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Friday, August 13, 2010

This and that - passing the time

0400 Friday 13th

Yesterday evening just for fun, I pulled in the GRIB weather for Devon Island and Resolute. It was giving 10 kts from the north at midday today - perfect for flying out. I did not specify precipitation in the file...and it has been blowing about 30 kts and gusting ever since, with heavy rain. The rain is abating and the cloudbase is now about 1000 ft but still gusty 25+. Will be an interesting day!

There are still two hardy people camped out in personal tents - everyone else has moved into one of the sturdier permanent tents . I've just braved the frigid blast to go across to the mess tent and make some coffee (works better than tea when the water is tepid!) and Ben is sitting next to the stove, hoodied (twice, I think) and headphoned watching movies on his laptop. Slept all day yesterday, he said - what else is there to do? Actually, he worked his butt off yesterday. The kids from Grise Fiord are all wired into the information age - iphones and laptops - and they find it easier to pass the time than I do.

An over simplified explanation of the politics: HMP is just outside an area owned by the native peoples of Nunavut which includes the whole of the Haughton Crater. The Grise Fiord community come across from Ellesmere Island to hunt and fish in the bays and inlets just to the north. Nunavut now has a capital, Iqaluit and, at least in theory, all the communities are administered from there. I suspect that it is just in theory. Each community speaks for itself as far as I can tell, and with some force. Just as with native title areas in Australia, permission is required to enter native lands and NASA has to go through the process each year in order to gain access to the Crater. In return, the Project employs local people and whenever possible uses community facilities - the Co-Op shop and the Co-Op hotel in Resolute, for instance.

And the rain is back. We will call Resolute in a couple of hours and we are on standby for whatever is available given the conditions. The C130 is due into Resolute tonight - no predictions at this stage but we did learn 2 years ago that things change amazingly fast up here.

Tomorrow will be the second anniversary of Berrimilla's transit of the ice in Franklin Sound - that scarily beautiful 0300 pinkout with a solid ice centre that, to me, marked the critical point in our NW Passage transit. A sort of full circle if we actually make it to Resolute this time!