Tom Kiguktak and I are flying to Grise Fiord with Kenn Borek's Twin Otter. Beautiful flight over Jones Sound, which we will soon survey with the electro- magnetic sensor (EM31) to learn more about the ice thickness. Christian Haas is welcoming us at Resolute Bay airport, and we use the Polar Continental Shelf Program facility to prepare our snowmobiles and our equipment.
Resolute Bay is the nearby village of Grise Fiord (400km as the crow flies!), it is twice as populated (about 240 inhabitants), it was also founded during the High Arctic relocation. Scientific and military bases are here generating an important air traffic, which also benefits tourists and adventurers. We have enthusiastic discussions with Wayne Davidson, passionate French meteorologist, with Kenn Borek leader to whom I send daily weather reports, with a scientist who just set up 45 collars to track polar bear local population... We also look at the brand new arena in the village!
After two days of preparation, we are ready to make our way to Grise Fiord. The objective is to follow part of the track that Christian did by plane last month, in Wellington Channel, to validate measurements of the airborne (DC3) electro-magnetic sensor (EM bird). Then we should cross Jones Sound in its length to Grise Fiord.
A five days expedition, sustained pace, we use our tent only three times. Thick fog, strong wind, very rough ice... but great weather and great snow at times! We are often following Rangers tracks (from end of April trip). Conditions are hard for the EM31, we have to do repair and maintenance once in a while, fortunately the data are good. Many bears on our way, but only one will be observed really close. It is a treat to share this mission with Tom, he loves his region and is an experienced hunter.
France, Leonie and Aurore, as well as Hugues and Adrien are welcoming us aboard Vagabond. The last leg was more than 24 hours. We just have time to sleep and eat a little bit, then get ice cores in the vicinity of the boat. Christian must fly within a few hours, Tom and I are accompanying him to Grise Fiord for the last 50km of our journey, still towing the valiant icemeter. We will long remember this trip!
Read On thin ice, article by Christian Haas (January 2014).