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Dispatch 2: Finally on Board

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Mengnan Zhao

September 19, 2015

Today a drizzle in Yellowknife saw us off and we finally boarded the flight to Kugluktuk. Stepping off the plane, the scenery – vast grassland and hilly terrain – was breathtaking, much wilder than Yellowknife. As I read on the plane, ice fishing, fox trapping and seal hunting would be a central part of a vacation in Kugluktuk.

The warnings about bears everywhere in the small airport reminded me how close I was to the Arctic Ocean. There was even another icebreaker – the CCGS Amundsen just across the shore. Later I was told that the Louis was waiting not far away, but hidden from view by a hill.

It was not long before the most excitement came – with an increasing roaring, the Louis’ helicopter flew close to deliver us to the ship. It was my first time in a helicopter, and what an experience! There was one moment that we tilted almost 45 degrees. After rounding past the hill, there was the Louis, grand and spectacular.

After our landing, I was shown to my cabin, and once my belongings were arranged, I began my little adventure – trying to familiarize myself with the Louis. She is such a big ship that I got lost several times and found myself in the wrong places. It may take a couple of days, and tomorrow’s orientation will be helpful.

We had our first science meeting after dinner. The Louis was still refueling, and we won’t be underway until tomorrow evening. It gave a chance for everyone to unpack their instruments and set up their labs. I also received a duffle bag of extra warm clothing for working on the ice that my advisor (Mary-Louise Timmermans) had shipped for me to borrow. It was exciting to know that tomorrow we would be heading to the Beaufort Sea. 

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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