Last updated: April 14, 2015
Shortly after arriving in Gustavus, Whales and Nails transported Snow to Bartlett Cove. For two members of the crew, it was their first time visiting Alaska and they were thrilled to be in Glacier Bay! Once on site, the park maintenance staff helped Dan navigate the rather large truck and trailer combo around some tight corners and down to the whale shelter. It took the whale crew most of an afternoon to unload approximately 3,700 pounds of humpback whale bones and almost 2,000 pounds of steel and hardware. Most of the freight was unloaded by hand, but heavy equipment was needed to lift some of the bones, including the 1300 pound skull and mandibles and two very heavy sections of vertebrae.
Over the next two weeks, the crew spent most of their time on site building and adding the finishing touches to the display. Their mock up in Maine proved to be a critical element in the success of the ten day articulation. It was truly a remarkable accomplishment: a 45 1/2 foot, 5,000 pound display, put together by four people in just ten days! Their experience, expert knowledge, and passion made the seemingly impossible, possible. It was obvious that we had world class professionals in our midst.
Although the crew made it look easy, Dan stated that there were normal challenges to putting together whales, but the remote location and rainy climate in Glacier Bay presented many unique challenges - epoxy needed more time to dry, a generator secured for electricity, and heated storage for putty and battery recharging. It is noteworthy, that Dan brought all his tools and materials with him and was so well prepared that he only made one trip (an anticipated one) into Gustavus for supplies.
Snow will be only one of eighteen fully articulated humpback whale skeletons on public display in the world. Watching the process was fascinating and provided many opportunities for local community members and visitors to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience.