A few final snapshots

It has presently been one month since I have left Alert. With copious amounts of administration to tackle, I haven't been able to post nearly as many of the photographs that I would have liked to by this point in time. Now that things have settled at work and I am slowly easing back into my "down south" routine, I will likely be able to post some of the photos and stories from my remaining few weeks at CFS Alert. I would like to thank everyone who has followed along thus far and I hope that it continues to prove an interesting read once I have completed all the posts that I would like to complete!



The Wooly Bear

      As the spring months move into summer in more "southern" regions, Alert is feeling the effects of the annual summer melt. When May turns to June, we move from the shoulder season into the summer season, meaning the temperature stayed above 0° for 24 hours, even still it rests at a damp and chilly 2°C. Although this week it was dipping back and fourth below 0°, we're still considered in the Summer Season. As I walk down the roads, water pours over the rocks in the culvert as the winters icy blanket is stripped from the rocky surface beneath.

     Everything is to the extreme here. Snow bank water falls descend over sharp shale pieces that litter the ground and the thick mud is almost unbearable. We wear "over boots" which basically protect your foot wear and eliminate tracking so much muck inside... absolutely required.

     On my adventure into the mist this weekend, a friend and I walked into the shadows of the fog a few kilometres away from station. While searching for some interesting mineral specimens I found something much better in my opinion... a caterpillar!  

     Not just any caterpillar though, a "Wooly Bear" caterpillar or more scientifically known as "Gynaephora groenlandica". It will grow into a moth found within the Arctic circle, in Greenland and Canada. It is best known for its very slow rate of development. In the past, it was estimated that it had a fourteen year life cycle from egg to adult moth. In it's caterpillar state, it has the ability to withstand temperatures below -60°C! The larvae degrade their mitochondria in preparation for overwintering and re-synthesize them in the spring, and each instar of the caterpillar takes about a year. Subsequent studies have revised the life-cycle duration to 7 yearsThe Arctic woolly-bear caterpillars are unique in their combination of fascinating adaptations to the polar extremes. They spend nearly 90% of their life frozen and only about 5% feeding on the tundra during the month of June; the remainder is spent in summer aestivation within hibernacula (protective cocoons).

Although the landscape is barren, life slowly is beginning to creep further and further north into Alert. Little wildlife lesson of the day :) 


Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back

This past weekend (May 19th into the 20th) we celebrated the first annual Canadian Cancer Societies "Relay For Life" in Alert. It was the first of it's kind for the station and as well for Canada's largest territory, Nunavut! It was the northernmost relay in the world and we had a blast! Here's a sneak peak into what went down :) 

Meet Erik. He's the Environment Canada type and he volunteered his burly beard and hair for a great cause. 

 Mid way through I gave it the "Kristy Doyle stamp of approval"! 

Meet Max. He's the Canadian Base Operators type and he volunteered his #1 asset to getting the ladies for this honourable cause as well! We got one last grope in there before it was buzzed off by yours truly!  

The bald and the beautiful and together they raised over $500 for the cause :) 

Before the opening ceremony, guests take time to write "in memory of" and "in honour of" luminaries for those who have suffered and are currently battling cancer. 


Almost the entire station (approx 70 personnel), military, civilian and visitors alike came to take part in the opening ceremonies. 

Due to the nature of our location, the majority of our fundraising came from more "southern" donors. To keep them a part of our ceremony, anyone who donated on-line got a "Thank You" heart to put on our wall of fame. We really appreciated all of your support! 

The dryness of the air eliminates the ability to use the traditional tea lights in our luminaries (fire hazard) therefore, for a safer option, we used glow sticks to light our luminaries prior to a moment of silence. 

The inaugural lap of our relay was 1km outside in the -20°C air! Spirits were high and it was amazing to see everyone out together. 

Bonnie and me :) 

Laps around our indoor and outdoor track continued for the entire night. Throughout the evening, people who weren't even on the team came to join us by walking and keeping spirits raised. 

