Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Joe Leavitt, Interview 1

Joe Leavitt was interviewed on June 25, 2009 by Matthew Druckenmiller in Barrow, Alaska. This interview was part of Matthew's research for a Ph.D. in Snow, Ice and Permafrost Geophysics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For his project, he mapped the trails built by whalers to their camps at the edge of the sea ice and talked with local residents about ice conditions, whale camps, and trail building. Results of his research can be found in his dissertation Alaska Shorefast Ice: Interfacing Geophysics With Local Sea Ice Knowledge and Use (2011). In this interview, Joe talks about the ice conditions, trails, camp locations and whaling in Barrow during the 2009 spring season.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2013-25-15

Project: Sea Ice Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Jun 25, 2009
Narrator(s): Joe Leavitt
Interviewer(s): Matthew Druckenmiller
Transcriber: Joan O'Leary
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
North Pacific Research Board
Alternate Transcripts
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Slideshow
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Sections

1963 whaling season with constant west wind and only one whale caught

Dealing with slush ice and cracks

Trying to pull up a whale on ice that is not strong enough

Ice cracks, ice movement, and pressure ridges

Origin of place names

Describing Muġałłiq

Trail building, ice types, and safe ice

Effect of currents and wind on ice conditions

Ice break-out event and drifting out

Flat ice and current south of Barrow and safe whaling locations

Walrus hunters needing to be aware of the current

Young ice and heavy ice and building of pressure ridges

Taking depth soundings and understanding the current

Importance of observation and experience to undestand and predict ice conditions

Lack of strength and safety of slush ice

Ice breaking , thin ice, flat ice, and safer heavy ice

Effect of warmer water and current melting ice cracks

Describing the year's ice conditions

Catching whales when there is not much open water

Putting in trail and selecting location for whale camp

Discussing project final products: trail maps and report

Safer and more dangerous ice locations near Barrow

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Transcript

JOE LEAVITT: It's not the first time that Barrow gets so few whales. My father used -- my father used to tell me that in 1963 he -- he was the only crew that got a whale cause the west wind was blowing so much that the water never did open up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: He -- he actually got a whale in a little small opening. And only the big whales were going by through that -- through that one opening. That’s how they got that one whale in 1963. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: I remember that year cause he used to have that baleen hanging up in our -- in our house long time ago. He used to have a baleen there. And he said he was the only one that got the whales back in 1963 cause the -- too much west wind.

It -- it just blew like maybe like this year that the west wind just blew all the way through -- all the way through the season. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: So it’s not the first time that it -- that it done that.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Was that -- is that west wind related to the -- the slush ice that was there most of the season, too?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. Yeah. That ice just -- did you go out there?

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, I went out there a few times I --

JOE LEAVITT: Did you see walls of it just --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, just -- I went out there on -- I think on this day actually -- on May 16th with Roy and we were -- we were on David Leavitt’s trail so we were out --

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, that’s our trail. Yeah. Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, okay, you guys were on the same trail. The day I saw you -- JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- we stopped by -- JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, okay, yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- and you were in the tent.

And we could just see a wall of that slushy stuff. I mean it was --

JOE LEAVITT: We call it -- we call it Muġałłiq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um.

JOE LEAVITT: Muġałłiq. There's -- there's no strength in that ice at all. There's too much -- there's too much snow in there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: There's no strength at all in that ice. It just -- it just rubs sideways and just keeps building it up.

See how that wall was kind of straight up? MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, just --

JOE LEAVITT: And it's real hard to work with -- we even -- if you try to chop it off -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It don’t break like regular ice. There's too much snow in it. Your pick just goes through and you don’t break nothing off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: So that -- that’s that ice that was there. We call in Muġałłiq, cause of the sideways movement, you know, it goes like that all the time rubbing -- just rubbing all the way through.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And over here on this side there was too many young cracks. Too many -- too many young cracks right around that area that they had -- they had to -- they couldn’t really get out there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Down here on this peninsula that -- JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- came out. JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: So many young cracks on that side.

We -- we were the ones with -- on our crew -- we were the ones with the good trail all right, but that slush ice was always on the way.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um. So you -- you guys use this trail?

JOE LEAVITT: We were with David Leavitt and them. That one.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um. Do you guys hunted the whole season or did you go --

JOE LEAVITT: We -- we stayed there until they got the last whales. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um.

JOE LEAVITT: Actually that -- that whale they got the last time. Ned Arey. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That was the only whale I saw. I never saw any blows at all. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Earlier in the season they said they saw the blows over there, but that was when it -- when it first opened up it had lots of young ice that only one foot wide maybe that’s part of it showing up here.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: It was only one foot -- one foot thick. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They had that all the way going down all the way over there. If it's one foot thick like that, you can’t -- you can’t -- you got no place to put up the whale.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. So -- so did Ned Arey get his whale up here or --

JOE LEAVITT: Just right off . We -- we saw it come up right by our -- right by our -- right by our boat launch right there.

We were still on the Muġałłiq, that slush ice right there, but we chased it down and they finally got it just off shore. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And then they tried to pull up their whale right there where their -- where their camp was. Ned Arey's camp.

The -- they actually had to -- they did a lot of work on it. They had to -- the ice, that Muġałłiq, wouldn’t support the head of the whale. That’s the heaviest part of the whale. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The ice is -- I mean the head is the heaviest part of the whale.

So they actually cut off the -- cut off the head just to put up the body. They made a mistake of not tying off the head. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um.

JOE LEAVITT: When the meat gets spoiled, it starts bubbling up, and usually the head will float up just from the tongue -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um.

JOE LEAVITT: The tongue got a lot of gasses in it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: When it spoils. But when it's not spoiled, it will sink when the meat is not rotten or whatever you call it.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh. So -- so did that head sink?

JOE LEAVITT: The head sank.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Oh, really.

JOE LEAVITT: We sure wanted to get the baleen all right, but they didn’t tie it off. It sunk right there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, I heard that -- that -- Didn’t one of the -- was it the whale before that one where they actually did tie the head off and they --

Roy -- Roy was telling me that he thought it still might be out there tied to the other.

JOE LEAVITT: It was spread out further. It was on the west side. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They tied off Johnny Leavitt’s whale. I mean the head.

But then the fourth whale -- Ahkivgak’s whale, they couldn’t -- the trail just deteriorated so fast over there while they got two whales over there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Right down here?

JOE LEAVITT: It was right off Nunavaaq right off here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Oh, okay.

