So we wait. and wait. and wait…
Things have yet to line up for this poor BBC documentary crew. I’m happy to be left somewhat in the dark, not on the ship and not in the direct line of stressed out Brits that are loosing filming time with every attempt to board the ice island.
A quick update to get everyone up to speed – I arrived in Iqaluit, NU on Tuesday and was supposed to meet the BBC and scientists on Wednesday after a 5 hour heli flight north along the coast of Baffin Island. Unfortunately, Iqaluit and the ice island were both encased with fog on Wednesday, Thursday, and into Friday.
Thankfully, Friday had a few blue skies and Michael O’Sullivan, my fellow traveler and heli pilot, made the call to get as far as we could – hamlet hopping up Baffin Island to refuel along the way. We touched down in Pangnirtung, NU and then continued on to Qikiqtarjuaq, NU. Both are on opposite sides of the Penny Ice Cap and Auyuittuq National Park. The ride in between these two towns (populations in the 400s) was spectacular. 5000 ft peaks bordering a 1 mile wide valley with glaciers ripping down the sides from the ice cap and petering out into gushing waterfalls…Unreal!
When we checked in with the ship that night, we were told that the weather had indeed cleared there as well – but they were having trouble storing fuel for us on the ice because the swells at sea were too large and it was impossible to dock in right next to the ice and unload some fuel barrels by gang plank or crane. Today we checked in with the crew every hour, on the hour, and were brought up to speed on their attempts via barge. Hopefully, tomorrow will be the big day! The sun is shining strong and there isn’t fog or cloud to speak of (allowing me to enjoy that 24 hour sun!), so we want to take advantage!
The people in Qik are gregarious and friendly though, and it hasn’t been a rough stay at all. I was toured around the town by a giggling group of 4 girls last night. I’ve never run into bigger Justin Bieber fans in my life – who knew that there would be such a love for the pop kid all the way up here! These girls were decked out in Bieber tattoos, zipper pulls, the works!
Today was spent fishing, watching the pod of four bowhead whales feed in the bay, reading down on the rocks and watching icebergs drift past – farther out at sea. I can’t complain – but certainly am hoping to get on the ship soon, before that fog comes back! We were hearing reports of seven polar bears being on the island – and I’d rather have 100% visibility while trekking around with those buddies roaming about!
At our little ‘North Inn’, there is no uploading of pictures, skyping home or endless hours on youtube. This will be just be me once more asking for your check back for images in a weeks time!