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Official Log

Thursday, April 18th, 1985 (Log Day 1)

Eleven members of Project North Pole #19 met at 7:00 PM in the Crown Suite of the Westin Hotel in Edmonton for cocktails. A Welcome Dinner followed at 8:00 PM. The group included Robert Antol from Fishkill, New York; Robert Burns from Tampa, Florida; Elsieanna Graff from Bonxville, New York; Robert Kaller from Carmel, California; Thomas and Patricia Largen from Sanford, Florida; Frances Rogers from Alexandria, Virginia; William Savy from Geneva, Switzerland; Jagannathan Srinivasaraghavan (better known as Van) from Northbrook, Illinois; Earl Wilkinson from Manila, Philippines; and myself, Patricia Sutherland from Ottawa, Canada.

After briefly getting acquainted over aperitifs, we sat down to a delicious seven-course meal which included reindeer meat and fresh strawberries with sabayon (menu attached). During our first course, Tom Largen read a telegram from Diana Klein of Society Expeditions which explained George Llano's absence from this expedition, and which outlined my background and qualifications for assuming the role of group leader and lecturer. Everyone was asked to formally introduce themselves by name, place of residence and occupation, and they were also requested to explain why they had decided to take a trip to the North Pole. During dessert, the group was briefed on the itinerary, logistics, weather, clothing, health hazards and other aspects of Arctic travel, as well as what to expect in terms of wildlife, northern communities and native people. There were quite a number of questions concerning the type of gear that ought to be taken. Earl Wilkinson was planning to stay in the Arctic for another week or so to participate in a bear hunt, and thought that he might need extra equipment, so the dining room staff was asked about camping stores in Edmonton.

About 9:30 PM the twelfth member of the expedition, Nigel Larn from London, England arrived. Nigel was briefed on what we had already discussed and then we talked about plans for the following day in Edmonton, which included a number of choices for the morning and a visit to the Polar Park in the afternoon. There were a few more questions and then at about 11:00 PM, we called it an evening. It was a lovely, clear night in Alberta's capital, following a day of sunshine and a high temperature of approximately 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit). The Crown Suite gave us a good view of the city lights. In a couple of days there would be no city lights, and we would experience 24 hours of daylight.

Friday, April 19th, 1985 (Log Day 2)

At 9:30 AM, nine of us gathered in the Lobby. Most of the group had had breakfast in the Palm Court. Three members of our party decided to go their own separate ways for the morning, in order to find the Mountain Shop and Eddie Bauer, the local outfitting stores. They also wanted to visit the newly-built West Edmonton Mall, the world's largest indoor shopping plaza.

At 10:00 AM the sightseers left in two vans for the Provincial Museum of Alberta. Here we visited the Habitat gallery where the wildlife of Alberta are displayed in their natural setting. Since the northern part of the province of Alberta extends into the boreal forest, some of the exhibits showed animals and birds that are found in the Subarctic and Arctic regions. We also toured the Natural History gallery with its exhibits of fossils, dinosaurs and geological specimens. The area around Drumheller, Alberta has produced some major dinosaur finds over the years. Our last stop in the Museum, apart from the bookstore, was the Anthropology gallery which portrays the culture and history of the native people of Alberta, the Amerindians. We arrived at the Space Sciences Center about 11:30 AM, which allowed us about half an hour to tour. There were no shows taking place that morning, so we strolled through the Universe Gallery where, among other things, we saw Landsat photographs of various places in the Arctic.

At noon we returned to the Westin Hotel for lunch at the Palm court where we were joined by the three who had spent the morning shopping. About 1:30 PM eleven of us took to the vans again and headed out to Polar Park (formerly Al Oeming's Game Farm), about 14 miles east of downtown Edmonton. While we waited for Mrs. Oeming to tour us through the park, we photographed and watched the four Polar bears that were spending a lazy afternoon in their cement-walled compound, no doubt enjoying the cold temperatures and the brisk wind that had replaced yesterday's unseasonably warm weather. Almost everyone had 35 mm cameras, and Tom and Pat Largen also had a video-camera complete with sheepskin case to prevent it from freezing up in the cold weather which we would encounter in the north.

At the park we saw a number of animals indigenous to the North American Arctic. In addition to the white bears, there were musk oxen, Barrenground caribou, Arctic fox still in their winter pelage, and Arctic hare. Knowing that they would likely see Arctic wolves at Eureka on northern Ellesmere Island, members of the group spent some time looking at the dozen or so Timber wolves. Also, of interest were the various rare species of cold climate mammals from around the globe, and the Siberian tigers that had dogs in their cages as playmates. We arrived back in Edmonton about 4:00 PM, stopping at the liquor store on the way to the hotel, where the North Pole champagne was purchased. Upon returning to the hotel, plans for our morning departure to Resolute Bay were detailed, and then a number of people headed down the block to the Edmonton Center for shopping; on Fridays, the larger stores are open until 9:00 PM.

Ten of us met for dinner in the hotel's main dining room, The Carvery, at 7:00 PM Van joined us about 8:30 PM; William had decided to retire early. There was good conversation and excellent food at the dinner table, but the service was very slow. Art Wolfe and Charles Bergman, on assignment with National Geographic, arrived at the hotel about 9:00 PM and joined us. We were served coffee and liqueurs about 10:30 PM, after which people scurried off to their rooms anticipating that 4:45 AM wakeup call. The weather in Edmonton was considerably colder today with a temperature of 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), and the forecast was for snow overnight.

Saturday, April 20th, 1985 (Log Day 3)

With a planned departure from the hotel at 5:30 AM, everyone was wakened early. The predicted snow storm was well underway, with a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). We arrived at the Edmonton International Airport in good time for our 7:35 AM flight on board a Pacific Western Boeing 737. After a thorough de-icing of the aircraft, we left on schedule for Resolute Bay with an en route stop in Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories.

Breakfast was a welcome sight for those of us who hadn't had time for room service before leaving the hotel. We landed at the Yellowknife airport about 10:00 AM where we were allowed to deplane for about 20 minutes. Yellowknife, named for the Indians who inhabited the area. at the time of contact and who used knives and other tools of native copper, is situated on the north shore of Great Slave Lake. The gold-mining town has a population of about 15,000. We had flown out of the snowy weather, but the temperature was much the same as in Edmonton, and we could expect cold weather for the duration of the trip. We took off from Yellowknife in clear weather with a good view of the myriad of frozen lakes that dot the Barren Grounds. After lunch, everyone in the group was given an opportunity to visit Bob and Cal, the pilot and copilot, in the flight cabin. Over Cambridge Bay which is located on Victoria Island, Wendy, our stewardess, passed out certificates indicating that we had passed the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees 30 minutes North. Below us was the white and frozen world of the Arctic Archipelago, the largest island group in the world. Our plane landed at Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island at 1:30 PM Central Standard time.

It was 23 degrees below zero Celsius (10 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) with a light wind blowing. Bezal and Terry Jesudason of High Arctic International Explorer Services Ltd., the expediting company in Resolute, were at the airport to meet us. They took us by truck to the Narwhal Inn where we would stay until our departure for Lake Hazen. We had about an hour and a half to get settled into our rooms before heading off to Bezal's place to be outfitted with clothing for the trip north. Resolute Bay, named for the HMS Resolute which sailed the waters of the Northwest Passage in the last century, was established as a joint Canadian and US meteorological station in 1947. The town, with a population of approximately 160 people, consists of an Inuit settlement and a transportation and communication centre including an airport, weather station, hotel, base camp for the Polar Continental Shelf Project, and field offices and facilities for two charter air companies, Bradley and Borek. Bezal and Terry Jesudason live in a comfortable house in the Inuit village, where they are hosts to various groups visiting the High Arctic. We met Debbie, the cook who would accompany us to Lake Hazen, and our group was issued with pack boots and down clothing including inner jackets and pants, parkas, mitts, heavy wind pants, and face masks. Bezal advised us that because we only had one aircraft to transport our group, plus the two National Geographic fellows and the Hazen staff and food, we would have to cut down on luggage. We arrived back at the Inn in time for dinner, before which we enjoyed some good cheer provided by several members of our group. After dinner, a few slides of places we had visited and places still to see, as well as some of Arctic wildlife, were shown in the Inn's pool (as in snooker) and recreation room. We were planning on a 10:00 AM departure for Lake Hazen, weather permitting, so people went off to their rooms fairly early to re-pack and retire.

Sunday, April 21st, 1985 (Log Day 4)

We arose to a cold, clear morning of 25 degrees below zero Celsius (13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) with the wind chill making it 50 degrees below zero Celsius (60 degrees below zero Fahrenheit). After a hearty breakfast, we waited for word about our departure. Bezal called and said that the weather was poor at Eureka and that we would not leave today unless there was an improvement. We spent the morning sightseeing around Resolute. We visited the M1 site, a Thule Eskimo winter village occupied in the 12th century A.D. A brief talk on the Thule occupation of the Canadian Arctic, and the winter houses at the site, was given by Bezal and myself. We also drove up to the water tower which supplies the town, and toured through the village. We returned to the Narwhal for lunch, and at 3:00 PM when it appeared from the weather reports that we would spend another night in Resolute, an hour and a half slide lecture was given on the prehistory of the Canadian Arctic. At Earl's request, we had another session on Arctic health hazards such as frost bite and snowblindness. Today's weather gave everyone a good indication of what we would likely experience on our travels farther north. We learned that several attempts were in progress (in addition to ours, of course) to attain the true North pole and the Magnetic North pole. A Japanese actress was attempting the geographic pole by snowmobile (at this writing, she had withdrawn), and an American two-man group calling itself the McGuire Polar Expedition had reached a point not far off the north coast of Ellesmere Island as of April 21; they were traveling on foot and on skis. The third group, a team of journalists from Edmonton, were still in Resolute awaiting weather good enough to leave on skis for the Magnetic pole. After another excellent meal prepared by Dan Harris, the innkeeper at the Narwhal, Bezal and Terry showed us home movies of various trips they had taken to Lake Hazen and Grise Fiord. We were informed that the weather was improving farther north, and that we would likely leave early in the morning. Peter, Bezal's assistant, managed to get a flight up to Hazen this evening to get the camp ready for our arrival in the morning.

Monday, April 22nd, 1985 (Log Day 5)

We rose to a clear day with temperatures much the same as yesterday except that the winds were moderate. We had breakfast early and prepared to leave Resolute, storing our extra gear in a back room near the kitchen. We went by truck to the waiting Twin Otter aircraft. Our pilot was Monty Stevenson, and co-pilot Matt Gacek. We were airborne about 8:30 AM, flying at 9000 feet over Cornwallis Island and cruising at 11,000 feet with an air speed of 135 mph en route to Eureka. We arrived at Eureka about 11:00 AM Resolute Bay time. Situated on Slidre Fiord on Ellesmere Island, Eureka is the most northerly civilian weather station in Canada. It was about 20 degrees below zero Celsius (4 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) with little to no wind. During our station stop, while the pilots refueled the aircraft, we went down to the station in the manager's truck to use the washroom facilities, and the manager was also kind enough to take us by Bombardier (we used two machines) to one of several icebergs located near the entrance to the fiord. We photographed a bergy-bit (an iceberg the size of a small cottage) up close and then headed back to the weather station from where we proceeded by truck to the dump located at the end of the runway. Here a group of five to seven wolves feed daily, encouraged with a few fresh scraps from the kitchen at the station. This is what Art and Chuck had come for, and they began work immediately, photographing and taking notes. At this point, we said our good-byes to the National Geographic team and drove back to the aircraft. We were airborne about 12:30 PM, at which point Debbie and I passed out the lunch of sandwiches, tarts and squares, milk and fruit that Dan had packed for us. It took about an hour and a half to reach Lake Hazen, the largest lake in the world north of 80 degrees. It is approximately 50 miles long by 7 miles wide and is about 500 feet above sea level. To the north of the Lake rise the British Empire and United States Range with some peaks reaching a height of 8500 feet. We flew in along the south shore, passing over the Ruggles River, and then we banked over the lake and landed on the bulldozed runway on the lake ice (which was about 10 inches thick). We saw four Arctic hare scurry across the snow as we came in for our landing below the Borek camp, our home for the next couple of days. We deplaned and, as the snowmobile and komatik (sled) was not there to meet us (Peter was not able to get the skidoo's engine started), we began carrying our gear and food supplies up the hill to the camp. The weather here was much the same as it had been at Eureka and as a result we had a spectacular view of the mountains on the far side of the lake. The living quarters, which consists of a number of parcolls (canvas-covered structures) put together to form a kitchen with 2 washrooms, two dormitories, and supply area which also housed the camp and flight crew's bunks, was warm and comfortably set up. Several members of the group helped Debbie make up the bunks, and everyone selected a bed and unpacked.

