Arctic Mystery

Alaska Kivalina Orange Substance  An Inupiat Eskimo grocery list certainly differs from most people’s. Residents of Kivalina, Alaska, eat bowhead whale, caribou, walrus, bearded seal, and a variety of fish.

The village of Kivalina is built upon a barrier reef island, 625 miles northwest of Anchorage, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. Their drinking water is pumped one time each summer from the Wulik River on the Alaska mainland. Most of the 439 residents hand-carry water to their homes from storage tanks in the center of town.

So, when the viscous, orange slime eddied in their ocean harbor and sloshed onto their beaches, the residents worried. The winds dried the slime into powder and carried it into their water supply and upon hunting and gathering grounds.

The Inupiat town council feared that dangerous chemicals had leaked from an oil platform in the Chukchi Sea. Or perhaps the organic matter had hitched a ride on the hulls of foreign ships and was now breeding in their home waters.

After enlisting the help of the Alaska fisheries Science Center, the town council believed that the mystery had been solved. Scientists dabbed the goo under a microscope and determined that the substance covering much of their harbor was crustacean eggs or embryos.

Within three days the apricot-colored goo had disappeared from the harbor, as naturally as it had arrived.

Months later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists updated the official findings: Kivalina’s orange goo was spores from a mystery fungus. No one had any idea why it landed in the Native village.


Sometimes a mysterious disturbance invades our personal harbor that no amount of analysis can explain, and like spores in the wind, “what ifs” settle upon our minds as we ponder the devastation this trouble might cause.

In most cases, as in Kivalina, our “mystery goo” will simply vanish, too—on God’s timetable. Until then, we must lay claim to the promise of peace by trusting Jesus, who controls embryo, habitat, and universe.

Col 1:17

And He (Jesus) is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Prayer Focus:

As I wait for resolution in this unexpected trial, I know that meditating on “what if’s” stirs up dread. Instead, Lord, help me reflect upon your precious Word that brings me peace.


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