HMP e-Logbook

As the field season progressed, the MIT team recorded and posted daily a record of their activities, along with a few selected photos.

The field site's logbook has been duplicated here.

July: 8 10 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 August: 1 2 3 4-6

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July 10, 2005

Written by Matthew Silver


We woke up early today and got breakfast at the COOP in preparation for five potential flights to Devon Island. Oli and Eric were slated for the fourth flight, and Mike and Matt were to go on the fifth or sixth. Polar Shelf operates the logistics from Resolute, with three twin Otter Planes at its disposal. Two for expeditions such as ours and one for flights to Greise Fjord, where their main base is located. Availability of planes is subject to considerable uncertainty, as logistic priorities shift from day to day, and winds and visibility are variable. The possibility of five flights in one day was fortunate, and meant that Polar Shelf could provide two planes for our project for most of the day. We all rushed to the airstrip and warehouse area after eating, to be available for any flight windows and to help with loading.

The warehouse at Polar Shelf
Fig 1: The warehouse at Polar Shelf

7:30am – 12:15pm

At Polar Shelf we took notes on who and what was going to the camp on each flight. Erica re-organized the database with classes of supply to reflect new issues that arose while organizing logistics the day before. Oli, Matt, and Mike made measurements of the pallets to go on each flight. These included a rough inventory, contents, sizes and weights. We also collected information about the Twin Otter's capabilities: lifting capability, payload size, range. Three flights were able to leave in the morning.

Fig 2: (L to R) Oil drums at polar shelf; loading supplies on the Twin Otter; the Twin Otter payload bay.

12:15 – 1:00

At about 12 noon we were told the Oli and Erica would be able to leave on flight number 4. They would be accompanied by Matt Bamsey from the CSA Greenhouse project, Jean Marc, a Physician from the CSA, and Richard Giroux, project manager for the CSA greenhouse team. There was also a host of medical supplies, plywood for the MIT tent, and the rest of the frozen food. We headed back to the hotel for a quick lunch.

On the way back to the hotel for lunch Pascal took us a by a fascinating historical site near Resolute: the remains of an ancient Thule settlement. The Thule people were migratory ancestors to the Inuits. They moved along arctic coastlines hunting whale, and used whale parts in almost every aspect of their culture. The settlement thus included rock foundations for living quarters, and whale-rib structures to support walls. The only grass for hundreds of miles grew near the settlement, and Pascal told us this was due to organics left in the soil by decomposed whales and other aspects of settlement life. The organics have therefore been nourishing plant growth for hundreds and maybe thousands of years.

Fig 3: Ancient Thule settlement. On the right is the view of Resolute Bay from the site.

The skies were clear, although the wind was picking up, and flight four left with Oli, Erica, and the others on schedule.

Fig 4: Oli and Erica preparing for flight 4 to Devon Island. Mike Li at right.

In a display of the variability of Arctic weather, however, the wind picked up significantly soon after flight four left, and we learned that another attempt at base would probably not be made until the next day. Mike and Matt stayed at Polar Shelf in case plans changed. Mike worked on the database for the RFID experiment. Matt tested RFID hardware interfaces, and put together the project website.

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