JOE LEAVITT: It must've been this trail. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Eugene’s trail. They were on Eugene’s. But they moved over here. They were in front of Nunavaaq. Here’s Nunavaaq right here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: They were in front of here. And they tied that whale head off, but they never did go back for it because of all the young ice that --

The cracks that just opened up this spring and never did close back up. We call that Nutaqqutaq. We call that Nutaqqutaq.

That’s what kept the ice so thin in some of that area when you went snowmachining over there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh. JOE LEAVITT: You could see a lot of -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Cracks.

JOE LEAVITT: A lot of young cracks. They were --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Down on -- like on Eugene’s trail, you mean?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, on Eugene’s trail.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: We did see some. JOE LEAVITT: It's actually was maybe's part of this here.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: But it was further back somewhere around here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When it opened up, it never did close it back up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Usually they close back up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: To a -- you know, to a crack you can jump over. But this ones were almost eighth of a mile even they were that wide. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The young ice that was over there.

Cause I was thinking that cause there's nothing to push all that ice maybe the ice was all the same, same thickness out there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: You need heavier ice to -- to do some -- to do some major ridging. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: See these ridges out here that far? When I looked at them, they’re just from the ice just going sideways.

Lot of them -- lot of them just build ridges real quick just from the ice moving sideways.

That’s -- that’s how I look at it. Cause when I'm doing my ice observations -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: I would notice that when the ice breaks off the first time and next day there'll be ridges and it's just from the ice.

When it starts moving it just rubs against there and a piece is stuck maybe right there and it will just ridge it up real quick. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: But that didn’t happen down here this year?

JOE LEAVITT: No, not too much. It -- there's still a piece -- the ice -- the water right now is right off Hollywood. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And -- and there're still some ridging over here that -- that got left behind.

Nunavaaq is known for a place to have ridges, too. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That one year the ridges were actually on top of the bank on the other side of Nunavaaq Bay. On top of the bank. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And they were -- there were a good two stories high.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: When was that, two years ago?

JOE LEAVITT: Two, three years ago. Maybe you seen it?

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, I did. I drove -- well, if I’m thinking of the same year it was --

JOE LEAVITT: It was on top of the bank.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: It was two years ago. Yeah, I -- I -- JOE LEAVITT: Two, three years ago.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I drove down there and -- and was amazed actually at that. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Cause I hadn’t expected it.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s -- that’s the problem with the first year ice. It -- when it’s -- even in the summer it will be -- it can be pushed up if there's no ridges that are grounded out here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And even in the summer the -- when the west winds blow, heavier ice coming, it will actually push up the -- push up the ice on top of the gravel. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s the problem with the first year ice. It’s -- when it floats up, it's just floating so the ice will actually push it -- push it on top of the banks. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: We've had seasons -- winters up here that it's actually knocked down telephone poles. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I think Andy -- Andy Mahoney was up here when that happened. JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: That one year, I believe.

But does the wording in the book, is that related to ice or -- ?

JOE LEAVITT: No, Nunavaaq. That’s a -- that’s a place name. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Nunavaaq is a place name. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But -- but that’s where ridging always -- when I had meetings with the elders. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Ben always tell me Nunavaaq always have ridges. For some reason there's a shoal or something out here that -- there's a shallow spot he was trying to say. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Like -- like a shoal or something right off -- right off Nunavaaq -- a shallow spot. That’s why it always have the ridges around there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh. Are there any names that are given to areas of coastline based on -- ? JOE LEAVITT: All of them. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- the type of conditions that you -- JOE LEAVITT: All of them have names. All of these -- all of these gullies have names. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They’re actually working on that. I got a hold of a map that we’re using in the book we’re working on . MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Oh, with the -- JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: With Henry? JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. All of these gullies have names -- place names. All these little gullies. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And the low spots. They all have names.

All -- in the Barrow area they have names all the way down to Peard Bay. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: In that map, they haven’t corrected it yet that’s why they're not releasing it yet -- the borough. They’re all in there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Somebody who knew all the place names put them all down there. All of these have -- all of these little creeks, even little gullies, they all have names.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Are those names -- how do they get those names? What makes them decide what type of name it gets?

JOE LEAVITT: They were -- they were there when -- I don’t know how they got the names, but maybe through people. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: They always -- when they -- when they know -- when they’re talking about something like on the ice, they will use that as a landmark. And they all have names like that. But Hollywood is where they made the movie . MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That one -- that one is actually Sikłukaq. But after they made the movie they put in Hollywood, so a lot of people call it Hollywood. It's actually Sikłukaq.

Anyway, all these -- all these gullies, they all have names. Even the high spots that stick out on the land, they would have a name for that. That’s what Napasraq is -- Napasraq is a high spot -- the highest spot in the whole up to the Monument. It's the highest spot right there. That’s the one that shows up when you’re out in the ocean. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The high spot. So Napasraq is actually like a landmark name. It's -- it's the highest -- it’s off the bank a little bit. It's the highest spot. It's away from the bank, but -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: If you go to Napasraq and go right on top of it, you can actually get a better view than -- than from the bank itself. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It's just a little ways from the bank, but you get a better view of it. It's higher.

The elevation of Napasraq is higher. It's actually right off the bank of it -- just a little quarter -- half mile away maybe -- quarter mile away.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: One of the things that I was curious about is -- is that -- that Muġałłiq? JOE LEAVITT: Muġałłiq, yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: What -- what do you think causes the ice to be that way. In my mind, it must be -- JOE LEAVITT: Snow. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Just --

JOE LEAVITT: Snow. Snow. It's a lot of snow. If it -- This year there was a lot of snow up here, okay.

And when it open up if the water is cold enough, the snow won’t -- the snow won’t melt from the water itself. When it opened up earlier, even the snow from on top of the ice. It's the snow that causes that to happen.

You can tell when you’re trying to -- when you’re trying to use your pick on that Muġałłiq. You can tell there's a lot of snow, cause your pick it don’t break off the ice like when you’re chopping ice it will shatter. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: But Muġałłiq is snow. You can tell right away, cause when you try to use your pick, your pick just goes right through and it -- you can tell it's snow. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It’s snow. That's what it is. This year there was a lot of snow up here. A lot of snow -- a lot of snow on the tundra this year so that -- that’s the main reason for Muġałłiq.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh. That makes sense.

JOE LEAVITT: It’s the snow. You can tell one time that it's the snow that causes the Muġałłiq to be like that.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh. So, what -- what type of ice did the trail that you guys used -- JOE LEAVITT: That one -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I mean -- how -- how would you describe the --

JOE LEAVITT: That one -- that one, the reason we went right there is cause this side formed -- formed a -- formed the ice first in maybe November. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When it first starts forming.

