The challenge of getting to the Arctic

1 August 2012

The official plan for today: 4.45 am: take a taxi to the airport; 5.00 am: check in at the airport charter hangar; 6.00 am: take off to Thule (Greenland) via Iqaluit (Nunavut, Canada).

The real sequence of events: the night before: find out wireless internet in the hotel does not work and decision to do a last email check in the morning using the hotel lobby computer as there will be no internet on the ship; 3.30 am: alarm, shower and pack bags; 4.00 am: to lobby, check out, last check for email messages; 4.30 am: ready to go; 4.45 am: take a taxi to the airport together with the Canadian folks in the science party; 5.00 am: check in and get a cup of coffee; 6.00 am: no sign of intensions to leave any time soon.

The others reassure me that up to two hours delay is normal. 8.00 am: still no signs of a leaving airplane. Rumour has it that it has something to do with a phone call to Ottawa. 9.00 am: the airplane is missing a piece, which has just arrived, as we speak, in Ottawa. It is still unclear whether the part will get here in time to fix the plane and get to Thule before 4 pm when the airport there closes down (the situation is complicated further by the unconvenient fact that the airplane is needed tomorrow to fly another crew to another ship. The first option may then be on Friday, but if the weather does not permit landing in Thule we would have to wait till Monday as the airport is closed over the weekend). By this time the hangar had long ran out of coffee and almost non of us had had any decent breakfast. We were asked to stand by until a decision was made, with no prospect on when that would be. A shuttle was arranged to get some coffee and bagels. Around noon the final decision was made: we would try the whole operation again tomorrow at the same time.

A good exercise in patience! Much more waiting may be ahead of us with the current ice conditions in Nares Strait?

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1 Response to The challenge of getting to the Arctic

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