In one week, myself and a crew of scientists, technicians, and salt-of-the-earth true-blue sailors will be hurdling through house-sized blocks of ice aboard the CCGS Amundsen. Out of habit (i.e.), I will keep all of you in the loop, live through all of the stomach-wrenching goodness of sea-going travel and oceanographic research.
Our journey begins in Quebec City. There, we will accompany the ship’s crew change via government charter flight to Inuvik. Upon arrival, it’s a hop-skip-and-a-jump to the coastal town of Tuktoyaktuk, followed by a short helicopter commute to the ice breaker. Once we settle in and set-up our lab space within the “Rad Van” (i.e. a cargo shipping container dedicated to research using radioactive tracers), our 14-day expedition begins: a transect along the Mackenzie River Delta to the Canada Basin to 77ºN:
Compared to previous research cruises I’ve participated in, this should prove to be relatively smooth sailing – I won’t have to suffer through 6m swells, nor will I be flung from my mattress or the shower in the middle of the night. The blanket of ice that forms each winter atop the sea surface prevents the overlying winds from kicking up a mess, creating relatively stable seas. However, the time saved hugging the porcelain throne will be spent eating, sleeping, shitting, and working. To avoid spoiling the fun, I’ll ask you to wait for my next post before spilling an more details (and photos).