Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Winter Woes in the Middle of Summer

If you have been wondering why there has been no movement on Roxy's tracker or many updates as to the onward journey North through Canada...then all will now be explained.

Norman departed the airport at Schefferville on Friday the 10th July after a short but pleasant night in this remote Iron-Ore mining town in the remote Canadian wilderness. It was due to be a long 5 hour flight further north to the Inuit named, Kuujjuaq, a small but busy community near the northernmost coastline of mainland Canada.
Norman, about to depart Schefferville

It turned out in the end to be a trouble free flight with good weather, plenty of blue sky and favorable winds that shortened the flight time considerably. The most noteworthy thing that Norman reported was the complete lack of human presence for the whole of the flight. Not another human being was spotted once between Schefferville and Kuujjuaq!
A hundred thousand lakes but not a single fisherman.
The trees are thinning out...a sure sign of nearing the frozen north

Norman arrived at Kuujjuaq and was greeted by a team from Air Inuit who had stepped in to look after Norman's arrival because the airport handlers had gone away on vacation! Air Inuit is what we would probably call a 'Bush Airline', flying smaller aircraft between the remote communities in Northern Canada. It does have larger jet airliners for use between the southern cities but up here in the widerness you are more likely to see a Twin Otter or King Air on the ramp, which was great for Norman and Roxy who fitted right in straight away.
Arriving at Kuujjuaq. The water on the right is the Koksoak River.

The guys at Air Inuit helped Norman find accommodation and joined him for dinner where the chat was all about flying small aircraft in these high latitudes. Norman had intended to spend a full day in Kuujjuaq to have a rest after two long and draining flights and also to give Roxy a quick check over before the flight over Ungava Bay and the Hudson Strait to Iqaluit on Baffin island, now more correctly called Nunavut. Iqaluit is not only the capital of Nunavut province but also possibly the last stop in North America before Norman and Roxy fly to Greenland. We say possibly the last stop but this is all down to weather, especially wind directions which may mean another stop further north in Nunavut.
But all plans for that next flight to Iqaluit came to a sudden halt the following morning when the weather reports from our contacts in Iqaluit showed any kind of arrival was out of the question due to a 200 ft ceiling and heavy rain. This was also bore out by the scene outside Norman's accommodation that morning...
Great weather for ducks but not for Gyro's
It then became an hourly vigil of the weather reports, both at Kuujjuaq and from Iqaluit...the Gyrox Team were poised to let the world know that Norman was flying again and Norman was ready to jump into his famous red suit and brave the elements...but, it never happened.
The weather remained bad in Kuujjuaq and actually got worse in Iqaluit with fast, freezing winds blowing straight into the path Roxy would take.
A wind map designed to halt any slow aircraft heading east.

But Norman has faced longer delays, many times in the past and instead of moping about decided to explore the world of the Inuit and the frozen (ok, muddy) north.
Norman selfie in Kuujjuaq main street...Note the sign in English and Inuit
On a trip to a supermarket, Norman was surprised to see how well stocked it was...including paddles and fully set up fishing rods stacked alongside the cold drinks and M&M's.
I'll have a Cola light, a bag of apples and a paddle please :-)
More strange sights greeted Norman as he made his way around the community...
Not many trees this far north so maybe it's an Inuit Totem made out of local stone?

Not much snow yet but sledges and Skiddoos are everywhere...

Local churches are designed to cope with the weather and not to look pretty.
Large pieces of machinery abounded...with no obvious idea of what they are used for.
Being a remote community, everything has to come in by air or sea. Norman was amazed that the fuel storage center gets one delivery a year and it arrives by sea.
Kuujjuaq's fuel terminal
So, what happens next? We can say that Norman is being magnificently looked after by his new buddies from Air Inuit and it is now a waiting game, not only to see how the weather improves at Kuujjuaq, but also to make sure it improves for all the upcoming legs of this historic journey.
We will of course keep you all updated as we get the latest news...

The Gyrox team

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1 comment:

  1. Enjoy your stay, never mind the rain.
    As we say here, tomorrow is another new day.