Saturday, March 7, 2009


Today at supper, I sat with Cristen, Felicia, Rodica (all from UofT) and two pilots. The girls and I of course feel as though we've come to the ends of the Earth on a Grand Awesome Adventure. And we have. It's pretty darn neat up here and it's pretty different from anywhere I've ever been before. Only thing is, for many of the people currently staying in Eureka, this is not the end of the line by any means.

The pilots are working for the next two weeks doing two runs per day bringing supplies up to Ward Hunt Island. These supplies are all sorts of things (barrels of diesel and gas, tents, etc. ) for people who are going to go to the North Pole! Some of them are skiing or walking there. And one of them is going completely on her own.

The walk I took to the ridge opposite the lab today somehow seems minute in comparison... but it was a great walk! I like it here.


  1. Hi Dear:

    What a lovely photo of the Sun. Were you riding on a sonde balloon? It looks like it was taken from some altitude. I'm having a bit of difficulty getting a feel for the terrain where you are. Any chance you could make like an Apollo astronaut and take panorama shots in a few places? And don't forget to gather a contingency rock sample for Dad. (Apollo mission Control had to remind several of the Moonwalking astronauts to stop gawking and grab their contingency sample just in case they had to beat a hasty least they'd have a soil/rock sample.)

    I'm sorry I missed your call Thursday night, but Tim and I were delivering an astronomy program to the Ashbury College students at the Canada Science and Tech Museum. The program went extremely well, and in a weird convergence I was telling them about your Arctic adventures at the same time you were calling home!

    But it gets even more convergier (new adjective form) than that. In today's Perspective blog entry you mention the resupply of Ward Hunt Island. On Thursday morning...way too "morning" for my liking...I attended a talk at the PAGSE Bacon & Eggheads breakfast on Parliament Hill. The presenter was Warwick Vincent (Centre d'etudes nordique, Univ Laval, Quebec), and he was telling us about his adventures up at Ward Hunt, and the problems being caused by the vanishing Arctic ice. You can see the abstract on the PAGSE/Bacon&Eggheads website.

    His talk was so-so, but he was brilliant during the Q&A afterward. He mentioned a serious problem they have at WHI now that a major freshwater ice shelf has broken away from the island. What is the water supply situation where you are at Eureka? I'm curious to know where they source the fresh water from, and how the system works to supply taps(?), toilets(?) and, of course, the swimming pool.

    Splish-splash, gotta dash...


  2. Hey Em!
    Great blog! Lauren just told me about it at brekkie so I thought I'd have a look. We missed you at Christina's! It was the first time since you left that we went. It was me, Lauren and Alice. The homefries were extra good today, you would have liked it. Cathy was in a good mood today too (she's always really nice since she found out I was pregnant!).
    It looks really beautiful up there! But really cold. I don't think I would like that part. Soudns like you've seen a few cool animals - any chance of polar bears where you are? That would be so cool. Sounds like you're getting some good data which is great news. When are you coming back?
    I had a baby shower on Thurs and got given some lovely things, from my friends at the Teaching Support Centre. I feel very spoilt. Baby is growing well and kicking lots - you'll be able to feel it when you come back! It think she's really happy in there.
    Other than baby stuff it's all been work work work. Got my comps coming up in under a month so trying to study hard and also to organise the million things that need to be organised before I leave for Vancouver Island. It's all very busy, but I'm feeling well and full of energy so it's all good.
    Hope you're having fun up there, keep up the blogs, and I'll talk to you soon.
    Love Caro xx

  3. Hi to Dad and Caro! The picture of the sun was taken from the ridge opposite PEARL, at an elevation of around 650 m. I'll post some more pictures today from that walk. And in the picture, the top corners are kind of dark because my camera was frosting up at that point. It would even close by the end until I left it open on the table inside for half an hour after our walk.

    Not much chance of polar bears here. They haven't seen any around Eureka in a number of years. Still, when we go on walks (as we did across the fjord yesterday) we have to take a radio and bear spray just in case. Of course in the cold the bear spray doesn't apparently spray very far, so I wonder whether we'd be best off throwing the spray at a bear rather than trying to spray him? It would be awesome to see a bear from far enough away.

    We have a reservoir just behind the station where we get fresh water, and have all regular plumbing. There's also a reverse-osmosis system (so there are two sets of taps at every sink) for drinking water. It tastes salty though because the water's really hard. For water up at the lab, we fill up those big blue jugs with drinking water and use that, and a water truck comes up to fill the tank at the lab for toilets and sinks up there, but we don't drink that water.

    Glad to hear your baby is doing well, Caro!