Thursday, February 27, 2014

We made it to Eureka - and got a lot done

First things first: The lidar is measuring! Yay! We're doing the things we came here to do.

Four days after leaving home in London, we arrived in Eureka. With the delays in Yellowknife, I think most of us were actually more rested upon arrival than we would have been if we'd had two straight flying days in a row. 

We woke up at 5:30 am, breakfasted at the hotel at 6 am, and were at the Air Tindi terminal by 6:30 with all of our luggage. We flew in a Beech 1900D, and our pilots are familiar from past trips to Eureka. I don't know what kind of superpower turbo props they installed in that plane, because it's about the fastest three-legged trip to the lab that I've ever seen. We weren't on the ground long in Cambridge Bay before climbing back aboard en route to Resolute.

 This is Zahra. She's a PhD student at York University, and she was pretty excited about her first trip to Eureka (It's not her first trip to the Arctic; she studied in Sweden for 2 years). She's also my roomie this trip!

Resolute's weather behaved okay. The weather was fine all the way in, then we had some winds off the mountain which surprised us all a few hundred meters above the ground, and then Mitch set us down gently on the ground as though the turbulence had never happened. It went from “Hey, Resolute's got no wind, for once!” to “Ack! Bumpy! Don't like it!” to “Huh. Where'd the wind go?” and then we landed. No problem.

Aziz met our plane, we got fueled up, and were on our way again. Although we're early in the year, we had left early enough in the day to have daylight for most of the trip. In fact, we could see pretty well all the way in to Eureka. 

The Arctic just gets more and more beautiful as you travel North, and Ellesmere is the prettiest part! Lots of nice topography to keep things interesting, and with it all being various shades of snowy white, nothing is white at all. It's so pretty. The sun far to the south lights up the sky all sorts of colours, and the contrast of the sunlit peaks with the shadowed sides of the hills is just great. We were able to get good views of the PEARL lab and the road and the weather station on our final approach.

 We stayed up at the runway just long enough to say hello to some friends who were on their way back south, and then headed down for supper.

That would have made quite a nice end to the day, right? Except that with single-digit-numbers of days planned to be at the lab this trip, every one of them counts. A lot. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Sham and I were over at the lab at the first opportunity to see what we could sensibly get done.

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