En Route to Kugluktuk: An Unexpected Canadian Tour

September 21, 2011

I arrived in Quebec City today, and got to meet all the southern participants. It was a beautiful day and we spent the afternoon walking around the old part of the city. I’m getting really excited because I got to see a lot of pictures and videos taken by someone who’s been on the Amundsen many times. I’m blown away by all the things that there are to experience in the Arctic and I feel like there will never be enough time to embrace it all. I also got to glance through the on board schedule and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow when I get to enter an entirely different universe. I’m getting up in four hours to fly to Kugluktuk, and we get to board the ship once we arrive. I’m really looking forward to settling in and getting a tour of the ship. What comes after sounds so different and exciting that I can’t believe it’s real yet.

September 22, 2011

Today was a day where I reinforced some knowledge I already had by experiencing it in real life. No – I didn’t get to do any cool experiments on the Amundsen. What I learned today was that Canada is indeed a very large country. At 6 am I took off from Quebec City and after about three hours, the airplane stopped in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut for refueling. After an hour spent in an airport with only two gates, we took off to Kugluktuk and, as we were landing, we suddenly started gaining altitude again. A little later, the captain made an announcement that there was too much fog in Kugluktuk for us to land safely and that we were going to Yellowknife. This airport was a little more sophisticated: 5 gates, a café, and Internet access. After spending three hours there, we found out that we’ll only be able to get to Kugluktuk on Saturday morning. There weren’t enough available hotel rooms for the 60 people on the flight, so they flew us down to Edmonton where I am now. All these cities seemed so far away from each other!

We’re not really worried about our expedition on the icebreaker, because the captain and most of the crew and the science team are all here with us. We will probably just have a little less free time in the evenings to get all our activities done. The scientists might have to cut down on a little bit of their sampling. In the meantime, we have tomorrow to explore Edmonton!

Blog_Butt_EnRoute_26Sept2011September 23, 2011

Today was a fun day where I got to bond with the Schools on Board group as well as the Amundsen’s crew and scientists.  In the morning, we went to the Telus World of Science. In the afternoon, we had free time at the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America. In the evening, the Schools on Board Group met with the ship’s scientists and crew and went to the Eskimos game against the Alouettes. I think the crowd felt a little intimidated by the presence of 40 enthusiastic Montreal fans in the stadium.

We’re all tired after a long day, and we need our rest to be up early for the second attempt to land in Kugluktuk. Hopefully we get there this time. —Karen Butt’12

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