Sunday, 6 September 2009

Day 27 – 2nd September

After last nights early bed everyone including myself felt fully refreshed. Most people spent the morning relaxing at PCSP, playing pool, watching TV etc or headed out for a walk. For Dave R and I the morning was spent finishing off the matlab code that I began to write at the very start of the trip.

After lunch, both the Daves, Helen, Berit and myself headed back into town but this time in a van. We posted a couple of postcards before climbing the hill directly behind the Hamlet. From here there were some stunning views of Resolute and the surrounding area. Instead of heading back down we decide to follow the ridge all the way back to PCSP. It was an awesome walk and from the top of the ridge, you could really appreciate the immense size of the place. We were also very lucky to see some sorted circles (google search them) which form only in areas of permafrost. We arrived back at PCSP just in time for dinner and without being eaten by bears!!

The evening was again spent chilling out with everyone and playing games of pool and snooker. It was a fitting end to a fantastic trip which I shall not forget for a very long time to come!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Day 26 – 1st September

Today started early than I expected with the first load of gear leaving the ship via the helicopter at around 9am. The helicopter had to be used as Resolute Bay does not have a wharf or pier for the boat to tie up to. My turn to get off soon arrived and wow did the ride make up for the slightly sad occasion of leaving the boat. Although it only took around 1 minute to fly from the ship to the shore, the ride was incredible. The views of Resolute Bay and the ship from the air were stunning and I would have loved it to go on for longer. No wonder those that got to fly during the cruise always came back full of it!

Resolute Bay is certainly an interesting place. From what I can understand it serves no other purpose than being a Canadian presence in the north as well as a staging post for a fair few Arctic expeditions. The landscape is understandably barren, with nothing but bare rock and mud for miles and miles around. There was not any snow on the ground which is a shame as supposedly it’s meant to make the island look stunning. We have two days in Resolute as we wait to fly out on the 3rd. We are staying at the Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP) which is a very comfortable staging post for Arctic Expeditions run by the Canadian government. From leaving the boat to arriving in Resolute (a 1 minute flight as you know) made us lose an hour as the boat time was one hour ahead. This made waiting for lunch particularly hard seeing as we had missed breakfast in the morning.

After a quick check with the base manager to make sure there had been no recent bear sightings we set off for a walk from the airport where PCSP is to the hamlet. Distance are deceiving and the walk ended up being 8km. we had a quick look around the town before catching a ride back to PCSP for diner and an early bed.

Day 25 – 31st August

Today was our last day on the boat and geezs it was a busy one. Amongst many other jobs, all the scientific gear had to be packed up, the foredeck cleared off all the buoys, floats and chains left over from the moorings and the water samples from the rosette sections moved from the front to the back of the boat. The ships barge even had to be deployed to move ADCPs from the front to the back of the boat as they were too heavy and too large to be moved by hand. Seeing as Humfey and Ron were going straight from the Larsen onto another icebreaker, the Sir Wilfred Laurier quite a bit of the gear had to be separated from the rest ready to be slung over to Resolute Bay tomorrow.

Between all this, I also had to process the data from the final CTD cast and get it plotted up in ODV as well as finish writing with Dave the Matlab code I had started during the first two weeks at the IOS. In the end we got everything finished except the Matlab code which didn’t matter as it gave us something to do to pass the time in Resolute Bay.

The final evening with the crew was possibly the best evening of the entire trip. Even after the bar shut, the evening still went on with plenty of merriment and dancing before finally crawling into bed somewhat later than planned!!