Utqiagvik (Pt. Barrow)

Day 5: Monday

Hopson Middle School and Barrow High School

Tuzzy Consortium Library Friends of the Library Annual Meeting

I’m definitely not in Bellingham anymore. 4-wheelers parked out front of the high school in Utqiagvik (Pt. Barrow) provide teens with transportation that can handle the salty sea air, sand and mud in summer, and snow and ice in winter when it’s hard to see a road at all.

In front of the Iñupiat Heritage Center where bowhead whale or “Agviq” have been central to Inupiat culture for centuries. Some true facts about Bowheads: They have no teeth, but use baleen instead to siphon krill from the cold Alaskan water. That is why this skull is bow-shaped and hence, it’s name.

Click to listen to songs that bowheads sing underwater to each other.

Bowhead whales use their massive, dome-shaped skull to bash through sea ice up to two feet thick. Boasting the largest mouth of any animal, these toothless marine giants are equipped with two rows of about 300 vertical baleen plates, which can measure up to 15 feet, the largest of any whale. Bowhead whales are insulated against frigid Arctic waters with an exceptionally thick layer of blubber.