Debbie went through the camp rules posted on the wall in the kitchen, such rules as using the buddy system when venturing any distance from camp. A number of us went out to walk for a while before helping with preparations for dinner and assisting the pilots in rolling fuel drums from the cache to the aircraft. Debbie served us a hearty stew and apple pie for dinner at 7:00 PM, and most people went to bed early hoping that tomorrow we would be off to the Pole. The camp is equipped with an SBX-11 radio for communication with aircraft, Resolute. and other stations in the Arctic. We used the radio to make contact that evening with Camp Opal, an American Naval station located approximately 250 miles north of us out on the Polar pack. We had scheduled communication (scheds) with them on three occasions that night. The first sched told us that the weather was poor, but that it had improved from the day before, when there had been half a mile visibility in blowing snow. The report at 1:00 AM indicated that the weather was good enough for the Otter to fly up and leave a cache of fuel for the trip to the Pole, so Monty and Matt left about 1:30 AM while the rest of us slept the night away in our down and quallofil sleeping bags.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 1985 (Log Day 6)

We had breakfast about 9:00 AM and learned that the Otter was on its way back from Opal with an ETA (estimated time of arrival) of 9:30 AM. It was another glorious day outside with weather much the same as yesterday, and it was decided that we would try for the Pole today. While Debbie prepared a lunch for us to take on the trip, I showed the group epoxy reproductions of some of the artifacts I had found over the last eight years at Lake Hazen and in surrounding areas, explaining that these reproductions were going to be part of a permanent display in Grise Fiord on the prehistory of Ellesmere Island. Matt arrived back from Opal with another pilot, John Brechin; Monty stayed at Opal, but he would be accompanying us in the second Twin Otter for the latter part of the trip to the Pole.

Before we left camp, Elsieanna announced that it was her 76th birthday and that she had hoped to be at the North Pole on this date. We all wished her happy returns, and Earl presented her with a tiny stuffed koala bear. We got away at 11:45 AM, flying at approximately 9000 feet until we came to the north coast of Ellesmere Island. As we passed over the ice shelf and Ward Hunt Island, we began flying at 2000 feet, which gave us a very good view of the permanent Polar pack with its pressure ridges and open leads in the ice. We arrived at our refueling point, Camp Opal, at 2:30 PM. The camp was located at 85 degrees 59.2 minutes North and 87 degrees 54.8 minutes West. It was quite cold with an air temperature of 25 degrees below zero Celsius (13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) and a wind of 20 knots. Commander Wales, the leader of the American Naval expedition, met us as we climbed out of the aircraft. There seemed to be between 8 and 10 men in the party, all dressed in royal blue wind suits. Some of them helped with the re-fueling while our group looked around the camp. One tent was restricted because it contained classified equipment, but they allowed those who were cold to visit the other two tents which were heated. When asked about their work here, they simply said that they were doing acoustic experiments under the ice. The second Twin Otter that we were going to use for the trip to the pole was on contract to Commander Wales and his group. John, the pilot, told us of two other camps, Crystal and Ruby, that were part of this expedition which would continue to operate for another couple of weeks.

We stayed about half an hour and then split into two groups with Bob Antol, Van and Nigel flying with Monty. We arrived at 90 degrees North about 5:00 PM and put down at 5:15 PM after Monty found a suitable ice floe and landed first. Our landing spot was about half a mile off 90 degrees North on an ice floe about 1 mile in diameter fringed by pressure ridges about 3 to 4 feet high. Most of the surrounding leads were frozen; the one closest to the aircraft appeared to have a cover of ice only about 6 inches thick. The temperature was 26 degrees below zero Celsius (15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) with little to no wind. Everyone with cameras began photographing the scenery immediately after leaving the aircraft. After a short time we got organized, and I began taking group photographs around Society's candy-striped pole, which we set up so as not to be shooting into the sun, although this created some inevitable shadows. After I had finished taking group shots, individual photos were taken; meanwhile, Tom did quite a bit of video-taping. Earl was photographed with all sorts of miscellany that he had brought along, including a silk butterfly, artificial roses, a can of Foster's beer, a cigar, and various flags. Van had brought a flag of India, figuring that he was the first Indian citizen to reach the North Pole, so he was photographed and I also had my picture taken with my National Museum of Man poster which read: Land of the Maple Leaf, Home of the Beaver. It was not as cold as at Camp Opal, but it was chilly enough that it was decided to have the champagne inside the aircraft. We raised our glasses in a toast to "Exploration, Adventure, and the North Pole" and polished off the four bottles of Mumm's we had brought, just as it turned to slush.

