Day four search was canceled due to the unsafe travel conditions. The 22 mile ice road is covered with a lot of water. I never knew that there is no roadway to connect many of the city and villages. There only ground transportation route is by the river system. In the summer it is by boat and winter it is by vehicles on the ice. Supplies are brought in on the river or flown in. This explains the high prices for everything here. All the villages have an air strip for travel.
I have spent most of my time traveling with retired Trooper/tour guide Perry Barr. He has been sharing his Alaskan heritage and I’m learning so much about a state that I only heard of its beautiful landscape. He invited in his home, introduced his family and shared so many keep sakes with us.
We dropped Sonia off to the airport for her flight home. Sonia had offered to come up from Canada to help out in our search. She has her own Medical business with extensive experience in wildness survival. She paid her own way to help out Bruce’s Legacy in our quest to give closure to these people involved. A big Thank You and it was a pleasure to have her here.
Another local SAR member that goes by Mano stopped by this morning. He is an airplane mechanic for the State Forestry Dept and helped arrange for us to bunk up at their facility. He showed me pictures of his family and shared how he get his firewood to heat his home. They travel by boat to an area where they cut dead dry trees (they float better). Leaves them in long lengths and lays them in the water to form a barge around his boat. He then lays smaller trees crossways and nails them with long spikes to hold everything together. He is then able to maneuver this down the river. He was also proud to say that hunting and collecting firewood was a family event. With three daughters and one just married he is hoping that his next two sons in law are a strong as his first. His knowledge has been so beneficial to my success each day we have ran into the hurdles out at the site. He is an amazing man!
Just when I was worried that I was not going to get out on the site, the Bethel SAR reached out to the Alaska State Troopers to fly a few of us and my equipment to the nearest village. Then we will be taking snowmobiles to the site.
The rivers are our worst areas to conduct underwater searches. There is so much debris from years of falling trees in the water. These make for snag areas and difficult areas to search. Then you have the current that can move items down river. Then add near 0 visibility to this and try to locate and object. Now throw a shelf of ice over all that and add cold, rain, snow and wind.
I hope tomorrow will be the day!