Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Final flying day- quite productive!

Well, today was our last day to get out and service our stations
(we are scheduled to fly home tomorrow), so we pulled out all the
stops.  Weather looked great so we took off at 8:30, slightly
behind our planned launch of 8:00.  Again we went as two teams of
two, to maximize our ability to hit all of the sites we wanted.

After hitting several sites, I got a call from Lauren on the
satellite phone; Daniel (our pilot) had a report of bad visibility
in Ilulissat, compromising our ability to get home.  Fortunately,
the weather where we were was just fine.  But not being able to
get hoem might make anyone nervous, and so as soon as Lauren and
Claudia were done with their station, they all flew to us.

The weather in Ilulissat wasn't improving much, leaving us the
very real possibility that we'd have to spend the night out
someplace with the helicopter.  So Daniel's new plan was to call
the weather office every ten minutes, and then make a break for
town if there seemed to be a break in the weather.  We redoubled
our efforts to finish servicing this station before we had to jump
into the helicopter.  We finished just moments after Daniel called
for us to go- success!

Today we were flying in an Astar, and since we'd left town as two
teams of two, we didn't have enough room for everyone with all of
our gear.  So rather than leave two of us out to get stuck (Daniel
was certain that he wouldn't fly again today), we had to leave
some gear behind:

Fortunately we got the most valuable gear into the helicopter, and
that which we left behind can be collected in September, at the
very latest, when the crew arrives to actually remove the station
and bring all of our gear home.

The flight home was, shall we say, "interesting" at times.  The
visibility was poor in the fog, so we followed the shoreline once
we got to the coast, flying low so that we could actually see the
ground.  But at the end of the day, all the people were back, and
we'd finished 95% of our science objectives for this trip- not bad
at all!


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