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Dispatch 22: Homeward Bound

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Fred Marin

October 4, 2019

Since early evening on Thursday, we have been anchored in Amundsen’s Gulf just outside Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada.  Everyone has packed their laboratory equipment and secured it in the ship’s holds where it will be unloaded a month later when the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent closes for the winter and returns to port in St. John’s Nova Scotia.  Samples are preserved on ice and carefully packed for an airplane ride home with several of the scientists. 

Cabins cleaned and luggage packed; we all await our turn to fly in the helicopter to the Kugluktuk airport.  Aside from returning home to my wife and entourage of pets, I am most excited to ride in the helicopter one last time.  Being on the fourth and last personnel flight to the mainland, I got to ride in the front seat!  Having a great conversation and some good laughs with the pilot on our short jaunt, we made it to the airport and waited.

The airport in Kugluktuk is small building set just off a gravel runway.  There was some concern about the weather as it was raining and foggy outside.  Wet gravel and poor visibility can shut a flight down here.  Small aircraft don’t fly themselves, and at this high latitude, magnetic fields wreak havoc on navigational equipment.  The weather never worsened and our first in a series of four flights depart pretty much on time.  In the meantime, we chatted, laughed, and said farewell to one another.

Looking out the window and contemplating our trip, a beautiful fox trotted across the damp gravel runway proudly carrying something it captured in its mouth.  The Arctic is a wild place, just as it should be.

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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