That -- that one was -- we never had no cracks. It was solid all the way down. It was -- it was no Muġałłiq or nothing. It was solid all the way down -- down to our -- down to the water -- down to where the old water used to be -- the old water line maybe this one is the one right there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh. Yeah, well, I think --

JOE LEAVITT: And -- and on this side of it was the younger ice -- the younger ice or some of this didn’t come off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: This stuff that was only one foot thick. Some of it didn’t come up at all.

So this one was solid -- more solid over here. And this -- this side of it had a lot of the young cracks -- a lot of the thin ice was over on this side of it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But this side was more solid over here on this side. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: It was more solid on this side. That’s why we ended up over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They didn’t want to go try to go down there and --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, these -- these ridges I noticed going out on these trails that there is some pretty significant ridges there. JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Is that -- is that a common type of ridge?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah, especially for around here -- around here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Right by the Point . MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Before it goes over the Point -- the ice. It always -- the ice always come in.

When the ice is coming in, it always get maybe no place to go and start going this way. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s why the ridges are always high on this side over here, where the current is over here -- where the two currents are. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Here?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. That’s -- that’s the most dangerous part of whaling is the Point.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh. Because you -- you have the currents that are coming like this? JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And you have -- JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- the ones that are coming -- JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. Right there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: From the west.

JOE LEAVITT: See it used to be -- it used to be when we had a lot of the ice, on the east wind -- On the east wind, this side would open. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But this side would be closed all the time. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But when it got west wind, this side close and this side open. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Akilinaaq, we call it -- Akilinaaq. That’s how it used to work, but we don’t have all that multi-year ice anymore so a lot of time it stays open now. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh. J

OE LEAVITT: It used to be that on the west -- east -- east side of the Point on the west wind it would open up and this side close. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s how it used to work, but a lot of this changing so much. The weather is changing we could --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: But what would cause the -- the ice over here to open?

JOE LEAVITT: Cause it's a point. If you had a bigger map -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Right here -- right out here. If you could go, yeah right there. On the west wind see, the west wind. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: The ice comes in right here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But it would open up on this side -- not really close to the islands, but this side would open. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause Barrow -- Point Barrow is such a big point. And, you know, Canada is way over here. See it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s why this side would open. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But when it’s -- from the east wind, it would close right there. This side would close coming in -- the ice coming in -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: -- close over here from the east wind, and open up on this side. See what I’m trying to say? MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, yeah, I think so. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, cause Barrow is the point. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause Barrow is the point.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So -- so with change is -- I’m just -- I don’t quite understand what has changed -- that has changed that pattern? Is it the --

JOE LEAVITT: Maybe -- maybe -- maybe the point is -- the point is eroding so fast nowadays. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Oh. JOE LEAVITT: See. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: If you look at a lot of the old pictures, the Point is actually maybe even a mile or more out further from long ago -- from the 1800’s or something.

If you look at that -- if you look at that picture at the New Science Building. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That -- it begins to make sense to me that the Point is actually eroding so fast now. Cause the Point -- actually the Point was -- used to be way -- way out here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Okay. JOE LEAVITT: Okay. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s why there is always a -- where the two currents meet. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: There was always a big pressure ridge that they tried to take care of. I mean they -- they try to make sure there's a pressure ridge real high and grounded and solid off the Point. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: If it’s -- if it’s -- some years it never -- there's no pressure ridge. When there's no pressure ridge right here or around the Point area -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s well grounded. When the bigger ice comes in from the east, it can actually break off the ice all the way down. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That -- that -- that pressure ridge right there acts as a deflector for the ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: It can actually break it all the way down through the stories that they tell. It can break it all the way down to Franklin Point right over there by Wainwright. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: So they -- so they try to look at -- make sure that there’s a pressure ridge off the Point that is well grounded. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: If it’s not there, that in one of our -- when we got drifted out -- I don’t know how many years ago, early 90’s maybe.

There was no pressure ridge or something right here. And the ice broke off behind all the first pressure ridges even. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: All the way down and everybody got drifted out. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And that was a -- Was that --

JOE LEAVITT: From the east winds. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: East wind.

JOE LEAVITT: From the east wind. From the east wind and the -- and the --

I remember that day that we had a lot of -- a lot of current, but the current was coming from the other way so the tide was actually coming up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um. Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Or that tide was high or something, but the east wind was blowing maybe over 30 miles an hour.

We got off the lead and moved our camp back, but -- but we didn’t go far -- we didn’t go past the first pressure ridge from the beach. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause there was a real big pressure ridge that was right there and older guys told us that -- that one won’t go cause it's well grounded. It wasn’t grounded. It took off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s why people always try to make sure they know if there's a pressure ridge over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That -- that pressure ridge when it's well grounded and solid, it can act as a deflector for the ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh. Rather than --

JOE LEAVITT: If it’s not there, uh huh, if it's not there, the heavier ice coming in from the east. If it's not there, that’s what happens.

The ice tends to break off on the flat spot this side of the pressure ridge. That’s -- that's -- that's what it is. Kisitchaq they would call that. Kisitchaq is something that is well grounded even -- even the well grounded ones they will actually stay into August. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The pressure ridges will actually stay into August -- the pressure ridges that are well grounded.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. And what do you think the case was this year?

JOE LEAVITT: There was -- there was -- there was some high ridges over there in front of the Point. But all we had was west winds. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Too much west wind is -- it didn’t -- the weather never did cooperate with us.

See the ice over here? There's a lot less current on this side over here. A lot less current. The current tries to stay out over here sometimes. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh. JOE LEAVITT: Further out. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: There's a lot less current over here.

Even further south, that’s why it opens up real close to the shore around here -- around this is maybe around Suŋŋuruaq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: This one can -- there’s this part going further -- the further south you go the flatter the ice is on this side, you know, the -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The shoreline's going to be over here, but it's going to be flatter over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause a lot less current over here. The current, when it comes, it tends to go towards the Point. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: When it's going to hit. And that’s where all the ridges come up over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Um.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s what we always look out for, too, is -- Cause this is real flat ice, and usually a lot of times it's only the first year ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: So when the -- when the tides come up, this ice that is so flat over here will actually break off in big pans of ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: And when there’s a west wind, it will come up towards Barrow and then hit along Barrow. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s when the ridging occurs, too, in May. It's from the ice that’s -- that got -- that was there all winter over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But when the tides lift it up, it goes towards Barrow and hits around here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: So a lot of it is ridged over here from this.

