Archive for April, 2008

World of Ice and Snow

I finally gave up on BH to download his Operation Nunalivut ’08 pictures from the camera and did it myself this morning. No doubt that was his plan all along. 😉

Just to give you an idea of how overwhelming the ice and snow are waaaay up north…do you see the long dark blur in the first picture that is just above the farthest right powerpole? That’s a bit of an iceberg poking up out of the snow and ice. In the next picture, BH’s buddies have parked their snowmobiles in front of it and they are now the blurs!

Ellesmere IslandIceberg - Ellesmere Island

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And so it goes…

PussywillowsMy life at the moment consists of a completely insane “to do” list. It seems to me though that it’s much the same every spring, so I shall accept it without fuss. And yes, it’s spring here. Even the pussywillows tell me so. 🙂

I love pussywillows. As well as being a harbinger of spring, they bring back fond memories of playing at the creek and collecting them for vases for my mom and gramy.

What tells you spring has finally sprung?

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Welcome Back Winter!

I knew it, I just knew it. I went and brought out the girls’ rubber boots and look what happened:

Warnings: Yellowknife Region: 3:32 PM MDT Wednesday 16 April 2008

Winter storm warning for Yellowknife Region upgraded from winter storm watch.

Heavy snow and blowing snow are forecast for Thursday.

This is a warning that dangerous winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.

An intense pacific low pressure system will move into the Great Slave area Thursday. Heavy snowfall amounts of 10 to 20 centimetres are expected with this system. Current indications show that the heaviest snow will fall to the south of Great Slave lake. In addition to the heavy snow strong northerly winds will develop behind the low with peak winds reaching 50 to 80 km/h. These strong winds combined with the fresh snow may produce blizzard conditions near Great Slave lake. Snowfall amounts in Yellowknife are expected to be near 10 centimetres with possible blowing snow developing late Thursday.

Wouldn’t you know it, BH is weathered in way up north too and won’t be home until this system moves on. 😦

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Operation Nunalivut ’08

BH has been away for the last few weeks on a sovereignty and science patrol in the High Arctic. He’s due home tomorrow and I’m sure he’ll have taken tons of pictures, so I’ll be sure to share some, but until then these will have to suffice…

Operation Nunalivut ’08

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Why do little girls scream?

I’ll just let you know, it’s late and I’ve had little sleep these past few days and so I’m teetering on the edge of delirium. If this post goes sideways, you’ll at least know why!

This week we had visitors — three little girls who stayed for 5 days (ages 3, 7 and 9). These little visitors just happen to be good friends with my girls and so they played non-stop and full-tilt every chance they had.

Because I’m taking statistics right now (and getting ready to write my midterm — feel free to cross your fingers on my behalf!), I’ll give you some fast facts: the median age of females in our house was 8. My age (35) is an outlier and so we could exclude it from any further calculations, as it tends to skew our data. If we do so, the mean age of females was 7.33 years.

No matter what calculations I do though, there just doesn’t seem to be any explanation as to why little girls prolifically and prolongedly scream (and oh, please don’t tell my English prof I just wrote ‘prolongedly’ — I know it’s not a word, I just can’t think of anything better right now and I’m too tired to look for alternatives).

So, back to the screaming, do you know why they do it? It is some sort of overload or misfire on the X chromosome that occurs when they congregate? I think if it is, we must gradually grow out of it. Or at least I hope to goodness we do. Packs of screaming women would get really old, really fast.

The visiting little girls have gone home now and our house is quiet once again and so I find myself able to concentrate and I’ve even got some free time happening.

I’m still pondering why little girls scream though. Any ideas?

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Before he could really get going, Ben Saunders has had to quit due to equipment failure. Though he wasn’t able to finish, I think his success comes from having the courage to begin.

From his website:

After 8 days on the ice and at a position of N.83.57.686 W. 074.12.566 Ben Saunders’ expedition to become the fastest man to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole is over following the critical failure of his ski equipment. Arrangements are currently being made to pick Ben up off the ice.

Ben Saunders said “To have an expedition that is the culmination of seven years training, preparation and experience forced to a halt due to an equipment failure is incredibly disappointing, particularly as I am still in excellent physical condition. I came here well prepared and believe that the daily distances I have achieved to date (in my first four days I covered 29.4nautical miles, something that took a Finnish Special Forces team two weeks to achieve in 2006) show that setting a speed record was within my reach. The ice conditions I have encountered have been the worst I have ever seen, and worse than I could have imagined. I am witnessing at first hand the disintegration of the last of the Arctic’s multi-year pack ice. If climate change in the high Arctic continues at its current rate, I may be one of the last to be able to attempt this journey on foot. I feel enormously privileged to have had that chance and the only true failure would have been not to have started this expedition in the first place.”.

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So, this morning in Yellowknife it was -39C. I won’t even moan because BH is in the high Arctic at the moment and I’m sure it’s colder there. Besides, today he flew over Ben Saunders’ camp and life for Ben must be tough right about now.

Who is Ben Saunders and what is he doing? From his website:

Ben SaundersBen Saunders is a record-breaking long-distance skier, with three North Pole expeditions under his belt. He is the youngest to ski solo to the North Pole and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton. Since 2001, Ben has skied more than 2,500km (1,500 miles) in the high Arctic, which he recently worked out equates to two percent of his entire life living in a tent.

His aim is to set a new world speed record from Ward Hunt Island to the Geographic North Pole….

The Cold Facts
  • Distance: 478 miles
  • Duration: ~30 days. Start date 26th March 2008.
  • Sledge weight: 60kg
  • Temperature range: -50 to -5˚C. Wind chill as low as -70˚C.
  • Hazards: Thin ice, open water, polar bears, frostbite, hypothermia, equipment failure, injury
  • Start point: Ben will be dropped by a Twin Otter ski-plane at Ward Hunt Island, Northern Canada – N83° 05’ and will to ski from there on to the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean
  • Finish: Ben aims to reach the Geographic North Pole – N90˚
  • Communications: Ben is equipped with an Iridium satellite phone and an ARGOS satellite beacon that allows the support team to monitor his position and status.
  • Calorie intake: 5,946 kcal/day

If you’d like a little glimpse into what Ben’s world is like right now, click here. Brrrrrr!

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