Life on the Edge of the Arctic Ocean
The memoir of a unique family who has lived for over sixty years on an island in the Colville River Delta on the edge of the Arctic Ocean along Alaska’s northern coast.
An amazing saga of a frontier-homestead life laced with hard work, adventures, struggles, joys, setbacks, and successes—all wrapped in a fiercely independent and free lifestyle.
See Jim's Nature Photography
Photos of Arctic Scenery and Wildlife.
Golden Plover Photography Gallery of exceptional photos taken by James Helmericks of Arctic Alaskan wildlife, landscapes, and natural phenomena like Aurora Borealis . Photos are for sale on web site..
Teena Helmericks is a frontier woman who has lived and thrived along the edge of the Arctic coast of Alaska. After her childhood in Utqiaġvik, the northernmost village in Alaska, and school years in Washington State, she then took up life on an island in the Colville River Delta where the river meets the Arctic Ocean. There her life progressed on the family’s three-generation homestead-like parcel of land from meager means and extreme remoteness to modern homes and many neighbors.
Teena and her family witnessed the discovery and development of the North Slope Gas and Petroleum Industry. They observed many changes across the whole North Slope over the years as local governments formed and villages expanded along with this petroleum industry. She and her husband raised four boys who thrived on homeschooling and their frontier-style life laced with adventure, hard work, and exceptional wilderness expertise.
Articles by Teena have appeared in Alaska: The Magazine of Life on the Last Frontier and the Prudhoe Bay Journal.
Capitate Valerian and Jacob's Ladder blooms in profusion.
Polar bears often meander the coastline in fall.
Caribou graze on Anachlik Island.
Vast numbers of summer birds include the elegant delightful Brant with their darling fluffy gray goslings.
Teena Helmerick's home in July from the SW side of the lake with Jacob’s Ladder flowers.
Aerial of Anachlik Island looking north toward the Arctic Ocean during the winter months.
Our boys in winter garb in 1983, L to R: Jay, Isaac, Derek with Aaron in front.
Jay, Derek, Isaac, Aaron ride their bikes on hard-packed snow and nearby ice roads on the river in 1992.
Teena & her boys at work on the Colville River, 2018: L to R Derek, Teena, Jay, Aaron, Isaac.
Jim and Teena standing by their Cessna 206 on floats before Jim leaves on another of his many wildlife/bird surveys.
Teena and Jim by the Colville house kitchen window at Christmas 2013.
Arctic Wildlife Video
An excellent example of projects the Helmericks supported is illustrated in this video about Arctic tundra and the birds and other wildlife that roam its great treeless expanse. Jim provided much of the aerial support with his Piper Super Cub, the Golden Plover for footage of the summer tundra and wildlife, and their Colville home provided logistical and lodging support for the film crew. Many of the shots of birds were taken by their house, like the King Eider and Brant footage. The concentration of bird life in summers around their home is phenomenal. Their homesite has always been a sanctuary for birds and wildlife and the Helmericks presence gives protection from predators and other negative disturbances. This feature of the Helmericks homesite has drawn many bird/wildlife enthusiasts to visit and enjoy the area.
Long Summer Days/Dark Winters Days