Sunday, November 15, 2009

Point Hope

Our visit to Point Hope was excellent after a few bumps in the road. Andrew managed to get a severe case of food poisoning in Kotzebue from a Bayside chicken bacon melt the night before we were both supposed to fly to Point Hope. Sparing you the very gory details, I flew to Point Hope on my own the next morning to get things set up and Andrew holed up close to a bathroom in Kotzebue. A day too late, we found out the word around town is never order anything with bacon from Bayside. Andrew concurs.

Auditions were light the first night in Point Hope, but with the help of several kind people around town (Ramona at the high school and Art Othniel Oomittuk) we ended up meeting over 30 people all told. Although the weather wasn't the best for sight-seeing or photos, the village is very picturesque and the people couldn't have been friendlier. Thanks to everyone there for supporting us, especially Rex and Emma at the Tikigaq Corporation for letting us use their conference room.

Last Tuesday we were stuck in Point Hope because of bad weather in the Kotzebue/Nome area and we woke up the next day hoping to make it out on the morning flight. Unfortunately, the storm had gotten worse south of Point Hope where all our flights originated so everything was canceled on all the airlines. Through the grapevine we did hear about a Shell Oil charter flight from Barrow that was dropping off a bunch of people late morning. After talking with the intrepid Bessie Kowunna, we managed to arrange hitching a ride on that plane. Coincidentally, the charter was leaving Point Hope to stop in Galena and then head on to Fairbanks, which worked really well for us. Our flights from Kotzebue>Nome>Anchorage>Fairbanks had all been canceled so getting us straight to Fairbanks and avoiding the heart of the storm was ideal. Bessie seemed confident the pilot could land but the winds were pretty intense so we were doubtful. Here's a little footage of Andrew driving out to the runway following Bessie and me in the pick-up in front of him.

We're kicking ourselves now because we didn't film the impressive landing in the white-out. The pilot explained that because it was blowing snow it was fine to land, but if it had been foggy he couldn't have. The bizarre thing was that once we got a couple hundred feet up, the visibility was pretty much clear above the wind. Here's a little footage of me unloading our bags from Bessie's pick-up just after the plane landed.

It's hard to get the feel of the weather without the sound of the wind, but here's our take-off.

So we're safe and sound now in Fairbanks. Things have been slower here than we expected, but still good. We have call-backs here tomorrow and then we head up to Barrow on Tuesday. Can't wait.


  1. LOL!! No, like really laughing out loud! This is crazy! I especially like the loading the baggage shot...and then the window rolls down! Craziness! You artists yous!

  2. I know! The wind was insane and then the pilots were so non-chalant about it. They acted like it was nothing, but then we saw them filming the take-off from the cockpit too.