With our objective accomplished, we took our seats in the two Otters and took off at 6:45 PM. We arrived back at Camp Opal for refueling about an hour and a half later. It was a very brief stop and most people stayed on board. Bob Antol, Van, Nigel, and Bob Kaller, who had flown back with Monty in the second plane, rejoined us. Once again we were airborne. Over the north coast of Ellesmere, while John visited with the group, Matt flew the Otter and I sat in the cockpit taking photographs out the pilot's window. We arrived back at Hazen at 10:30 PM, and had a bit of cheer and a delicious chicken dinner and birthday cake (for Elsieanna) which Debbie had prepared. Most of the group went straight to bed after supper, but a few of us headed out about 1:30 AM to try our luck at ice fishing. We did not catch a thing, but we had fun trying.

Wednesday, April 24th, 1985 (Log Day 7)

We all slept in this morning, and had brunch at 10:30 AM. It was another beautiful day at Lake Hazen and it was decided that we would make the trip to Fort Conger, roughly 50 miles to the southeast. Ten of us plus Peter and the flight crew left at 12:30 PM, and in about half an hour we landed on the sea ice in Discovery Harbour. It was 22 degrees below zero Celsius (8 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) with a cloudless sky and no wind. I had never seen the place as magnificent as it was today. We walked up to the site of Fort Conger and a brief lecture was given on the history of Hall Basin, Discovery Harbour and the fort which now consists of three wooden shacks and a considerable amount of scattered metal and wooden debris. Discovery Harbour was named for HMS Discovery, one of two ships under the command of Captain G.S. Nares of the British Arctic Expedition. Nares explored the area as far north as the present-day military station of Alert in 1875 and the Discovery wintered in this tiny harbour north of Lady Franklin Bay in the same year. From 1881 to 1883, Lieutenant A. Greely of the United States Lady Franklin Bay Expedition occupied the harbour and established a scientific station here in recognition of the International Polar Year (1881-82). He called the station Fort Conger. The three wooden huts now standing on the site were constructed by Robert Peary, who used Greely's old encampment from 1898 to 1902 on his first attempt to reach the Pole. Canada has declared this site a National Historic Monument.

The group took photographs of the historic site, the view of Judge Daly Promontory to the south, and the pressure ridges that lined the shore. Some wandered up the slope behind the site and others sat in the wooden huts to really get a feel for the place and its history. About 3:00 PM we boarded the Otter and headed back to Lake Hazen, crossing over the Hazen Plateau via The Bellows, one of three valleys that connect Lake Hazen to Lady Franklin Bay. John flew us along the north shore of the Lake over the Gilman River so that we could photograph the musk ox herds that were wintering on the high ground there. We saw three herds, one of which was quite sizable for this area; I counted twelve adults and one calf (most calves are born in early May). When we arrived back at camp, we ate a quick lunch which Debbie had prepared and then we packed up our gear and helped to close down the camp, which would not be used again by High Arctic International until next spring. We left Lake Hazen at 5:30 PM and headed for Grise Fiord with a refueling stop in Eureka. As we took off we had a fine view of the lake, Johns Island, Hazen Camp (a site on the north shore used by various scientific parties since 1957, when it was established by the Defence Research Board for research during the International Geophysical Year) and Henrietta Nesmith Glacier. We flew over Tanquary Fiord and Greely Fiord on our way to Eureka, where we landed an hour and three quarters later. Our stop was brief, just half an hour. Some of the group went down to the weather station to buy souvenirs, including T-shirts and hats. We took off after refueling and arrived in Grise Fiord at 10:30 PM (11:30 PM local time). John, Matt, Peter and Debbie headed on to Resolute. Some of us went by truck while others walked down to the community From the airstrip. The Grise Fiord Lodge, a hotel which has accommodations for 14 and which is run by the local Inuit co-operative, was to be our home until Friday. On arrival at the lodge, we had coffee with the Manager of the Co-op and his wife, Cecil and Pam Tucker. Pam showed everyone their rooms and we were informed about the community water shortage; we were asked to conserve water as much as possible and to space out showers. Because we were late and Cecil had not known exactly when we were coming until a couple of hours before our arrival, due to a breakdown in radio communications, we made our own supper of fried eggs and toast. Shortly after supper everyone retired to their rooms to get unpacked and go to bed.

Thursday, April 25th, 1985 (Log Day 8)

In the morning after breakfast, some members of the group wandered through the village on their own. After talking to Cecil about the possibility of sightseeing trips for the afternoon, I took several members of the group on a guided tour of the village. Otto Sverdrup, the Norwegian who explored much of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, in 1901-2 named the fiord; it was settled in 1953 by Inuit from Hudson Bay and Baffin Island. Grise Fiord, with a population of about 100 people, is Canada's northern-most community and the main occupation is subsistence hunting. After looking over the two small igloos that had been built behind the village as part of a contest held recently, we returned to the lodge for lunch. At 1:00 PM the Co-op store opened and everyone went shopping for souvenirs. At 2:00 PM, four skidoos with komatiks (sleds) pulled up in front of the lodge. We were going on a 5 mile-ride across the fiord to the place where the first two Inuit families to come to Grise Fiord had settled.

It was a chilly and bumpy ride but most people enjoyed it on the sleds; a couple of people rode behind the drivers on the back of the skidoos. When we arrived at the location, we left the skidoos and sleds on the sea ice and walked to the site where two abandoned wooden buildings stood, and where nearby there were several Thule house depressions from a much earlier occupation of the site. We looked around and photographed the various features before heading back to the skidoos for a "mug-up" which consisted of hot tea made from snow boiled on Coleman stoves, and bannock, a type of fried bread. We lingered for a while; it was a beautiful day with sunshine and relatively mild temperatures (about 15 degrees below zero Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit)). When we arrived back at the village it was time for dinner. There was one other guest in the lodge at this point, a nurse by the name of Nada Peknick, a Canadian living in upstate New York. She had also been on a tour of the North Pole and had stayed on in Grise Fiord to go on a dog sled trip to the floe edge east of Grise. That evening, two of the sled drivers, Elijah and Tookillkee, built us an igloo about halfway between the village and the airstrip. We all went down about 7:00 PM to the place where they had found suitable snow and had cut the blocks. It took about an hour and a quarter to build. Frances counted as they worked and she said they used 63 blocks for an igloo that would comfortably accommodate 4 to 5 people. The igloo floor was covered with caribou skins and Bob Antol, Bob Kaller, and Van carried foam mattresses and sleeping bags from the lodge to place inside. About 11:00 PM they headed off to the igloo with enough brandy to stave off the cold. Everyone else had decided to forego the experience of "a night in an igloo" for the comfort of their beds in the lodge. About 1:00 AM, the Twin Otter with John and Matt and three government people arrived in Grise. Tomorrow morning they would fly out again with a load of school kids on their way to Barry, Ontario on an educational exchange, before coming back to pick us up and take us to Resolute.

Friday, April 26th, 1985 (Log Day 9)

It was a magnificent day with sunshine and a temperature of 10 degrees below zero Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). After breakfast, there was a slide lecture on the natural history of the Arctic. Following this, people packed their gear for the trip back to Resolute and then a number toured the village one last time. We had our lunch and loaded our gear on the back of the pickup for transport to the airstrip. Most of the group walked up to the runway, taking pictures en route of the scenery and the igloo which the local children had not yet converted to a play house. The Otter arrived about 1:30 PM and we were off at 2:00 PM local time, headed for the Magnetic Pole. The flight took roughly 2 hours. Matt had called Ottawa that morning for the exact location of the Magnetic Pole. The coordinates were 77 degrees 07 minutes North and 101 degrees 55 minutes West, which placed the Pole on the sea ice off the northern coast of Bathurst Island. We arrived at 4:15 PM Grise Fiord time. The sea ice was quite rough and our landing was a little bumpy, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. There were no open leads or large pressure ridges; in general, the ice was quite different from that of the permanent Polar pack. We were now in an area frequented by polar bears and the temperature was 15 degrees below zero Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) with a strong wind, therefore we did not wander too far from the aircraft nor did we stay long (about 20 minutes). We took the usual group photographs and pictures of John and Matt before climbing back aboard the aircraft. En route to Resolute, we flew over Polaris mine, a lead and zinc mining operation and the most northerly mine in the world; the ore is concentrated in a large barge which was built in Montreal, towed to Little Cornwallis Island and sunk to freeze into the beach; the concentrated ore is shipped out in the late summer when there is open water. We arrived back in Resolute about 5:00 PM local time.

