Monday, July 28, 2008

Travel Day 3: The expedition team arrives at M.A.R.S., Sat., July 26!

Our Twin Otter taxied to the threshold of the Resolute Bay runway for takeoff to M.A.R.S. station. On our third full day of travel, we were ready to arrive.  We'd boarded on a cool, damp, drizzly morning.  The eerily quiet landscape was disrupted by the Twin Otter's dual turboprops firing up.  The team giddily gazed at each other as the plane turned into the wind on the runway, only to be told by our co-pilot that weather was preventing our takeoff.  This happens often in the Arctic.  It was not what we wanted to hear.  We were more than ready to be out of airplanes for a bit, but we understood and accepted why we had to wait a little longer.  

Thankfully, we waited for only a quarter of an hour, then roared into the sky on the last leg.  And what a leg it was!  Clouds, icebergs, snow, enthralling, vast expanses of glacier-carved terrain.  Then, over a ridge and across Expedition Fjord, we spotted the lower base camp on Axel Heiberg Island in Nunuvut Territory, Canada!  After a reconnaissance pass to check the dirt runway's condition, and wind direction, we touched down on our home for the next few days.  We soon met Wayne Pollard, a professor at McGill University, and a kind and giving host to researchers on the island.  He helped us unload our gear, set us up in our camp, and then grilled us salmon steaks.  How fortunate are we? 

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