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Arctic Diary – Week One

March 28 – April 4, 2002

We've finally arrived at Canadian Forces Station Alert in a Hercules CC-130 aircraft, one of the biggest planes in the Canadian Armed Forces. We've brought tonnes of test equipment, computers, supplies, clothing and food for several weeks, and most of it is piled up right beside our web seats that fold out from the walls. It's too noisy to talk, so some people read, while others find a warm spot to sleep on top of the packing crates for the 9-hour flight.
As we approached Alert, we looked anxiously out the windows for a large, flat area of ice on which to set up our camp. We are hoping to find ice that has frozen this past winter (annual ice) which is 1 to 2 metres thick. Multi-year ice is 3 to 5 metres thick and difficult to drill through for our experiments.
After 2 more days of searching by snowmobile, we finally found a suitable spot a few kilometres from the shoreline, and began to transport gear and set up camp. There will be science tents, sleeping tents, a kitchen tent and 2 outhouse tents (the only ones without a stove inside!).
Hauling all this equipment to set up camp has taken us almost a week, in countless bumpy trips with snowmobiles and BV 206 tracked vehicles.
We are hoping that the "good" weather holds. The temperature has ranged from –25 to -40 C, with little wind. Because we are north of the Arctic Circle, there is some light in the sky all night, and we will soon be working in 24-hour sunlight.

Arctic Diary / Week Two