Loving and Leaving Resolute Bay
My stay in Resolute Bay lasted 5 days. I met interesting and not so interesting people. I made friends with people who I kept in contact with for many years. There was a Japanese film crew staying at Jasudasens who were making a movie called ‘Antarctica’. I was invited to tag along with them and see how they were recreating the Antarctic scenes in the Arctic. They had made these fabulous stuffed King Penguins props that looked real as far as I could see from photos because I’ve never been to Antarctica or seen real penguins. They were flying around in a huge UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) Helicopter so I got my first Heli ride in a Huey with a Japanese film crew. Cool right?!
The only other event that stands out in memory was meeting the hilarious and robust Paddy Doyle at the Arctic Bar one ‘night’. He was a Pilot for Bradley Air and killing time there like most of the guys. It was that very night that we co-wrote ‘The Arctic Blues’. I would compose a verse and he would compose the next, on and on. Spontaneous Arctic humor. I never wrote it down and can’t recall one line of it. But it was GREAT! I’ve heard Paddy has been a pilot for a major airline for many years now. Maybe retired?
On the morning of June 10, I loaded myself and gear onto a Twin Otter. The flight to Eureka Weather Station was longer than expected. The remote landing strips in the Arctic range in size from the length of a city block to a postage stamp. It seems all about how fast you can reverse your engines and get the brakes on. Better than a roller coaster ... I did not throw up during or post any of these landings. I would mentally tell my sons to always remember that I loved them to the moon and around the sun and back again and no matter what happens your Mom loves you. Same as I would tell them every day before they left for school. You never know.
Eureka Weather Station is very small and remote community. Most Canadians working in the Arctic have strange and interesting or odd back stories.
My Canadian friend Bill Rouse who is a commentator here uses the term ‘Inmates’. I like that one! They were inmates who had sentenced themselves to time in isolation. In the dining hall was a long table loaded with bakery and sweets. It was always there with fresh coffee and tea. 24/7. I assumed it had something to do with morale and feeling at home. Worked for me!
I had not seen Will for 4 months so I was anxiously waiting for sight of him. He was sun burnt and happy. As was our habit, our greeting was brief and we went right to work pulling gear. Decisions had to be made as to what to keep and what to give away or store. Our camp was on a flat bit of gravel beyond the landing strip. My gear had to be added to the komatik. With the Arctic Spring comes the accelerated Arctic melt. Likewise the Fall happens with blinding speed. You’ll see a lot of water in the coming photos as we will be traveling over the Fjords of Ellesmere as they literally melt away.
Photo by Will Steger.
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