Thursday, 3 April 2014

Arrival in Nord

26th March- Here's a pic with our host in Qaanaaq Hans Jensen as we were leaving to get on our flight to Station Nord:


We arrived up here in Nord (81.5N, 16.6W) after a really nice 3 hour flight in a Kenn Borek DC3. It was originally built in 1941 and took part in Operation Market Garden but the flight was very smooth, if a little noisy. Here's our Station Nord selfie:

Nord is a very interesting place! We had a guided tour from Tom, one of the more senior guys up here – he has been up here for 21 of his 26 month stint. There are only five guys based up here permanently but the base itself covers a fairly large area and includes 35 separate buildings – workshops, garages, stores, quarters, a mess, a bar, even a small but surprisingly well-equiped vet’s room to keep the camp’s two dogs in good health. One of the dogs is a retied Greenlandic sled dog and the younger one is a sled dog from the Danish military, and they’re absolutely great. Until a few years ago they had a sled team based here permanently but it was too costly to keep it going especially when skidoos will do the job. Here are the dogs snacking on some dried mackerel, and our dorm for our stay at Nord:

Today we have been checking through all the equipment and planning as we’re awaiting the arrival of the rest of the team in a Kenn Borek Twin Otter, hopefully sometime later this evening. There was a pause this afternoon however as we watched the arrival of a Danish C-130 Hercules containing a four star general, and then a huge Ukrainian aircraft landing. The Ukrainians are supplying Nord with fuel as well as new fuel tanks.

Then, depending on weather of course, the plan is to attempt to establish the camps tomorrow – first  our camp managers Marc Cornelissen and Petter Nyquist will be flown out to locate a suitable site, and begin setting up the tents and preparing the runway. Then later the science teams will be taken out onto the ice camps as well.  At least that is the plan – we’re running a little behind schedule (about a day) but if we get out tomorrow that will still be 5 nights camping on the ice.  

The sunsets are fantastic when you're so far north, because they last for absolutely hours. Here's a couple of pics from the first night in Nord:

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