.

RON METZNER: Okay.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It was just -- the ice start moving and it just comes up --

RON METZNER: Came up the beach.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- and then it goes on top about ten feet thick.

RON METZNER: Wow. It piled to ten feet thick on top? Or the --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It -- it didn't pile, but it just climbs up on this bank here and then it drops up on top of the ground.

RON METZNER: Okay. Are those bluffs about the same height now as they were then?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, they haven't changed much. But only thing is they're takin' so much of it out over there --

RON METZNER: For their gravel pit?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: Yeah. Was it -- was it this side of the gravel pit? Or --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well -- all along there.

RON METZNER: All along? How far down did it go? How many -- I mean, like how many feet down was the ice over on top of the cliff?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Oh, about half a mile.

RON METZNER: Half a mile? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Down the beach. Starting about at the gravel pit going down from the aiport? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: And that was what time of year? That was --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That was in -- in December.

RON METZNER: That was in December?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: What kind of -- had there been any storm before that happened. Or that --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No, didn't have a -- a storm, but it -- the current -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- pushed that ice. It was going into south and that water rises up.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Was there a little wind from the south or anything? Or just the current --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Not much. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But that current was -- that other ice from the other side of it was pushing up -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And then it -- that's how much it push.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. It came up on top.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Right over --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Went over the bank.

RON METZNER: Was that a cold December or a warm December?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, it wasn't too cold, but it -- like -- like today it's -- was warming up.

RON METZNER: Like today. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Was there much -- had -- had the ice frozen?

Was the pack like solid all the way out or was it -- was it all new ice that -- refrozen lead ice?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No, this one was a -- it frozes in fall time.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. And it hadn't --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And it hasn't moved ever since. And then -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: The -- the -- the ice comin' in from after it had opened up --

RON METZNER: Opened the lead?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Opened the lead and it closes up -- RON METZNER: And the ice came back in, yeah --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And that how much it push --

RON METZNER: And it kept pushing? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: And it pushed that right over the top.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh. So, that's it.

RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And after that I haven't seen much unless that one we saw -- RON METZNER: In Barrow?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Barrow in '77.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Have you seen -- okay.

How 'bout -- how 'bout big leads opening close in wintertime?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, sometimes you -- you -- you'd never had the chance to go no place when there's piled up so much. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Like Sungauruk, it piles up quite a bit. Like 30 feet high, twenty feet high. Along this pressure ridge mostly. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: All the time the same place.

RON METZNER: Where's that? How far is -- where's the same place?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Oh, about -- little over a mile from here.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Offshore? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Offshore.

RON METZNER: That's the Chukchi side? Or the -- like the coast here?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Along the coast -- RON METZNER: -- by your house?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, along the coast. It's -- RON METZNER: In front of town.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- always the same place where they had -- there's always a pressure ridge.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Have you ever seen ice move after the pressure ridge sets up? Inside --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No. RON METZNER: -- It's --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Where's this -- this pressure ridge was way down to the bottom, I think. And then that's what blocked the whole works. On the other side it piles up.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. How about if there's a -- a current from the south or a wind from the south? Does it ever lift -- lift --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No.

RON METZNER: -- those so that it could move?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: I don't think so. RON METZNER: Okay.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It's -- after that pressure ridge is on, it start moving on the other side and then it just keep on adding and adding. RON METZNER: Outside.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Outside of it. And on the inside.

RON METZNER: Now in December, when you saw it come over the cliffs here, the pressure ridge hadn't formed yet? HARRY BROWER, SR.: No.

RON METZNER: How 'bout in '77 when the -- when the ice came up the beach at Barrow and got those telephone poles, had there been a pressure ridge?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: A small one.

RON METZNER: A small one. Uh-huh, so it wasn't very heavy. HARRY BROWER, SR.: It wasn't real heavy. It's about ten feet to fifteen feet high. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But it just pushed the whole works.

RON METZNER: Including the ridge? In everything -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: Including the ridge. RON METZNER: -- came in. I see.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And it stays there all -- oh, pretty close to August.

RON METZNER: Oh, the pile that it -- that it made in '77 when it made the big ridge. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes. RON METZNER: When the stuff came in, it took 'till August to go out. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh.