Miss you xo 

Some yummy treats courtesy of :

Team Orange Smiles. 

Meet MWO Jim Britt. Jim is our stations construction and engineering officer (SCEO). Jim was our guest of honour for the relay as he has been cancer free since October of 2004! Participating in the survivors victory lap he did not only walk, but ran! With a goal to walk a kilometre for every year of his life (57), MWO Britt not only accomplished this but also 3km more!

As a team we completed 916kms over the duration of the night and raised $9, 000! Personally, I finished 41kms! In the words of Casey Lessard "Cancer knows no boundaries" which was reflected in the emotions shown in the isolation of the Canadian Arctic. A very intimate and moving experience, it was yet another memory in Alert that will last me a lifetime. 


Relay for Life, Alert

As most of you know my name is Kristy Doyle. I am a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and I am currently stationed at CFS (Canadian Forces Station) Alert in Alert, Nunavut. CFS Alert is located on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island and is the most northern permanently inhabited station in the entire world located at 82°28’N 62°30’W.

Throughout my childhood years I was influenced by the military in many ways, particularly because my father and my grandfather were serving and retired members of the RCAF. I was able to see the majority of Canada while I growing up and was inspired by the pair to join myself in 2009.

In early 2010 my grandfather, Ernie Spencer, was diagnosed with colon cancer. My grandfather was the first person in my inner circle to be effected by cancer but one of many in my extended family. Regretfully, in early August of 2010, while I was enrolled in the Canadian Forces School of Meteorology, my grandfather passed away.

The Canadian Cancer Society and the Relay for Life events have been close to my families hearts for many years. My grandfather, while living in British Colombia, volunteered to be a driver for patients between treatments and home and as a family we would participate in Relay for Life events together. It was his generous and kind heart that lead me to the Canadian Cancer Society and he was truly my role model.

In 2011 as the Relay for Life events drew closer and closer, I realized I would not be emotionally ready to participate at that time. When the event came and passed in my community, I was disappointed in myself for not participating in the ceremony, as I know that is what he would have wanted me to do. On that day I promised myself I would participate the following year.

In December of 2011 I was deployed to CFS Alert. As the winter months rolled into Spring I was wondering when we would participate in Relay for Life, an event the military is highly supportive of and involved with. To my surprise there was nothing in the works to happen. I spoke with my chain of command and requested that I initiate the Relay for Life in Alert, which is a lodger unit of CFB Trenton and have our relay be listed as a partner with them. With help from the Ontario coordinator Becky Mitts, I was able to begin to plan and prepare for the worlds most northerly Relay for Life.

When I began “Team Alert” I had the option to select what our team would consist of; family, friends, coworkers or other. I pondered at this for a moment because in Alert, with an average population of about 70 personnel, it seemed all would and does apply here. A very enthusiastic team, we began fundraising with little expectation and within the first week of setting up our online donation website, we surpassed the initial goal of $1200. Since that week we have had to raise our goal four times… and counting!

Relay for Life to me, is more than just a fundraiser. It shows a definite link in humanity when optimistic people unite together to reach a common goal. At CFS Alert, in complete isolation, we have made a connection through this campaign, whose ripples have reached much further shores than I could have ever imagined. With this being the first relay in Nunavut, I have spoke with others living in larger communities who are interested in participating for next year. Again, this shows the connection that cancer has on humans, connecting even those from the most isolated communities in our vast country.

Our Relay for Life will be held on the 19th of May into the 20th and we will be doing laps outside in the chilly air of the Canadian Arctic. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me in initiating this event as well as those participating and hope that its effects continue to linger in Alert and it becomes a tradition. I know my grandfather would be so excited about this event and so for me; it has been a way to connect us together once again. 
If you still wish to pledge on my behalf you can do so: HERE!

Crystal Mountain

Crystal and Pullen Mountain