You’ve been here in May about a couple years ago that there was a super big pressure ridge. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: That just appeared out of nowhere. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s -- that’s - that’s what I’m trying to tell you is --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: When this stuff broke off down here? JOE LEAVITT: When this stuff breaks off. You could actually see it on the satellites, too. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: People mentioned that to me that on the satellite it broke off by Tobukpeshuk or somewhere.

And that big pressure ridge just right off the airport over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Showed up just out of nowhere.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, yeah. JOE LEAVITT: That was from the big pans of ice that broke off over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And got pushed up over here. Pushed up in front of Barrow.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. Yeah, I remember that.

JOE LEAVITT: The -- the furthest out you go, the less current there's over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And that's why it's safer to go whaling this side of the Point. That’s why -- that’s why nobody goes whaling on this side. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: On the east side. Some years they will all right, but nobody ever goes whaling --

And that one year we went out 20 miles east of the Point in June looking for -- we -- we found the whales all right. They were so big, but the current was so strong we -- we knew we couldn’t even take the whale back. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: One guy got a whale around June 6th and it was maybe almost 20 miles east of the Point.

They never made it to Barrow. They couldn’t get the whale to Barrow. The ice just started closing up on them. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: The current's always going this way. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: During whaling or --

JOE LEAVITT: A lot of it -- a lot of times it always go this way. So it's better to get your whale on this side.

That way you have better chance of getting it to the shorefast . MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Even -- even walrus hunters will use that. Walrus hunters try to keep in mind the current is going that way.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Is that primarily just in the springtime or is that all year?

JOE LEAVITT: All year -- uh, no, no, no, the other current is -- a lot of times the other current is going the other way. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But walrus hunters always keep in mind that they're going to cut their walrus on the ice -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: So it's better to go west. And the currents will bring you while you're cutting up your walrus. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It's actually going to bring you closer to Barrow instead of out away from Barrow. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. So that’s the kind of stuff that people keep in mind is the current.

They have to remember the current is out there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: They -- they talk to us that -- the older people -- try -- when they start outboard season in mid-May, the currents are already going this way, so you go meet the whales to the west.

If there's a whale out there, you go -- you would try to go meet it to the west. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause you going -- cause that way the current will work with you.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So based on what you said, does this go with the fact that this ice that sticks out here -- the fact that that stuck around is that rare or did people expect this to break off at this point that sticks out?

JOE LEAVITT: That -- that -- that to me that was rare, cause a lot of times the tide would have lifted it up.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. Took it out.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, took it out, but it never did happen. See how straight it got over here? MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That must have been going on for how long? Maybe since March or something. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: When -- and these ones, you know, they never did get closed up. The young cracks that were there that were so wide. Nutaqqutaq, we would call that.

So that -- that would -- that one we were waiting for it to break off. It never did break off. If it broke off, maybe we would have had a better season.

Maybe it would have took out that Muġałłiq that was -- see how the Muġałłiq got formed just from that -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: -- sideways movement -- just see almost -- that's how it formed right there.

But I was counting on that to come off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause of -- so many of -- the current -- maybe the current never fixed itself. They always say the current is going to fix it up, but it never did it this year.

See how straight that thing is right there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Instead of going in.

Another one might be the -- there was hardly any heavier ice out here -- multi-year ice. We -- we see a couple of pieces, but that’s all. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: The -- the heavier ice needs to be out here to cause a lot of the ridging. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Over here. It needs to be pushed. If it's not heavy, it just goes around like -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, it doesn't --

JOE LEAVITT: It doesn’t, but if it's heavy -- if it gets hooked somewhere, then it will cause this to -- even this first year ice to ridge up. This -- this stuff is really young. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Just from this year. I was thinking that the whole ocean -- a lot of the ocean out here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Was so young -- not thick enough to -- not heavy enough to push it.

It needs heavier ice to break it off. And this stuff was not heavy enough, so it just go parallel with the -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: With this thing. That makes sense to you?

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, I mean, that makes perfect sense.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah. You have to remember the heavier ice will do the heavier ridging and break off a lot of this that never got -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: -- broken off. Even the -- even the ice -- even the pressure ridges that are kind of high, you can tell when you’re looking at the ocean, the ones that go way into the water. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They'll actually -- they can actually go -- if the current is strong enough, they can actually go into the wind cause of the current --

the current starts at the bottom, that's what I was taught. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That's why that happens. The heavier -- the ice that goes way into the water, they'll actually go right into the wind.

While the young thin -- thin ice on top is going with the wind -- going to the west going away. The heavier ice can actually --

MATT DRUCKENMILLER: Go against the wind.

JOE LEAVITT: -- go against the wind, cause of the current from the bottom. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s why we do sounding. When we can’t understand the ice, sounding is the way to -- it'll start making sense to you out there when you do your sounding. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: You'll go down straight. I did this a couple times this year. It went down straight for a while, then towards the bottom our weight just took off on the bottom. We knew the current was on the bottom.

And the current will actually rise to the top, starting at the bottom. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, that -- that to me that makes a lot of sense. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When you're doing your sounding checks, the current -- if you’re out there for the longest time, you know, you --

a lot of times there'll be no current at all -- all the way to the bottom, but when you do your sounding the current will actually start on the bottom. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Where the movement is. And it might take two, three days to -- for the current to come up, but it'll actually come up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. It's the opposite of the -- opposite of the winds that are high in the sky. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause a lot of times you'll have no wind on the ground, but you could see the clouds really moving.

And the clouds will come down and that's where your wind comes in. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: From the top. It's opposite of the wind.

And the one guy that always tell the story on KBRW is a guy named Gene Numnik. When he talks about the current, if you can’t -- no way of telling how the current is on the ocean, on a real clear day use these -- the really, the highest clouds.

They’re not even clouds, you know, they're so high up they're just like in lines. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: If you look at those that is actually telling you which way the current is going. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That -- that -- See -- see that’s the stuff they -- somehow they've figured out. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s what -- that’ what gets a lot of people lost is they don’t take care of their current. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: These are the highest clouds. They’re not even clouds. They just look like lines. Like a jet stream or something. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Sometimes you can really notice them up here. If you’ve got no way of knowing which way the current is going -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s what you would look for. That’s what's telling you which way those are -- which way they’re lined up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Sometimes they’ll look like they’re going this way, but sometimes they look like they’re going this way. And that tells you where -- which way the current is on the ocean.

I don’t know how that works, but people -- I don’t know how they figured it out. They -- they -- they just lived up there so long, you know, they -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: They -- they actually get to know the weather.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: It’s through a lot of experience.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. Even the -- even the dark clouds out there. The smoke. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: You can really tell what the ocean is doing just by looking at them.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Which direction the currents are going?

JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. Even -- even on a real cloudy day with not much visibility, if you look at the -- the dark clouds out there on the ocean if there's a lot of water, you can actually tell a big piece of ice is coming when it starts turning white. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: You can actually look at the white, and pretty soon the ice will show up from where the white area is. It gives off the white reflection. It's the water that's giving off the reflection to the clouds. That’s why it's dark, right?

But when there's a big piece of ice coming, that’s -- that’s what they rely on is that it's just like a big screen. You can actually -- if you watch it long enough, you can actually see which way that big ice is going -- moving sideways or moving in. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s something that they watch out for, that -- To them -- to the hunters that know what’s going on out there, they just use it as a big giant TV screen right there. Just like it tells them what’s going on out there just by looking at it.

Even -- even that, you know, sometimes you’ll see the blue going way up here -- the dark clouds going way past Barrow up here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That tells us it’s open. But when it's going to start closing, that dark will actually start turning white. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: You can actually tell it's -- the ice is hitting over there -- rubbing or something east side of the Point. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s what they keep track of, too, out there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, that -- that really helps me understand actually how this all works. I mean, it's good to --

JOE LEAVITT: You got to go sit out there in the whaling camp sometimes. Try to sit out there the whole season. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Then you can understand.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Oh, I -- I -- I believe you because I -- I know there're so many things I still don’t understand, but oh it's happened quite a bit this year, both at the census camp and -- JOE LEAVITT: Uh huh. Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And out on different trails. JOE LEAVITT: Remember you --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Observing things really helps.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah, that’s -- that's what you got to do, observe. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Even people will try to let you understand, but it’s -- when you don’t look -- when you don’t see it, it's really hard to understand,

but if you see it and if you look at the weather then it starts to make sense, even from your soundings, then it starts to make more sense.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, why I had to -- I mean you’ve told me about the currents coming up from below before and I -- I --

I had that experience this year when I was -- you know, a lot of times I’m measuring ice thickness I want to know how deep the water is, as well. JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And I -- I dropped a real heavy piece of metal down on a rope to figure out how deep it was, and I could see it go straight and then it just kept going and going and going and I realized that it was -- JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- was taking off down below. JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So yeah, yeah, it matched pretty well with what --

JOE LEAVITT: But when it's coming up -- but it's going to come up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Sooner or later, two or three days, it'll actually come up. That’s when you do observations it, you know, when you’re out there looking at it, you can -- then it starts to make sense. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Even when the young ice is freezing, when the lead is freezing over a little bit, that’s a good time, too, to look at it to see how ice behaves. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It'll freeze, but when it -- when the tide comes up, the shorefast won’t break off right away. It's going to be the young ice -- that thin ice, going to break off first. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Then it will move with the wind or with the current.

That’s -- to me that’s -- when I look at that happening, to me I -- then it starts becoming the whole picture of how the ice is behaving. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: You know even the -- even the thicker ice.

When you look at the young ice, it's just like the big ice. It's going to behave like that when you’re watching it. Maybe when you’re watching it you -- you learn a lot more about the ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When you sit out there and watch it for a while.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. Yeah, well, I mean, I think I was -- I would understand what you meant by the slush ice to a certain extent, but having observed it that day when I met you at your -- JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- tent when I went out with Roy. And it really -- it was amazing to see that just big -- JOE LEAVITT: The wall.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: All that slush just moving it. I mean, we -- we could actually just almost reach out and just touch it -- this big wall of slush. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: It was -- it was quite amazing.

JOE LEAVITT: If that -- if that, you know, when it's -- when it's so young, even when the temperatures are too warm, you don’t want to be on that kind of ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Sometimes you -- before it get a chance to freeze, you’ll actually go through on that.

You can actually get a pole in some places and just keep hitting the pole. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And it'll actually will go right into the water.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: If that -- if that slush ice stops moving and it stayed in place for a while --

JOE LEAVITT: It'll freeze. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And -- and it freezes, do -- do you still call it --

JOE LEAVITT: Muġałłiq. It's still Muġałłiq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: You still call it the same thing.

JOE LEAVITT: There's no -- there's no strength in that ice at all.

Even when we’re breaking trails -- even when we’re breaking trails, a lot of times you’ll see Muġałłiq. You’ll just cross over it. You know one shot that it’s Muġałłiq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: You'll cross over it and keep going. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: To heavier ice still. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: When you’re out there, you have to keep in mind that Muġałłiq is back here. There's no strength -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Within -- ?

JOE LEAVITT: That's where it tends to break off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause there’s no strength at all in that ice. It's just a lot of snow and pieces of ice in there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: So when you’re making trail, when you cross Muġałłiq like that -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: -- you -- you keep in mind that when you’re going to try to go ahead for safer ice -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: You want to try cross that. Cause that’s where it tends to break off, cause that Muġałłiq has no strength on it at all. It can’t even support a whale. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And it's --

JOE LEAVITT: That's why they had to --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: That’s different from a -- from a crack? JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I mean, so -- so are those the two main places where you would say it breaks or are there more?

Like ice -- I mean you have cracks and you have Muġałłiq.

JOE LEAVITT: Muġałłiq -- mostly Muġałłiq and -- and the thinner ice like the thinner ice behind the heavier ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The thinner. There's always thinner ice somewhere. The thinner ice usually stays flat. That’s why there's always flat areas. That's where the thin spots are. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Where the flat ice is.

Especially if there's heavier ice out here towards the lead and there’s a lot of flat spots after the first pressure ridge that --

it -- it usually breaks off, too, on the thinner ice behind the heavier ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: A lot of times when the heavier ice is here, when it finally comes back, a lot of times we don’t even run away from the ocean. Even when the ice comes in, you just keep your camp right there and you don’t run away. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: When that happens, it tends to go back to the way it used to be long ago. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Long ago -- I would say long ago -- not too long ago, but certain years it has done that, that we don’t even run away from the ice coming in. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause we know that the multi-year -- multi-year ice, the Piqaluyak, when it's out there -- when it's out there it feels like it's -- goes back for a little while to the way it used to be. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: And it's so good, you don’t have to run away from the ice. You just stay out there. Sleep all day. There’s no water. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Did the people had to run a lot this year?

