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Team heads to the Arctic to test satellite's accuracy

A short walk in Iqualit

Seymour Laxon

Seymour Laxon

Seymour Laxon

So finally the day came for our route to head north. A three hour flight from Ottawa with a breakfast which we hoped would not reflect local cuisine: cold toast with lashings of some sort of jam mixed in with a small sausage, and bacon which I do not believe originated from a pig.

Leaving the plane by the back door we all expected to be greeted by a cold Arctic blast since we already knew the temperature was a balmy -24 degrees C. Instead we were pleasantly surprised that, even without our proper Arctic clothing, it didn't actually feel that bad.

Heading into the very small terminal building (two gates) we all realised there really wasn't much there apart from a small shop and that another group of Brits had headed straight out the other side to find a café with which they were clearly familiar. (They later turned out to be the organisers of the race to the magnetic North Pole).

With nearly two hours to kill we found we had thoroughly explored all of the interesting aspects of the airport in about ten minutes, so all agreed that it would be a good idea to wander outside too. Though we didn't really need anything to eat (follow the hearty breakfast from earlier) we though we'd better not miss what might be the best café in the Arctic.

Katharine and Rosie at Resolute

Katharine and Rosie at Resolute.

After a few hundred yards, hats and gloves were donned and coats tightened, but we still felt OK so pressed on in search of the café, or any other features of interest. Alas the café was never found. We did however find a Tanning Salon (perhaps the most northerly in the world?) but by this time the thought of disrobing was certainly bottom of everyone's list so all agreed we should turn around. This time straight into the wind which none of us realised had been blowing from behind us on our outward journey.

I can't claim it was like Scott of the Antarctic but we all learned a good lesson about wind-chill and the need to wear proper gear up here. Fortunately we were back in the terminal within about five minutes, due to quick walking, and after some rubbing of hands and feet the fear that we might have got frostbite on our first outing receded.

Posted on 8 April 2011

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