RON METZNER: Okay. Okay. Have -- have you ever seen ice pushed on top of the barrier islands east of here? Like Taupkaluk Island or those islands. Have you seen ice come over the top of the islands anytime?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes. Last year. You know, like a great big one at Taupkaluk.

RON METZNER: I remember that one. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: That's -- we got that one.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, I was -- I used to go up there because I was -- I had my trapline along there.

I likes to go on top of that -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- big ridge so I can look -- look for some polar bears.

RON METZNER: I see. How -- how big was that ridge Taupkaluk?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, it was pretty good size. It's in a -- a great big -- just like a lump. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Just a great big -- little mound. All the other part was flat.

That was the great big one that was right there.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Did -- did you -- did you see it, like the first year it formed, or was this after it had been melting in the summer? When you saw it. This was right when it was pretty new?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, it piled up in -- in January. RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: 'Cause I really know it, 'cause I was -- I goes up there pretty near every day. RON METZNER: Oh. Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And then next day when I went up there it was already there.

RON METZNER: The big pile?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That big pile was already there.

RON METZNER: I see. And how -- do you remember how high it was? The highest?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, it might be to fifteen to twenty feet, something like this or bigger.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Do you know how long it was -- the length of it?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Might be pretty close to -- what was it -- about thirty, forty, fifty feet?

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. That's the really -- that was the really big one?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Just a real big mound. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, it just piled up in one big place.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh, was that -- now was that last year? Or the -- or -- seven, let's see -- the one I'm thinking of was --

was January after the ice piled here at Barrow. Was that the same one? Or is this --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No, that's the other one.

RON METZNER: That's the other one?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: Uh-huh. This is one last year?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, it's been going on in that area. In some years it comes late. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Somtimes it comes earlier.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Does -- it piles but it -- it often piles on that island? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. What -- what -- what can you remember about the other one? The one that was the year before? That was the same year that the ice piled --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, the same place was where it piles up.

RON METZNER: Was it -- how -- how -- can you remember how high the other one was? Or how long it was?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Was a little bit smaller.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Did you ever see one go all the way over the island onto the ice behind it? Onto the --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No, I haven't see any.

RON METZNER: Just -- just maybe slide over the island -- slide over the island?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It was on just -- at the end of the island, and part of it was on top.

RON METZNER: Of the island? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: I see.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That all the way to the lagoon side.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Did you -- did you ever see one that went all the way to the lagoon side?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No. RON METZNER: Don't think so. Okay.

How 'bout the other islands? How 'bout maybe Cooper Island or --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No, I haven't seen any that big. There's always few on the ocean side that goes to the -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- the islands. RON METZNER: Uh--huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: I think about quarter of mile or half a mile.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh, out -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- out --

RON METZNER: -- from the islands. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh.

And then further out it piles up more --

RON METZNER: Yeah. How far out is further out?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, from there you can go out there at least five, six miles out with a Skidoo.

RON METZNER: Yeah, like where you see --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Sometimes it's always smooth -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And there's always just a little pieces of a pressure ridge from there and there, but most of it is smooth ice.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Okay.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But when it got some of these ice pack -- old ice pack --

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Like big -- big -- like polar ice.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: Old ice? Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It freezes up faster -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: We got days where holding this ice that form up in early fall, they got stuck on these and they don't move.

RON METZNER: I see.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: So this -- this -- this old ice we call, it's way down on the bottom. RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And they were pushed in there -- RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: They stays in there all winter long.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Have you ever seen the ice in the lagoon move around? Anytime in winter? Behind the islands?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, just when that -- sometimes for some reasons I don't know how -- how it does, but it piles up. It opens up in wintertime and then it just closes. There's no way of moving ice, but it just crack. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And then it comes together like this and it just piles up.

RON METZNER: Ok, now this is in Simpson Lagoon? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: -- or behind.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: In this other -- or in this lagoon up there too where -- the Elson Lagoon?

RON METZNER: Elson Lagoon, yeah. Hm mm. It -- it will crackle open.

