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.

copyright (c) 1985 Patricia Sutherland

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URL: file - logDay9.html