The countdown before the ultimate lift off has begun. Six team mates. Five airplane take-offs and landings. Four pieces of luggage each. Three different nationalities. Two days of travelling. One unifying goal.
The Nunataryuk WP4 Coastal Waters team has finally started the first expedition in a series of four over the next six months.
The team members are filled with zeal as they tear apart and piece back together the giant 10-skid 3D box puzzle in the loading bay of the Aurora Research Institute (ARI). With the invaluable help of Edwin Amos from ARI, Good Friday is spent gathering the material, double-checking it, and asking many - many - questions. Saturday morning, under the fall of fluffy snow, our team grows larger as Inuvik HTC member, Miles Dillon, joins us.
Part of the team sets off that day for a mock station in a bend of the Mackenzie River near the house of Miles’ uncle, right off the ice road. There the team will practice ice drilling, ice coring, water collection and deployment of optical sensors, as well as sediment coring in preparation for the first sampling day planned for Easter Monday.
Meanwhile, back at ARI, another part of the team sets up the laboratory spaces with numerous filtration systems and instruments (spectrophotometer, fluorometer, ultrapath). The lab team even creates a dark room in the clean lab for some of the light-sensitive variables being measured.
On Sunday, we meet with Great Slave Helicopters pilot, Connor Gould, who shows us the AStar that will take our field team to the Western sector of the Mackenzie Delta in the coming days.
It’s now Sunday evening, the eve of the ultimate lift off, and the anticipation grows in the Nunataryuk squad. As we devour the last bits of our Easter chocolate we are hopeful that a running streak of sunny days will help us achieve our scientific goals.