Okay people, it’s cold here. I know, I should have expected that. After all, I’m in the very far north. But still. It’s COLD. I got up this morning and it was cold.
Let me preface this by saying I got up this morning at 3:17, when the fire alarm went off. I should let you know I’m in this hotel with 85 people, at maximum capacity. At least 50 of these people are public servants. Every single public servant got their well trained butts out of bed, put on their hats and coats, grabbed their wallets and went downstairs to see if it was a fire or a false alarm. The non public servants? Not so well trained. Now, if that was a real fire instead of a short in the system, wouldn’t you rather have hauled ass earlier than been singed? I thought so.
Anyway, it was broad daylight at 3am. This was a bit of a shock to me because it wasn’t broad daylight at 3am in Iqaluit. However, it was a 4 hour flight from Iqaluit to here, so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised that we’re far enough north for 24 hour sunlight to really mean something.
Regardless, it was chilly at 3am. It was downright cold at 9Am, with the 40km/h winds whipping across this barren plain. I say barren plain because it looks like… well, a giant gravel field. There’s very little that grows here. I got a couple of pictures of flowers, but they’re on top of the sewage treatment bed. Totally different from a regular flower, yanno?
Anyway, this morning I went to an open house put on by the government of Canada about our work in the north. It was pretty cool. And I mean that in so many ways. There was a dude dissecting arctic char to examine them for toxicity. He was dissecting them on a regular old table for demonstration and scientific purposes. There was another display of a low cost idiot-proof ultrasound machine that can be used in remote communities with internet hookups to diagnose traumas, pregnancies, and all sorts of other things by a remote doctor.
The event was very interesting. The military was here to talk about a simulation they’re going to do of a major search and rescue and oil spill recovery. The government also announced the expansion of science facilities and military facilities in this community. In essence, federal investment will double the population of this community within the next 10 years.
The people I’ve met here have been incredibly nice. The scientists from my department, the guys in uniform, even the reporters, and I normally try to stay away from them like the plague. They’ve all been great.
The workshop provided a common bond for us all, as it was held in an unheated hangar where the polar scientists store their gear off season. We got a glimpse of their living quarters and it was all very impressive. High speed internet, pool table, tvs with cable, lovely kitchen. I’m telling you, if it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, it’d be great!
Anyway, the icebreaker will be here tomorrow, a day late but not a penny short. I’m rather excited. Sometime tomorrow morning I’ll be ferried to the ship by helicopter along with a number of other people here, mostly reporters and scientists. I’m hoping to interview the scientists for our website while managing at least one reporter on the ship itself. I’m only the backup for the media relations person, which is good because you totally know I want to get the full shipboard experience!
There is some limited internet access from the ship. If I get a chance, I’ll send a note from there. If not, think of me on my vessel with my fried food and no diet coke! Wish me luck!