14/12/2011

Alert, Nunavut


My first day on the ground was a blur. We left Thule at 0800hrs and I quickly fell asleep on the brief 1.5hr flight to Alert. The hum of the planes propellers quickly lulled me off into a deep sleep. As we landed, the plane caused a vast cloud of snow and ice crystals to be blown into the air and they hung there, looming, in the arctic inversion. Stepping off the C130J, I took a deep breath as every fibre in my body froze - including my nose and said "hello" to my new home;

Alert.

I have been told that Alert is known to the Inuit people as "Inuit Nunangata Ungata" which means "The land beyond the land of the people". This doesn't surprise me because it was said that "it is easier to rescue people from the international space station than Alert in the winter". Comforting. I shuddered during my safety brief as they explained the dangers of exposure to the elements (right now it is a bone chilling -37 degrees Celsius) and the animals that are native to this area (polar bears, wolves, etc). The newly familiar feeling of my heart pounding in my throat happened as I came to the realization that I would be alone, 3kms away from the rest of the station, in the dark.

Going to work today for me, was a blessing. The beautiful thing about the weather is it is everywhere. The principles and the theory are the same and comforting. I say it's comforting in a sense because although I am thousands of miles away from real civilization, I am home here in my little office, learning more through experience about what fascinates me so much.

As I write, ice crystals are falling from a clear sky and coating the world in tiny sparkles that gleam in the days perpetual darkness. I take a large breath of chilly arctic air and close my eyes, it's wonderful.

8 comments:

  1. Already your pictures are seriously cool. The red glow in the first pic looks amazing - the reflection of lights on icy snow I presume?

    You are 3 km away from the other station? Seriously? Wow. Card 1 is on its way, but expect many more!

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  2. Please don't get eaten by wolves or bears. ;-) 3kms? Do you get to drive one of those trucks with tank tracks for wheels?

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  3. I must echo Rebecca's comment, that first photo is really amazing. There is beauty everywhere, keep finding it.

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  4. I feel like I am reading a novel. Keep it coming I am getting lost in your words. Beautiful. Love Mom xoxoxoxo

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  5. Love the posts! Keep up the great work! Alert is a magical place to be...enjoy your time! It will all end so soon! Richard

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  6. Alert received it's most beautiful addition today. Be safe....package #1 en route!
    Your pics are stunning and your writing, no words to describe. HUGS

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  7. Omg how wonderful to see and learn about a place only very few of us will be able to see..keep up the great reports love it

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  8. Have you been to the initiation yet?

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