Leaving Jackson H0le is never easy, but we are off for another adventure. Last summer, we traveled 24,000 statute miles and Jack and Josh received their "Circumnavigator's Diploma" one year later. Today begins the process of earning the Polar Circumnavigator's Diploma...presuming they get clearance to land in Antarctica, but that won't happen until January, 2017.
We refueled in Saskatoon and got our group shot, since it was dark when we left Jackson. The plane is loaded with immersion suits for six, a life raft, personal locator beacons and lots of food. Giuseppe Caltabiano was co-pilot for the first leg and the other passengers are Becky and Josh Marvil, co-pilot, and Richard Holt.
We landed in Iqaluit at 5:00 local time and made a quick trek through town, admiring 15 foot tall soap stone sculptures and colorful painted metal buildings.
There is a new commercial airport terminal building under construction in this booming town of 6,000, located north of Hudson Bay. It is concrete and steel, but more typical construction is metal or plastic. There is a very short building window in the brief northern summer. Even the port-o-pots are wrapped against the cold.
Becky and I soon peeled off to look for birds. We wandered along the littered bay at low tide, and only saw a couple of ravens and a flock of snow buntings, but I did see this sweet wildflower: dwarf fire weed.
Dinner at our hotel, Discover Lodge, was fantastic - everyone ordered either halibut or Arctic char...all caught fifty miles north of Iqualuit.
Tomorrow we fly across the northern Atlantic with a quick fuel stop in Reykjavic, Iceland, before landing in Newcastle, England.