Friday, December 17, 2010

My Typical Experiences in the Bush

I have a very good job up here, that I absolutely love, and for the most part I work the typical hours of 8 to 5. I work at the Bering Strait School District as a Technology/Media/Film/Communications specialist, I'm basically a "Jack of All Trades" up here, and help out the district with whatever needs to be done. Part of my job involves flying in a bush plane (No I'm not a pilot, when I say flying, I mean riding in the plane) around to the different schools scattered across the area to help them out with their tech needs. Below is a picture of the plane:

This bush plane is quite nice actually, it fits about 8-10 people (depending on how many bags/food/deliveries there are on the plane). We have a very good pilot that works in the district, and flights are rarely late or canceled. There are a lot of extreme conditions up here such as: blizzards, high mountains, extreme windy conditions and all kinds of other things that give Alaska more plane crashes than anywhere else in the world per year. But I feel pretty safe flying here because there is an outstanding crew that works pretty hard to ensure that flying in the district is as safe as can be.

However, flying is always pretty extreme, no matter where you go in Alaska. A couple days ago, one of the local airlines that comes in and out of the village (village planes to Unalakleet carry about 15 to 25 people per plane, don't quote me on that...) had a dual-engine plane coming from Anchorage to Unalakleet and blew an engine in mid-flight and was forced to do an emergency landing back into Anchorage. Now, that typically doesn't happen, but with the conditions up here, anything could go wrong at any time when it comes to flying. Fortunately the emergency landing was a success and no one was injured.*

There are two grocery stores in the village, but prices are pretty insane (I'm going to do a basic video of the typical village grocery store experience so you can see for yourself) because everything has to be flown in, so the prices are almost 2-3 times more expensive than in the lower 48. There are a few places that ship food and meat up here at a decent price, so I typically order like 50 lbs of beef. and chicken, and then bulk orders of things like: rice, noodles, frozen vegetables, frozen pizzas, frozen hot wings from Quaker Steak and Lube in Pittsburgh (that was a joke) can kind of get the idea of it. Basically, try to order everything in from Anchorage, because you'll spend a lot less doing that then trying to survive on the prices you face at the local village store.

When it comes to purchasing things other than food, Amazon is awesome. I never really used the Super Saver Shipping til I got up here, but basically I can go on, order an item or items that total over $25 and it's free shipping. This is really huge when something has to be shipped over 3,000 miles, you'll save loads of money finding things on amazon that have free-shipping to Alaska.

And that basically covers a few typical things I deal with up here living in the Bush. I'll be going a lot more in-depth on a lot more things, and I will have some videos up hopefully by this weekend...

*The Discovery Channel has a new show coming out called "Flying Wild, Alaska" and this show actually takes place primarily in my village. Not sure if there's a shot of me walking around anywhere, but they did have camera people around the village for a few months. I also would like to note that the engine that blew on the plane recently was Penn Air...Not Era....


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I mean I am still waiting for you to make the video called "shopping in the bush" or in Unalakleet.