Greetings from Anchorage, Alaska where the pace is frenetic as I prepare to board the Arctic Sunrise next week in Reykjavik, Iceland.

I have a long list of things to do, and at this point, I take tremendous pleasure in crossing things off my list.

This may sound totally lame, but one of the scariest things is contemplating two months without the internet and Google! The Arctic Sunrise relies on a satellite communication system for phone and email, and connecting to the internet is a prohibitive cost. With that in mind, before I leave, I'm downloading web pages on global warming, the Arctic, Greenland, renewable energy in the U.S., how the Bush administration works to derail global progress on global warming... those kinds of things. I know most of this stuff off the top of my head but it's hard to remember the details at times.

Then there's my personal life. I have a dog, so I've found a house sitter to stay with him while I'm away. I'm paying all of my bills for two months in advance so the utilities at my home aren't turned off. I'm letting friends know that I won't be around for the next two months, and explaining to friends here at home why I'm leaving Alaska (again!) for the summer. My pat answer is, "well, if you have to leave Alaska for the summer, then you might as well go north..."

What else is on the list? "Make sure there's enough dog food. Pack enough dental floss. Will I need more than one hat? Where is my down jacket? Blank CDs will be useful, how many should I bring? Where are my adapter plugs for the ship's Dutch electrical outlets? Gosh, I hope I don't spend too much time being seasick. Where's that book on oil and gas industry impacts on the Alaskan Arctic? Remember to change the message on your cellphone..." It's a weird combination of things to think about.

But above all else, I feel absolutely honored and really excited to be on board the Arctic Sunrise for this next phase of Project Thin Ice. I live with many of the impacts of global warming here in Alaska, and I'm really curious to see how Greenland is affected by warming. Many of the crew on board the Arctic Sunrise have devoted their winters and summers to protecting the Alaskan Arctic from the ravages of global warming. It will be great to see familiar faces and continue our work in Greenland.

-Mel