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Arriving in Kanger Alone — Stick to the plan

Published: at 12:55 PM

After months of preparation and planning, the field campaign for ICECAPS MELT is finally underway! However, not everything is smooth sailing…

Tuesday 23/04 — Arrival

Two days of travel and I’ve made it to Greenland from the UK! The journey went surprisingly smoothly — to fly to Greenland commercialy, you have to go via Copenhagen, which is never a bad stop on the way. The flight from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq flies over the Icelandic ice caps, sea ice and the full width of the Greenland Ice Sheet, all of which are awesome! Its a shame I didn’t have a window seat, but Air Greenland are thoughtful enough to have cameras on the plane that point downwards, so I didn’t miss the sights! The final approach into the airport was rough, the crosswind meant we weren’t pointing in the right direction until we hit the ground, but otherwise it couldn’t have gone better.

Leaving the dull, rainy UK; The last trees I’ll be seeing for a month, on take-off from Copenhagen; My first view of Greenland, jutting out of the sea ice

Expecting the others to arrive in the evening, I had the afternoon to explore Kangerlussuaq. Its not a huge town, but walking along to the town’s edge, there’s a fantastic view down the fjord, made even better at this time of year by the snow covered hills - had I arrived a day sooner, the town itself would have been blanketed with snow. Yesterday though, it was even warmer than it was when I left Manchester on Monday! I made it up to Lake Ferguson too, where a heat haze shimmered over the partially-frozen lake.

The view down the fjord from the edge of town; Look! A cool lenticular cloud (see that waves on top); A partially-frozen lake Ferguson.

In the evening however, there were murmerings in KISS (the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support; where many scientists stay before travelling onwards) that something with the northbound flight from the US had gone wrong. I saw the writing on the wall

The writing on the wall.

The rest of the team were stuck in Goose Bay overnight. This wasn’t great. They had all the food for dinner. And it would hamper our ability to prepare for our deployment in a week.

Silver lining though, I didn’t have to share a room last night…

Wednesday 24/04 — The Warehouse

With the jet lag, I now know what it feels like to be an early-riser. I got the chance to watch the sun rise over the ridges surrounding Kangerlussuaq as I ate my breakfast. Its a pretty stunning view, and a good way to get used to the chill we’ll be dealing with in a week.

The original plan for today was for all of us to head down to the warehouses by the airstrip, check our scientific and camp gear, start repacking the gear and get the ball rolling on logistics with the Air National Guard. With the other team members still stuck in Goose Bay, I was in for a busy day!

Polar Field Services (PFS) are supplying us with much of the gear we need to survive and thrive on our deployment — tents, first aid kits, shovels, cooking equipment, sleds, generators, bear fences, loo roll, chairs, you name it. And I needed to check it was all accounted for. Thankfully, the PFS staff did a fantastic job, and after a morning of sifting through a mountain of gear, I could confirm that everything we needed was present. The next job was to check we had all of the tent poles. I’ve had that one go wrong before and its not much fun. I spent the afternoon pitching tents on a tarp, and ultimately, everything was in perfect order. Its good to make sure though!

Inside the warehouse. On the left is an Arctic Oven tent, and along the right, all the gear I had to check; A tent. Nothing more, nothing less; Three tents! And they all have all their bits!

So all in all, nothing too exciting has happened today, but some good progress has been made! The team members in Goose Bay are still stuck there (at least) until tomorrow. For their sanity, I hope the situation improves tomorrow. Once again though, I get a room to myself! #winning