JOE LEAVITT: The guys on this side. The guys on this side. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: To -- to the south?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. Oh, in a couple days I noticed they did that, but most of the time it wasn’t open. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But soon as it opened, they were -- they were anxious to get out to the water. They stayed in the water as long as they could, and they couldn’t even -- Cause of all the young spots on the cracks, they had to make sure they were -- make sure they were behind the ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The young ones. Even this year a couple of crews left there -- Eugene and them -- maybe Eugene can talk better about it.

They actually left their boats on what they thought was safe ice, but maybe a hundred feet behind their boats, the ice still cracked right there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When it's young ice, it's always flat so you got to remember that. That’s where it's going to break the flat ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Maybe Eugene can talk more about that. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause Eugene and them they had to -- they had to get out of town and go back for their boats. There was about five boats that they mentioned then. The crack was behind their boats.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh, but they got them?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, they got them just here.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Does the -- I’ve heard people last year and the year before even talking about the warm water that comes up in the spring melting out the cracks.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, the -- yeah, the currents will melt the cracks out.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Does it do that to the Muġałłiq, as well?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s the first thing that would go, too. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Muġałłiq. You got to remember the currents are actually running water under the ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: The current, that's what it is, running water. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Hum.

JOE LEAVITT: So people always remember that it's actually eating, you know, it won’t be one day, but, you know, after a while it will eat out the cracks. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: It'll eat out the cracks.

Yeah, the current is actually moving that's it’s -- it’s easing the ice from underneath. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: A lot of times when there's a fresh -- fresh pressure ridges by where -- where the lead is around there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: A lot of times the current, when the current comes in, underneath --

underneath will actually break apart from the fresh pressure ridges. Underneath will break apart and make a real loud noise. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Like a big crack. A lot of times that ends up to be false alarm that the ice broke off above us. So when they hear a crack like that, they have to go check all the way to the beach. Make sure there's no fresh cracks or nothing. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But a lot of times the fresh pressure ridges will eat out underneath and break apart and hit the ice on top. And it really sounds like a big crack like the ice is breaking off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: So that’s something else that they watch out for, too. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When the pressure ridges are too new, the currents will actually break them apart. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Especially the ones by the -- by the lead. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They’ll actually break off underneath, and the top don’t do nothing, but it's the ones that are under -- way underneath that break off and just hit the ice on top.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. The ones that aren’t grounded.

JOE LEAVITT: The ones that aren’t grounded they’ll hit the ice. They’ll break apart under the water and hit the ice really loud, just like a big crack.

A lot of times you could hear the ice crack. I think you can hear it when there's a lot of flat ice. You can hear it. But if it breaks off on the Muġałłiq, it's silent. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Sometimes you’ll feel the ice move a little bit when it breaks off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Like when the tide lift up the whole ice when we’re on the --

When we’re on the ice, when we’re sitting down, and people say, hey, I think I felt the ice move. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They’ll -- it'll actually shake you sometimes. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: And a lot of times it's real quiet cause it breaks off through the Muġałłiq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Right around there on the Muġałłiq.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That answers a lot of my questions as to how this year -- how to accurately describe the ice conditions -- JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: This year.

JOE LEAVITT: To me -- to me it look like -- To me, it look like there was not enough heavy ice out here to break this off. That’s why it just went parallel with it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: If it was heavier, it would have, you know, went in and like an ice breaker. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The ice was all the same, all the same thickness maybe out here.

And that’s why it just made that parallel move. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, like that. To me, it looked like that. To me, it looked like that.

If there was heavier ice, I knew that -- I knew this -- all this thin stuff, you know -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: -- would have moved or something. This one -- this one was -- this one.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: That point sticking out there.

JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. If there was heavier ice it would have -- it would have broke it off or at least piled it up or at least close up those real -- the real young ice that was only one foot thick.

A lot of it was way back here. Maybe it's part of this. A lot of it was way back here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, yeah. JOE LEAVITT: A lot of it was.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I've seen -- I saw a lot of that.

JOE LEAVITT: If there was heavier ice, that's where it would break off, too, you know. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: If the heavier ice it would -- it would crumble up over here. If there was heavier ice, it would've. It would've, you know, a major breakup or something right around there.

But we're not seeing anymore of that multi-year ice that’s a -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When my father first started his whaling crew in 199 -- 1955, he said long ago -- back then the ice would just be one piece of multi-year ice and another one right there just going out and out and out. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Now -- now we’re having hard time finding -- finding multi-year ice to get fresh water. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Sometimes. Cause it's getting so rare around here. When we see one, we always be happy then.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Where was -- how was it this year? Cause I saw some.

JOE LEAVITT: I knew -- I knew that when they had come in around January or December. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: The one in front of NAPA.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: That real big one, yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, that one. That one is the one -- the one we've been getting our fresh ice from. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Somebody actually mentioned to me. Ben Itta mentioned to me before that one showed up over here in front of NAPA, a couple of bigger pieces actually drifted in over here past Nunavaaq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And then after the ice did some moving around, that’s when that one in front of NAPA showed up.

When the ice -- when ice gets grounded like that, a lot of times it'll -- it'll break up, especially if the ice is moving. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause I notice that when I worked on the dredge. They tried to -- they tried to push the ice away from the -- from their pipe when it got grounded.

Even the boat -- the tugboat, pushing real hard, when it got grounded, it stopped. The more he kept pushing. Then I just watched the ice that was thick, it just broke up right there. It just broke up into pieces.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh. A tugboat could do that?

JOE LEAVITT: The tugboat tried to move it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But it got grounded on the -- near the beach. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: And they wanted to move it some more, right? They couldn’t move it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Only thing they did was break it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: It actually broke it.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh. So remember where you guys -- did you guys ever leave your camp out to the edge or --

JOE LEAVITT: Oh, we just had -- just had -- just to the last days of whaling. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: The last few days. JOE LEAVITT: That’s when we moved it, yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, so when did -- when was the last whale taken?

JOE LEAVITT: Twenty-four, 23, 24, around there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s when we finally made it to the ice. When it opened up.

When it opened up, but we had a little add on. So we put up our tent on the safer ice, but it wasn’t only -- it was only 500 feet maybe. Then we got on that cracked up ice and we had our boat right out there. We only had our boat out there one day, maybe. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. But once in a great while that happens.

I remember my dad used to tell me that -- that one year it never did open up on them. That’s why they got the whale only in the little small opening. They got the whale. They shot the whale, put a float on it, and then it dove under for the longest time. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Hum.

JOE LEAVITT: When it dove under, they thought they lost it. But after a couple hours or something the whale came back up right there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s what the big whales can do. They -- the big whales can -- when it's packed so tight that the whales can’t get through, the whales will actually congregate further south. Just this side of Peard Bay, around there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Where there's less current. Cause this -- this part really gets -- can get packed up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: And a lot of times there's water over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Where there's less current. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Only the big whales can make it through sometimes and the smaller whales will just congregate over there.

