The alarm went off at 4:15 AM. I awoke to a snowstorm. Just great, I said. I just hope the plane will be able to take off. I made a 4:30 AM phone call to Nigel Larn just to make sure he was awake. Nigel is a Roman Catholic priest that is traveling to the pole with us. He is from London and is an absolutely charming man.
We were all supposed to meet in the lobby and be all checked out and ready to go at 5:30 AM. One gentleman, Will Savy, from Geneva, Switzerland was not quite ready. So we decided to leave him behind so he could catch a taxi to the airport.
We all eventually met back at the airport. There was mass confusion at this point in time. I will try to recall all that happened.
First, the van driver put all of the luggage on the area to be tagged for the cargo hold - including carry-on luggage. Our leader told the airline official to stop the conveyor so she could get her hand luggage off. When we finally got all of the luggage straightened out, we were handed 13 boarding passes for 14 people. We didn't discover this until all of the boarding passes were handed out. So we had to quibble with the airline official to give us an extra boarding pass.
Finally our group was ready to pass through security. But wait, we were missing two people! Pat was up in arms. I told her that everybody was over 18 years old and if they missed the plane, then it was their own fault. The two missing persons finally showed up.
From there, we simply boarded the plane and got ready to fly to Yellowknife and then onto Resolute Bay.
And now, I will relate the first time I was scared on this trip. We were to fly out of Edmonton to Resolute in a 737. Now study the picture.
There was a heavy snowstorm. We were boarding a 737. We were warned to watch our step as we ascended the back stairs of the plane because of the de-icing fluid was becoming slippery. All I could think of was Air Florida Flight 90 and Washington, D.C. and wind shear.
When we started to accelerate down the runway for take off, my heart started to pound. I could hear it in my ears. We left the ground. 100 feet up and the plane took a drop. All of this was perfectly natural and I am sure my excited condition caused this emotional over reaction. There were no problems with the flight at all.
We stopped in Yellowknife for a very brief time. It is very beautiful up here.