Shishmaref, Alaska on Sarichef Island

February 13, 2011: Flying into Shishmaref. Situated on the Seward Peninsula Near Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Sarichef, the sandy barrier island upon which Shishmaref is located, is just 2.8 square miles and shrinking. The highest point above sea level is perhaps just over 20 feet. In the photo a frozen lagoon in the foreground and a frozen Chukchi Sea in the background surround this village of fewer than 600 Inupiat inhabitants. The nearby tundra provides wild berries, caribou, musk ox and moose. The seashore waters and a nearby river provide sea run char and salmon. Seals are also hunted and relied upon for subsistence. This is one of the few places in the world where one can reliably encounter McKay’s Buntings. For nine months from late August 2010 through May 2011 we made our home here. It was a fascinating introduction to Alaska.

7 thoughts on “Shishmaref, Alaska on Sarichef Island

  1. Living in Australia, my idea of climate change affected islands features palm trees and coral ever you widened my world view. The Shishmaref lifestyle sounds more idyllic than any tropical island. Writing from a country whose ‘leaders’ are denyers it only increases my frustration and anger to imagine the inhabitants having to move on to some sterile, consumer based settlement as their homes disappear under the sea.

    • Unfortunately, President Trump has opined that global warming is a concept created by the Chinese to harm American manufacturing. ?!? We wish we were making this up. Meanwhile, both the number and intensity of hurricanes hitting America have increased dramatically – just as the models developed by climate scientists predicted years ago. But there’s no reasoning with those who won’t be reasoned with and no overestimating how stubborn a certain kind of mind can be once it is made up.
      On a completely different note, we’re still doing our best to edit the thousands of photos we came back from Hokkaido with. It’s been a very busy fall.

  2. I don’t have the impression that he really thinks that at all. I think he’s just against everything becoming sensationalized to scare people. As geologists, my husband and I both know facts of what is presently happening, but we also know that there have been changes throughout history. My mother is a perfect victim of that. Every time she experiences an extra warm day she starts crying about global warming. And now they don’t even call it that anymore. One fact remains, however. We must respect the earth.

    • It was an education, Bearly – snow drifts up to roofs and our first experience with true white-out blizzards – events where you couldn’t see 3 feet in front of you and the only place to be was inside. Winter winds were incredible.

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