Sometimes the big whales they’re the only ones that we see for a long time when there's no water at all.

They’ll -- we'll only hear the big whales. We don’t see them sometimes, but you can really hear them on a real calm day. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Only the big whales will make it to that opening. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But the smaller whales can’t, so they congregate further south. They -- they gather up down further south. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The stories go that one guy named Taaqpak, the whaling captain from long ago, when Barrow don’t have no water he always go catch a whale further south. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Down there, where there's open water. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause Barrow area can get so packed up over here, too, you know. Once it gets packed, it can be packed shut. And a lot of times maybe on your satellites you’ll try to see if there's water over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: While this is getting all packed up. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I mean -- is that -- do you think that's why ABC was able to get a small whale that day it opened, because I know it was hanging out?

JOE LEAVITT: Seventeenth -- there’s still -- there’s still -- Smaller whales are rare, but they’re still out there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: They’re still there?

JOE LEAVITT: They’re still there. The late -- the latest one -- my father got one in May 23. They got a small Iŋutuq like ABC's got.

And the one that got me was Percy Nusunginya, that time he got a whale it was in May 28th. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: He -- he got a small one further south. So some of them are still around yet.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Is that because it's packed up up here or just because some are --

JOE LEAVITT: Some are still there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Some are still there. You’ll still see small blows, but small blows are really hard to sight. If the wind is blowing a little bit, they’re real to sight.

They’ll -- they’ll just see the big blows and go after the big blows. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: But smaller whales are always still there. They’re just harder to see.

Once they see a whale, you know, they go after it. The big whales, the ones with the big blows like the height of a telephone poles. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s the ones they see and go after.

But if you’re on the ice and your boat is not there, a lot of times you see the small whales going by along the -- along the lead. And their boat is way the hell down there chasing another big whale. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Hum.

JOE LEAVITT: They’re always still there, but, you know, there're a few of them. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The small ones they tend to go by first in the springtime. And it's the opposite in the fall time.

In the fall time, in August -- end of August, the big whales will be going by, and that’s why Barrow always open up the season in October. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That way they have better chance of getting the smaller whales. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Smaller whales they can actually stay until into November. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Really.

JOE LEAVITT: I know -- I know that one crew got a whale around November 2 and that’s, you know, that’s pretty late.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

Let’s see, I think that was -- yeah, that was most of my questions. I think.

Well, other than I -- so what -- when it was that you guys actually put your trail in? Was that in -- in late March or --

JOE LEAVITT: They worked on it in -- we just joined them. They were already working on it. They went over there in early April. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Early April.

When we couldn’t -- when we looked at the ice, we didn’t know where to go so they went to help out on the other crew, but the other crew they didn’t like their trail, so they just moved over to my cousin’s trail over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So this is from March 29th this one here? JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And these -- these little bays -- JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I was wondering were people thinking that those would be places -- JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Where whales would be seen?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, that would be -- you would want to be on this side so you could see this way. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: If you have a good view of this way, you could see the whales coming. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: When you’re looking this way, you try to be backwards. You don’t want to look that way. You're -- you're seeing the whales pass you.

You got to see the whales in front of you, so you would try to be on this side of them. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But a lot of times the pressure ridges maybe these are little ridges. A lot of times the whales will come up on this side if there's a pressure ridge just going right over here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Whales like to follow the pressure ridge. When they go under the young ice -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: -- they like to follow the pressure ridge. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And sometimes -- a lot of times they'll end up over here where the end of the pressure ridges. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Come up.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. A lot of times -- when they -- when they start seeing whales come up at the same spot over here, people will actually go sit over there. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: But a lot -- but when you got your boat out there, you want to look over here where you got a good view of this side. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: If you’re over here, you’re looking at the whales that are passing you. If you're over here, you're looking at the whales that are coming to you. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That way you know if a whale is coming. You try to have a good view of it. This one right here would be a really good. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: If you’ve got a good view of it over here, that’s where you want. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Manilinaaq is what you call this. Manilinaaq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And this side of it would be Iluliaq. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Iluliaq. Manilinaaq.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Can you write those down?

JOE LEAVITT: Manilinaaq and Iluliaq.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So that’s -- so this one is the --

JOE LEAVITT: Where you got a good view of it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Of the whales coming towards you.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So it’s -- it’s -- does this refer to a side of the bay or --

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah, this side of the bay is the Manilinaaq, where you could see the whales coming to you. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And then Iluliaq is when you’re looking at the whales that are past you already. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Okay. The opposite -- it's just on that little bay that -- that they would use that term.

In that little bay we would call Kaŋikłuk. This thing is here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Something like that?

JOE LEAVITT: That little bay like that. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Kaŋikłuk. Here, this one is a Kaŋikłukpuk. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: And this one is just Kaŋikłuk. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: . JOE LEAVITT: Kaŋikłuk. Kaŋikłukpuk. Puk means big. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: If you were bigger, they would call you Mattruaq. Mattpuk.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Maybe I should start eating more.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah. Kaŋikłuk. Kaŋikłuk.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And so this would just be PUK if it was big at the end? JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Just replace the last three letters?

JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. Kaŋikłukpuk. Kaŋikłukpuk. Kaŋikłuk is a little bay and puk -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And you just add that. JOE LEAVITT: PAK MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: You said at the end. JOE LEAVITT: PAK. Okay, yeah, yeah, right on the end.

Kaŋikłuk is the cove -- I mean the bay. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And this one, cause it's so big Kaŋikłukpuk. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh. JOE LEAVITT: Cause it is big -- like that. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: And this one they would call Nuvuġaq -- Nuvuġaqpuk. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: The point?

JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. Nuvuġaqpuk. Same thing as point - Nuvuk. It pertains to Nuvuk. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: The point. Nuvuġaqpuk. Big point.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So that would be -- Nuvu --

JOE LEAVITT: Nuvuġaqpuk. Here. Nuvuġaqpuk, cause it's such a big point.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So it does mean big point. JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. Means big point.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Nu -- so is this spelled wrong when people spell it?

JOE LEAVITT: No, no, it’s just - no, no Nuvuk -- Nuvuk is permanent. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Nuvuk. It’s permanent. This is temporary, you know. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Okay.

JOE LEAVITT: Okay. This is permanent. Nuvuk is permanent. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: This one Nuvuġaqpuk, Nuvuġaq, whatever you want to call it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: It's going to go away. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Okay.