What time of year does that happen? Have you seen that?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: In January. RON METZNER: You've seen --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: January, February --

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. You've seen it crack open in it and then it closes again? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: And forms a little ridge. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh.

RON METZNER: How big is the ridge?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Some goes up to six feet.

RON METZNER: Six feet? Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But there was one nobody -- I think nobody could believe it.

RON METZNER: Yeah? Tell me the story.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, there was one on this Oarlock Islands.

RON METZNER: Where's that? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Above the -- right close to the -- the mouth of these rivers up there.

RON METZNER: This is -- wait -- wait a minute, I've got some maps here.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: On this, Oarlock Islands up there --

RON METZNER: Here's -- where would it -- which way would it be? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Not --

RON METZNER: Here's Barrow.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Not Barrow. It goes on this side -- on the --

RON METZNER: I don't have a good map of the Chukchi side.

This is not a good map, but it's -- here's Barrow. And this is -- this is all water, this -- this dark stuff. And the white is the land. Teshekpuk Lake. HARRY BROWER, SR.:

RON METZNER: Here's Barrow.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: You know in this the -- I dont' --

RON METZNER: This way, this point up here --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It goes this way, and then on this island here -- lagoon here it --

RON METZNER: Ok, wait a minute, let's try this. Here's Barrow. Here's -- here's Duck Camp here.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: You know this island here?

RON METZNER: Dease Inlet?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, that's Dease Inlet here. RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And there's two islands right there.

RON METZNER: In the middle of Dease Inlet?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: In -- in someplace right there.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. And sort of down almost in the middle.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, right -- someplace in here. RON METZNER: Okay.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And that pressure ridge was in here.

RON METZNER: Down the southern part of Dease Inlet right across --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right there. RON METZNER: Right across -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: -- the mouth of the river outlet.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes. Anyway, it was about fifteen feet high.

RON METZNER: There was a pressure ridge down in the inlet fifteen feet --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right there. RON METZNER: When did you see that?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Oh, about six years ago.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. And what time of year did you see that?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: In February.

RON METZNER: Do you -- had you been there before? Do you know when it formed?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, we'd been going there in fall time, all winter long. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And then after we got home, and we were headed back and here we were at this pressure ridge right there.

RON METZNER: And it hadn't been there before? HARRY BROWER, SR.: No.

RON METZNER: When was the last time before you -- before you saw it that it hadn't been there? Like was it in January that it hadn't been there? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well --

RON METZNER: Can you remember? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Hasn't been there all fall.

RON METZNER: Up until December?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Up -- up -- un -- until we saw it. RON METZNER: -- in February? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Had there been any kind of storms or anything? HARRY BROWER, SR.: No.

RON METZNER: Nothing. But a fifteen foot high pressure ridge -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: -- across the back.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That was amazing. I -- that's what we saw. We were three of us.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Who were the other two?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: My two nephews.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. What are their names?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Thomas Junior -- RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And his brother, Kenneth.

RON METZNER: Kenneth Brower, Junior. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Right. Boy, that's surprising.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That was -- that was really surprise me because rest of my life I never see it like this. And here it was. I thought we were on the ocean side.

RON METZNER: Yeah, wow. How deep is the water there? It's pretty shallow? Do you know?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, in some place it's real shallow. That you could even hit the bottom when you're boat riding. RON METZNER: Uh-huh. With -- what about two or three feet?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Oh, yeah, something like that.

RON METZNER: Two or three feet? Maybe three and a half?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But in some places it's -- goes up to nine, ten foot.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Were you -- you must have been in the deeper place for that to happen?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Well, it just goes in there.

RON METZNER: Right across the back of that? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, the whole thing. RON METZNER: All across? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: There's a pressure ridge all the way across? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Just came together and piled fifteen feet? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh.

RON METZNER: How thick were the blocks of ice? How thick did the ice look?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: About four feet.

RON METZNER: Four feet thick? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Back there? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes.

RON METZNER: That's amazing. You're right. HARRY BROWER, SR.: That's what I told you. RON METZNER: Nobody's gonna believe you.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, I told you nobody's gonna believe me if I -- because even though when I'm talking to so many people says that wouldn't happen. But -- but I've seen it.

