2012 drift arrow plan
In 2012 the Drift Arrow project will go to the Arctic and will be aiming at the circumpolar drift. The science program aboard Healy will be servicing moorings that have been collecting data along the continental shelf break of the Alaska coast. During the cruise, drift arrows will be loosed into multiyear ice floes so that they follow the drift of ice across the Arctic. The company www.PacificGyre.com has donated a GPS-enabled Iridium satellite drifter buoy that will be deployed off of Banks Island in the Arctic Ocean. The buoy will transmit daily positions of the arrows so that the ice floe can be tracked in near real time. The driftarrows will be loosed using bows replicated from those used by the indigenous people since prehistoric times until about 150 years ago. Sitka Spruce, which was available as driftwood in the Arctic, will be worked by the well known bowyer Jay St. Charles to craft replica bows that will be backed with an artificial sinew cord. The sinew cord backing was employed in most of the indigenous Arctic cultures to give the driftwood, which does not have optimal properties for bow building, more resilience and strength.
As any experience archer knows, the quality of the arrow is what determines the accuracy of an archer. The success of the drift arrow project is also dependent on the arrows. Because the drift arrows will be completely biodegradable, with no manmade materials such as plastic or polyester resin, they will be susceptible to deterioration in the harsh ocean environment. The arrows will be preserved in a novel way by the wood or bamboo shafts with a mix of beeswax and damar resin (tree sap).