It was warmer than when we had left Resolute, with a temperature of 20 degrees below zero Celsius (5 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) and no wind. Bezal and Peter trucked us to the Narwhal where we had dinner, followed by a short slide lecture on the search for the Northwest Passage. At 9:00 PM Bezal took us to his house in the village to hear two Inuit women, a lady by the name of Minnie and her daughter, throat-sing. A throat-song or katadjait is a wordless duet based on the sounds of northern nature. After the ladies finished, Minnie began to play a jaw or jew's harp. The jaw harp is a relatively recent Inuit instrument, replacing the traditional use of goose feathers to clay such tunes. Throughout the trip, Bob Burns had entertained us with his jew's harp, and he joined Minnie in a couple of duets.

A good time was had by all. After the Inuit ladies left, we had some cheer with Bezal and Terry and Tom proposed a toast to both of them for their hospitality. We left for the Narwhal at 11:00 PM and decided that with tomorrow's hectic schedule it would be best to drink the rest of our champagne that night. So we sat in the dining room toasting and drinking for an hour or so. Then we bid one another a good night. Tonight would be the last night that the sun would set in Resolute until the end of the summer.

Saturday, April 27th, 1985 (Log Day 10)

First thing this morning we packed for the flight south. At 10:00 AM Bezal and Peter picked us up. It was 20 degrees below zero Celsius (5 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) with sunshine and no wind. They drove us to the top of the hill behind Resolute, to take pictures of the settlement and to look for fossils in the gravel that the wind had swept clean of snow. Next we drove down to the Inuit village to shop at the Co-op store for souvenirs and then we visited the Hudson's Bay store before returning to the Narwhal. We returned all our heavy clothing to Bezal before leaving the trucks, then headed into the inn for lunch. After eating, we hauled our gear from our rooms to the dining room where everything was ticketed for the baggage check. Bezal and Peter picked us up one last time and drove us to the airport, where we said our fond farewells to Debbie, Peter, Bezal and the pilots, John and Matt. Terry was flying with us to Edmonton to attend a tourism convention. Earl said good-bye to all of us on the tarmac; he was staying on for his bear hunt. We left Resolute at 1:48 PM.

Wendy, our stewardess on the way up, was with us again and took very good care of us in terms of meals and liquid refreshments. In an hour and a half we were in Cambridge Bay where we had a brief station stop, and a few of us got off the plane and visited the gift counter in the airport. Our next stop was in Yellowknife, where again a few of us left the plane to stretch our legs. We arrived in Edmonton at 7:05 PM Resolute time. It was a warm 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). The two Yellow vans were there to meet us, and after checking a few flight arrangements for Sunday and collecting our baggage, we departed for the hotel. In the hotel lobby, I explained that daylight-saving-time started tomorrow (so that no one would miss their flight), informed people about the likelihood of an Air Canada strike in the morning, reminded them about hotel arrangements and then seven of us agreed to meet for dinner at the Japanese Village across the street at 9:00 PM. We bid good-bye to those who were retiring early and whom we would not see in the morning. The seven of us who went to the Japanese Village had a marvelous time, and when we arrived back at the hotel afterwards there was another round of good-byes. It was off to pack for the trip home tomorrow, and then to bed.

Sunday, April 28th, 1985 (Log Day 11)

A number of us had early morning flights. Bob Antol, Elsieanna, Frances, and myself left the hotel at 5:30 AM on the Airporter bus. We met William Savy at the airport. The Air Canada ticket agent strike was on, but we got there early enough that it did not affect our checking in. The rest of the group had various flights to catch later in the day, so the five of us said good-bye and boarded our respective flights for home.

On the way back from Resolute, I had asked people to rank the highlights of the trip. For most, reaching the North Pole was the most exciting aspect of the journey. For those who slept in the igloo, this ranked high. Everyone who went to Fort Conger agreed that it was fabulous, and the whole group enjoyed the silence and the beauty of Lake Hazen. We were very fortunate with weather and were able to do a great deal, so I believe that all went home tired but satisfied that their expectations had been met. On parting in Edmonton, we agreed to have a reunion at the Pole a decade hence.

The End

copyright (c) 1985 Patricia Sutherland

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