Sunday, April 28th, 1985 (Day 11)

Coming Home

Bob Burns has been kind enough to give me a roll of film (roll #13). I finished off my last shot on my last roll. I have finished taking pictures. I think I have about 400+ pictures.

Bezal picked us up at 10:00 AM but we did not go to the weather station. We turned in all of our arctic gear and drove to a hill looking for fossils. I found some crinoids - I was so excited. A funny comment came from Elsieanna. When Bezal was bent down on top of the hill looking at the ground, Elsieanna said, "Oh look. Bezal must be looking for seals." Pat told her that he was only looking for fossils and the water was miles away.

I think Elsieanna had senility set in during this trip. There was much deterioration in her mental well being.

We came back to the "Resolute Hotel" and had a farewell luncheon. It was tasty as usual. Dan Harris makes fabulous tomato soup.

We then boarded Bezal's vans and headed out to the airport. The cook, Debbie, and the pilots, Matt and John, came down to say good-bye. It was very nice of them to do that.

We had an ordinary flight from Resolute to Cambridge Bay to Yellowknife to Edmonton. Our Yellow Cab Vans were waiting for us to take us back to the Westin.

Now a slight problem developed. Resolute was 1 hour ahead of Edmonton. Edmonton was going to change all of their clocks up one hour due to day lights saving time. Therefore, there was a canceling action that took affect so you didn't have to touch your watch. Some of the old people on this trip couldn't get that through there thick heads. What can you do - you try to explain it to them. Oh well, maybe they will all miss their flights home.

But the fun was just beginning. We arrived at the Westin at 8:30 PM Resolute time. Pat asked who wanted to go out to eat a Japanese dinner. There were 7 of us who wanted to go. Great, then we were to meet in the lobby at 10:00 PM Resolute time.

We went to the front desk to get the luggage they were holding for us. I presented my ticket stub and even pointed out my bag. I checked into room #1248 and waited. And waited and waited and waited. I was getting pissed. This hotel has been nothing but a pain in the ass. So I called the bellman. I explained my problem to him. He said my bag was on the way. So I waited some more. Finally, I got up to go down there and give him a piece of my mind and carry my own stored luggage. Well they were lucky because the little Chinese bellman was just coming down the hall. No tip for him.

I was actually quite lucky as I found out later. Tom Largen was waiting for his bag because his razor was in it and he wanted to shave. He finally went down to the lobby and saw the "bellman sitting on his fat ass with the luggage in the middle of the lobby". Tom was furious. Frances didn't get her bag delivered. They lost it in the short time of 1 hour. We were all pissed. It turned out that the little idiot bellman who couldn't speak English put her bag in Van's room. And Van was out visiting an Indian temple.

In any event, Frances got her baggage back at 10:00 PM Resolute Bay time and we decided to go out to dinner. There were supposed to be 7 of us who wanted to eat. In the lobby was Bob Burns, Pat Sutherland, Tom Largen, Frances Rogers and myself. We didn't know where Bob Kaller and Van were. Well, it was time to eat so we walked to the restaurant.

We had reservations for 7 people at 9:00 PM to be eaten in the traditional Japanese style. When we arrived, the little guy said he had no room so he would send us upstairs for a regular Japanese dinner. When we got upstairs, we all said we had reservations for traditional so we wanted to go back downstairs and eat traditional. We were put in a waiting room instead. Well, Tom was still pissed because of his luggage so he went to the front desk and complained. We were immediately taken to where we wanted to eat. A half an hour later, Van and Bob finally joined us. The meal was good. Van then bought a round of drinks for all of us and all the people at the next table.

We had one more drink at the Westin and then all went to bed. I got 2 hours of sleep and got up at 4:00 AM.

And now for some more fun. Elsieanna and I had the same flight. Pat had a flight 5 minutes later. So we were all taking the same bus. Well, Frances decided she wanted to go to. When we arrived at the airport, which by the way was suffering from day number one of a ticket agents strike, Frances discovered that she was at the wrong airport! She should have been at the Municipal Airport, not the International Airport. She was mad at Pat. She yelled at the bus driver (like it was his fault). The bus driver gave her a reduced rate and drove her to the Municipal Airport.

From that point on, everything went smooth.

I have been carrying with me an Arctic willow tree that I picked up in Hazen. I have been hand carrying and babying this souvenir for thousands of miles. It will be good to finally get it home.

The high points of my trip were:

    The North Pole
    Sleeping out in the igloo
    Ice fishing at 1:30 AM in the morning
    The bombardier ride to the iceberg in Eureka
    The sled ride in Grise Fiord

Some additional comments. Passing through Canadian customs, I was still carrying my arctic willow tree when I heard the customs agent scream. She thought I was carrying a snake. I told her it was a piece of driftwood. She probably wouldn't have let me take it on board if she had known it was really a willow tree from the high Arctic. Then she asked me if I had anything to declare. I told her I had an Arctic fox skin. When she asked to see it, I told her it was in my luggage already loaded onto the plane. This freaked her out. I then showed her my export permit that I got from the Inuit that shot the fox. This calmed her down somewhat and she let me on the plane. Whew! It was close, but I made it (and so did my fox skin).

The flight from Toronto to New York was to have taken off at 2:40 PM. But the pilot detected a problem with a micro switch in the flap controls. They were operating successfully but there was no indication in the cockpit that they were working. How ironic. This entire trip to 90 degrees North was entirely by plane and the only airplane trouble that we had was on the last leg of this remarkable journey. We eventually left Toronto at 4:20 PM.

End of Polar Journal

copyright (c) 1985, 2000 Robert A. Antol

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