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;
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.