Day 26: Pickle

This day was quite uneventful. I had a few options to go south: I could fly to Nakina, which I visited on my way up, or I could be adventurous and visit Pickle Lake. Pickle Lake was a bit longer flying, which meant that I would safe some time the next day, when I was hoping to meet my Canadian benefactor. I should have enough fuel to cover the distance. My lovely hosts executed their last friendly action and found me a hotel room in Pickle Lake. It was rather pricey since it was apparently a very popular holiday spot during weekends. Continue reading

Day 25: Polar Bears

I was enjoying my late breakfast, when my hosts greeted me very enthusiastically and told me to drop everything and get into the car. A polar bear was spotted in town! Soon, half a dozen cars were closing in on the source of the shot gun noise, like a swarm of bees attracted to your fresh summer cocktail. Our cocktail started to move and in true Hollywood style we started the pursuit. We were rewarded with a glimpse of a polar bear, trying to escape all the hussle while swimming (!) away in the Hudson Bay. A good start for the day, but I wanted more. Continue reading

Day 24: Revisiting ‘Old’ Friends

The day started with a lot of clouds gathering over Cambridge Bay. I returned the ATV to its rightful owner and got picked up by the aforementioned friendly pilot. It became soon very clear this would be my first IMC departure. From an uncontrolled airport without Radar coverage. Luckily the surrounding hills were almost flat which greatly improved the safety of said departure. Continue reading

Day 23: ATV Fishing

Today was a rainy day. Rain was very rare in Cambridge Bay: usually it snows, or it is dry. So in a way, I felt privileged to experience the Rare Rain. It was time to have some fun on the ground. What better way than exploring the surroundings of Cambridge Bay by ATV (or a quad as we Belgians use to call it).
I found a friendly ATV renter (who found it hard to believe I was a tourist and not connected to a company). The first stop was the tourist center (yes, it exists!) in Cambridge Bay. There I got a paper that said I was an Arctic explorer, since I crossed the 60° latitude. Woohoo!
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Day 22: The Crash

I woke up with a very big smile on my face. I removed the improvised iron plate (that served as a curtain) from the window and saw a nice blue sky with some layered clouds. During my strong breakfast, Aziz told the cook to prepare some sandwiches for my flight. It was going to be a rather short flight, only 4 hours of flight time was expected. The fuel handler in Cambridge Bay (CYCB) was informed of my arrival, the plane was repaired, the bill for my rather long stay in Resolute Bay was settled with Aziz the day before. Continue reading

Day 21: Repair ?

The first thing I did this morning, was contacting the mechanics. The part arrived late in the evening the day before, and they could clear their schedule to install the part. My enthusiasm levels rose again while I rushed to the airport. When I arrived at the airport, they were already working on the plane. Half an hour later the part was installed and it was time to test it! I looked for the keys of the airplane (I didn’t have to use them for quite a while now) and put them in the ignition. A thumbs up from the mechanic and the battery switch was on. As I did countless times the past few weeks, I pushed in the mixture, primed the plane and with a very nervous gesture engaged the starter. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happened. All the enthusiasm I gained that morning was drained away as quick as a horny polar bear. Continue reading

Day 20: Company

This morning started off a bit better as before. A group of adventurous people, who went on a 2 week hiking trip in the North of Canada, arrived in the hotel the previous evening. And today they had some time to kill before getting on their flight back. We spend our time chatting about the beauty of the Arctic area while walking towards the camp side and the numerous plane wrecks. We passed some old rusty vehicles that looked like the babies of a car and a snow mobile. Although the outside appeared very old and about to collapse, it actually had a new engine, which gave us the impression it was still being used – when there is snow of course. Continue reading

Day 19: To Repair or not to Repair

This morning, Aziz informed me a spare part that might fit arrived by plane. This little chance of getting airborne again made me optimistic. I walked over to the airport (about 7km, nothing else to do) and looked up the mechanics. They informed me they wouldn’t/couldn’t install the part, since apparently it wasn’t an official airplane part. Great. They were however very helpful again and made some calls. They contacted the mechanic of the owner of the plane and started looking for possible part numbers that would fit. Next, they looked for said parts. In the end, they found a salesman in Canada who had the required part and was willing to deliver it by himself at the airport, to make absolutely sure that the part would leave that day on the first First Air flight to Resolute Bay. The part was scheduled to arrive on Saturday. This time, the estimate looked a lot more believable. Continue reading

Day 17: The Big Wait

Not a lot happened today. In the morning I tried to get in touch with the owner of the airplane again to check on the status of the part. I got a shipment code that allowed me to track the package online. From now on, every half an hour I would log in on the website to check the tracking status. I also contacted some other pilots and people that might have connections to get that damn relay up here.
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