Yeah, I always tell them what I've seen. RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: If I hadn't seen nothing, I wouldn't tell nothing.

RON METZNER: Right. That's amazing.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That's the -- that's the only -- one year I've seen it ever since I start traveling all by myself. Ever since nineteen -- someplace in 1930. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: The middle -- '35 something like that. RON METZNER: Right.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: When I start following all my older brothers.

RON METZNER: Right. So this is -- this is like -- there -- it's like behind these two islands? It's behind the barrier -- it's behind everything. It's just right across -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: -- it's right across there.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: It was amazing. I never -- I thought it would never happens anything like this. RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But I've seen this small ones way up along here.

RON METZNER: Outside the islands?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No, inside.

RON METZNER: Small ridges in -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: -- in the lagoon, inside. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah, inside the lagoon here.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh, right.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Same thing like this here. Just, now some of 'em goes up to half a mile long. RON METZNER: Half a mile?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Quarter -- quarter of a mile long.

RON METZNER: Five or six feet high?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. Not too high. RON METZNER: Five -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: Four feet high.

RON METZNER: Four feet high, five feet high. And they happen in winter?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh. It doesn't happen all the time. It does --- for some reason it's always happened like this. It was, you know, in some years --

RON METZNER: After everything's frozen up? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: It happens. That's interesting.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: But I've never been traveling too much on -- RON METZNER: Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: -- this part here with dog teams all -- all I have to do is go up there and then sometimes up to in here. RON METZNER: Up to -- up to --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Cape Halkett. RON METZNER: Cape Halkett. HARRY BROWER, SR.: By running dog team around here.

RON METZNER: So you run across Smith Bay? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Do you ever see any leads open in Smith Bay?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Oh, it's always way off shore.

RON METZNER: It's way off shore for Smith Bay. Usually flat in the winter.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. It's always flat in some places out there where they had this open water all the time and it just closes up and opens up, closes up --

RON METZNER: And it was here at this point that -- HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right. RON METZNER: -- at Cape Halkett that you saw --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Right there. RON METZNER: -- the ice go on top. Right-- right here?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah. RON METZNER: Down --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh. At the point right there.

RON METZNER: Okay. Uh-huh. That's interesting.

Okay, let's see did you ever see -- well you -- ridges that survived all summer and into the next winter? Grounded ridges or polar ice that never went out, that just stayed all summer?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: We had one -- one year the ice didn't take off at Barrow. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And there was no way of getting these ships up here so the Northstar came in in October.

RON METZNER: In October. HARRY BROWER, SR.: October. RON METZNER: Huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Unloading groceries with a helicopter.

RON METZNER: Wow. That must --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: They were on, about mile and a half offshore from here. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And they unload these on top of the ice. RON METZNER: Uh-huh.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: And the chopper picks them up from there and then they took them ashore, right here. RON METZNER: I see.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Cause that ice didn't take off all summer long.

RON METZNER: What year was that? Do you remember?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Seventy-four, '75, something like that.

RON METZNER: That's interesting. I think I -- I remember that.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: There's -- in all these years, been taken off, but that was the one that didn't take off.

RON METZNER: Didn't take off.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Sometimes the ice takes off in late part of August, but most of the time it comes off earlier like in July, first part of August. And sometimes never see it again. RON METZNER: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: Like -- like this summer. We didn't see any ice. Once it took off, it took off.

RON METZNER: It was gone. HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yeah.

RON METZNER: Did you ever see ice wash over the barrier islands in summer under big storms?

Pushed up on -- or washed on top or anything?

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No. RON METZNER: No.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: They ended up down further on this ice -- sea ice. It -- it's got the shallow place over there.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Oh, oh here there's a shallow place? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Uh-huh.

RON METZNER: Off east of Barrow. And so that's where it grounds on the shallow place and doesn't get into the islands --

HARRY BROWER, SR.: No. RON METZNER: --at Barrow. Okay. The offshore shallow.

HARRY BROWER, SR.: That's where most of it ends in summertime.

RON METZNER: Piles up on the shallows? HARRY BROWER, SR.: Yes.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. Okay, I have some optional questions -- I can ask you about whales if you want to answer them. If this is -- this is for the --