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Dispatch 1: Greetings from Kugluktuk!

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Marshall Swartz and Fred Marin

September 12, 2019

Good afternoon from the coast of Kugluktuk, Nunavut Territory in northern Canada! The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, our home for the next 23 days, is at anchor 3km offshore, awaiting the arrival of a final contingent of people coming in from Yellowknife. Due to fog, the airport in Kugluktuk was closed on September 10th, our planned arrival date. Backed up travelers quickly snapped up all available rooms and we were lucky to get hotel rooms while we rearranged airline reservations.

Overnight in Yellowknife, our science team was treated to a spectacular Aurora Borealis display, welcoming us to the high latitudes.

On Thursday morning, we had good travel conditions to go on to Kugluktuk, and were picked up by the ship’s Bell helicopter on arrival.

By 3pm, the final scientists and gear have been airlifted onboard the Louis S. St-Laurent from the gravel Kugluktuk airstrip. After a quick head-count and orientation, we prepared to get underway immediately, as we were already two days behind schedule. Safety comes first, and all of us, even those who have been aboard before, participated in mandatory safety training and ship orientation.  We then continued securing our gear in the labs and in the hold, and began preparing for the first science sampling stations.

Suppertime comes quickly, and the galley crew prepared a generous meal to get us off to a good start. But very soon we were back to the business of getting everything ready to be at sea.

Because even this large ship (393 ft. long) can roll enough to cause large items to slide off benches and around the floor, we all have the responsibility to tie, tape, screw, and clamp down anything that can move in the labs and in our cabins. Even the chairs should be secured to keep from moving.

Science activities start tomorrow afternoon and will soon consume all our time. Despite losing two days to weather, we have made a good start.

Last updated: September 26, 2019

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