Remembering 2013.

I realize and apologize for writing so scantly on the research trip of last summer. The events of that trip alone were impossible to keep up with, and the same can be said for each passing week since we disembarked the CCGS Amundsen in Pond Inlet, Nunavut in August.

That summer excursion was exciting yet stressful at times with our ice island sampling ultimately foiled by persistent bad weather (fog) and persistent wildlife (polar bears).  That one sentence does not do the three week trip justice, but for the purposes of this entry, is all that is necessary to wrap that chapter up before moving on to the ultimately more important fall of 2013.

Those that are involved with Arctic research or listen to the CBC – and know the work that our lab is involved with – already know of the events that unfolded in the Western Canadian Arctic in September. I have meant to write about it here, at least to give all those involved in the accident their due acknowledgement, for a long time. On a peaceful ski along a favourite trail this morning after a thoughtful drive through my perfectly lit Adirondack Mountains yesterday, it was decided that this refection on 2013 was necessary before turning the calendar over to a yet unwritten 2014.

Members of ArcticNet, including those that carry out their work from the Amundsen year after year, were rocked in early September when an accident with the ship’s helicopter took three respected, expert and kind men away from us. They were each at the top of their field and though the emotion of those on board at that time, their close colleagues and friends, and so importantly their families, is unimaginable, I want to attempt to show condolence and state how it deeply touched us all, right across the country.

It is certain that they will be remembered, for this widely spread community has evolved into a supportive and tightly-woven network of researchers and friends who will make sure of it. I personally owe thanks to this group, as well as to amazingly understanding friends and family for their care over the past few months.

Natural, industrial and political events of global importance are currently playing out in the Arctic. The continuation of the research carried out on the Amundsen, as well as elsewhere in the region, is incredibly important as these unfold. 2014 will undoubtedly be a significant year in the region. 

For tonight, while reflecting on our own years and ringing in the new, let’s raise a glass to our three friends and this community. Take care.