JOE LEAVITT: Nuvuk -- Nuvuk is more permanent. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It’s stationary. It's there forever. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: This one will go away, okay? MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: I hope I answered your questions.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, you did. JOE LEAVITT: All right.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I mean it's kind of I always considered these to be lessons more -- JOE LEAVITT: I know, but there -- there --

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I learn a lot. I really do.

JOE LEAVITT: There -- a lot of people like them. It's real good. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Well, we’ll --

JOE LEAVITT: I think -- I think a lot of people are getting into the computer thing, too. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: A lot of them are. A lot of them are.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Well, what -- what I want to do is -- I’m putting together a report, you know, a short paper that summarizes kind of this project with a lot of stuff that we've talked about for the last three years. JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: And at some point maybe you can make sure that there's no mistakes. JOE LEAVITT: Okay. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: We’ll --

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, I’ll look at it for you.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I'm sure we can see if that, you know, we can pay for that.

JOE LEAVITT: Least make sure it makes sense, you know.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. Well, and -- and I want it to make sense but I also -- it’s really easy as a scientist to write something that’s wrong.

JOE LEAVITT: I know, but to the Eskimo it might, you know, they might not understand it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, right.

JOE LEAVITT: But if you let somebody who knows about the ice look at it and -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Right.

JOE LEAVITT: That way you'll have -- the people can understand it, too. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The hunters. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: If one guy can understand it, the other guys can understand it without, you know, without a lot of explanation and all that. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: The people who do the hunting up here you know that -- they don’t have to do a lot of explaining to them. If they look at it, they’ll figure it out. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And, hey, you know, it makes sense like that. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, well I'll continue doing it. I'll be doing this next year, as well.

JOE LEAVITT: All right. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Putting together these maps.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, people like these maps. And a lot of them are getting into the computer. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: The computer. That thing -- I think that -- that’s a real good help for the people out there.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. That was fun to do. Well, it's nice cause I get to actually get out there and see what the ice is like.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. It's good. The computer thing I think it’s something that should stay around for a long time.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. Well, the one thing that I can’t promise because I’m not in charge of money, but I was wondering if like down at the Search and Rescue, the place where people hang out, if having a kind of a screen there that had some of these -- like this map and maybe our radar just would change from the radar to this map, back and forth, to just have it sit there.

I wonder if people would -- would that be helpful or -- ?

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, especially whaling time. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Especially whaling time.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Cause I know there's -- there's probably a lot of people that don’t know how to use a computer. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: But if we just had one just -- it just always showed that stuff.

JOE LEAVITT: Rescue Base would be a good place for it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, a monitor, that's what you’re saying right?

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, just -- just a monitor. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So -- JOE LEAVITT: People could -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: So not anything that people could play with, just look at. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Just like I have here in the hallway there's that screen that --

JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. Yeah, I think that would be very helpful.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I can see if we can find some money for that.

JOE LEAVITT: Maybe past the Monument right here -- right here past the Monument is good. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. Just a --

JOE LEAVITT: My dad always -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: A screen that covers this.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah, yeah, just that. Monument is -- my dad always take us to the Monument. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: He took us to the Point one year, but we almost got crushed over there and after that he never did take us back over there.

Over there that's where the two currents are. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That -- that’s a danger spot that -- it's always safer to go west where there's less current. The further west you go the flatter the ice gets.

If there’s too much pressure ridges -- some year they got lots of pressure ridges in front of Barrow. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Not even any flat spot. That’s when they go further south. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: They know -- they know -- when this get too rough right here, this area where we do much of our hunting. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: When it’s too rough and you can’t even break a trail on it, they think like maybe the big ice pushed all this that’s why it is so messed up right here that you can’t even make a trail on it.

So they’re thinking the heavier ice is over there somewhere to the west of us. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: And when they go further west, they start hitting the heavier ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s what makes this so much -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: You mean they --

JOE LEAVITT: You can’t even make a trail some years right here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause of the big heavy ice that did the pushing right here. It’s all -- you can’t -- it’s just high -- two stories high and goes forever and ever and no -- no flat spots at all. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s why you always have to think that the heavier ice did all the damage right here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: So the further south you go -- the further west you go, you going to start hitting the heavier ice over here.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, in the landfast or you mean -- ?

JOE LEAVITT: On the landfast, yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: That -- that makes sense.

JOE LEAVITT: Some of it on -- some of it will actually get left behind. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause ice always break up even if it’s too thick. If it gets too heavy, it'll break up even the real heavy ice will break up.

If it’s grounded, that’s why they go further south. When this is -- you can’t even break a trail on it. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Then you go further south. That’s why my dad always take us to the Monument. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: You get a better -- you’ll start hitting some of this heavy ice that is, you know, ten, twelve feet thick. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That multi-year ice. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s what does the damage right in front of Barrow right here.

Some years you can’t even make a trail. Like this year the terrain was really low.

Sometimes you can’t even see the water even if it’s only a couple miles out. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Cause of the pressure ridging is so high and you can’t -- some years you can’t even make a trail through here, right in front of Barrow. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Huh.

JOE LEAVITT: A lot of time that happens in February and March. I think the February and March are the ice building months there.

What happens in February and March is -- gives you an idea of how the ice is going to be for the season. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: That’s when it does the pushing and making the pressure ridges. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. Cause that one year when I was doing my observations, this one never even -- right up to -- right up to the end of the runway. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: This one never even had any ice until March. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah. JOE LEAVITT: Yeah.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Wasn’t that the same year that it all broke out? JOE LEAVITT: Uh-huh. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: This -- this part always form real quick all right -- this one right here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It always seems to form real quick right here, especially right off the Point. That’s where it actually starts building first in the fall time. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: Right off the Point. It'll form over here all right, but this part always break off. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: This one always -- this one always stay around maybe -- MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: -- cause of the wind don’t, you know, blow it off -- right off the Point.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Well, that’s a good place for our site.

JOE LEAVITT: Yeah. That is -- that one is.

Even, you know, the same time it will form all over here, but it always break off right there, you notice that? MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Uh-huh.

JOE LEAVITT: It's always forming good and solid first right here. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Well, if you’re done, I’m done. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah.

JOE LEAVITT: Now I can go get some gas. Did you have a ride?

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Yeah, I have a ride. I -- JOE LEAVITT: Okay. MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: -- I have a BASC truck, so --

JOE LEAVITT: Okay. I’ll just get a ride.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: Thanks, Joe. JOE LEAVITT: All right.

MATTHEW DRUCKENMILLER: I have I think --