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Posted by Pen Hadow

Sunday, 15 Feb 2009 00:00

You know you’re making progress North when …


The aeroplanes get smaller with each flight in the sequence from our London HQ to our polar base at Resolute Bay in northernmost Canada, via Ottawa, Iqaluit, and Nanisivik.


This fact is apparent less from the external dimensions of the plane as viewed from outside, as from the experience inside.


Meal plans become more muted in their culinary ambitions.  The range of proffered drinks becomes less comprehensive, with ice soon a distant memory. The washroom/loo/toilet/restroom becomes less a room and more an upright cupboard only to be entered if the occupier is desperate, or bizarrely flexible, as devotees of extreme yoga or pilates might be.


Seats shrink, pre-flight briefings feel increasingly personal, and more and more old acquaintances are bumped into.  The stop-overs shorten from overnighters, to hours, to stay-on-the-planes.  Breathing feels asthmatic as lungs struggle to make the switch from the excessive dry heat of the plane cabin to the shocking cold of the outdoor walks from the plane to the airport terminal. Nostril hairs crinkle on these walks.  Airport buildings, encrusted in frost and snow, emphasise the absolute difference between the heated sanctuary it offers to travellers and the certain outcome if no such building was there.


But the flight sequence to our Survey’s start point out on the Arctic Ocean will not end till we have made three more flights via Roberts Bay and our Floating Support Base.

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