Arctic Voice expedition - phase one

Extreme weather in Kugluktuk as team depart

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Hi, this is Glenn and this is the Arctic Voice expedition report on the 26th August. This will probably be our last report before we get back to the UK. We just really wanted to check in with everyone and let everyone know obviously we’re still well. We’ve received fantastic hospitality while we’ve been up here in the North it seems everywhere we’ve been we’ve been well received and the people have been wonderful. Interestingly on some of the issues that the expedition is concerned about — while we’ve been here the town of Kugluktuk has had extremely heavy rain, in fact they had six inches in one day, and the elders have told us that they’ve never experienced anything like that in their entire lives. No one remembers so much rain. So much so that parts of the road got washed away. It’s more than they would have in a year and it all happened in one day while we were here. So yet another aspect of the weather patterns that are changing up here.

An interesting thing that we’ve found up here is that the elders used to be able to predict the weather quite accurately. Sometimes this was done by smell and they would be able to sense if the air was coming from the south – it would smell of leaves and flowers – and from the north it would smell of the sea and so on and so forth. This allowed them very accurately to predict the weather. But what we’ve heard from them now is that those smells are masked by the smells of burnt fuel and all the other aviation smells and so on so they can no longer do that. They’ve also told us that the weather is plain unpredictable now and it can’t be forecast by the signs that they used to be able to use.

A lot of success with the schools. We’ve spent four days in the schools talking with the children. All of them have been wonderful, very interested to know all about the kayaks and what we’ve been doing and we’re working hard to set up some exchanges particularly with the schools in Cornwall, Roselands School and Gorran Haven Primary School. The two schools here, that’s the elementary school and high school are both linked with the two schools in Cornwall, and both teachers here the teachers in those schools, that’s Cathy Keeling at the elementary school and Tim and Gary at the High School, very keen to get some stuff set up with the schools in Cornwall so that’s all looking really promising.

We’re doing a lot of work setting up links in Kugaaruk and Taloyoak and Gjoa Haven and when Dave Johnson and I do the winter leg of this journey hopefully we will have set up some really good contacts there. We will continue the blog I’m sure but it may be slightly more low key than so far.

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We’ve been interviewed by the BBC, Canadian North Radio and also we believe we’re going to be in the local paper up here which is called Nunavut News North. We may leave before that comes out but we’re going to try and get hold of some copies.

At this stage I think we should certainly thank our sponsors because the equipment we used has been superb on the trip and we’ve been very, very happy. Feathercraft Kayaks, who have helped us on this first leg of this journey, have been absolutely wonderful. The kayaks have been brilliant and we’re more than happy with those and their performance. They have now been washed clean and packed up ready for the next leg. The Vango equipment, we had a Vango tent which was a Vango Force 10 Spindrift still in excellent order other than the bear attack but we’ve managed to repair most of that I think and we also used Vango sleeping bags as well during this journey. The Palm equipment has been almost faultless I would say, fantastic kit, and we’re actually bringing that back with us because I believe Palm are studying it and we’d like to thank them and so no doubt we’ll call and see them. Lomo dry bags we’ve been using. We’d love to thank Lomo, a company up in Scotland. Just brilliant, we couldn’t have done it without all these pieces of equipment. Lendal paddles we’ve used. They’ve been fantastic with kinetic touring and kinetic touring S paddles. They got us through, and what can I say, all this stuff’s been absolutely wonderful. The team has been using Kobold watches and kept fantastic time and extremely robust things particularly given the temperature fluctuations we’ve had. So we’re more than thankful for those.

Also, thank you to Paramo in Wadhurst in Kent. We’ve developed I believe a very good relationship with Paramo. They’ve served us well on this trip and their equipment has been faultless. We’ve used their shell layers for all the landwork we’ve done and the base layers both on land and below our kayaking equipment. And as always with Paramo it’s been absolutely faultless, so we’re extremely happy with that. We’re going to continue to use this equipment next year and for all of next year and for the continuing part of the expedition. So thank you to everyone.

And McMurdo quietly in the background, we’ve had our Personal Locator Beacons tucked in our buoyancy aids and we would like to thank McMurdo too.

We’ also like to thank Showcarriage, who arranged all the freight and transport for our kit – and their agents at Heathrow, in particular John O’Brian of Team Worldwide. Also a big thank-you to M & S Dental Care in Fort William who gave the team dental first aid training and dental first aid kits. So thank you to Gregor, Ken and Kevin at M & S Dental Care.

Regards to everyone and looking forward to seeing everyone when we get back.

Aftermath of rainstorm in Kugluktuk
The aftermath of a severe rainstorm in Kugluktuk

Flooding in Kugluktuk after unprecedented rains
Flooding in Kugluktuk after unprecedented rains

The heavy rains damaged roads in Kugluktuk
The heavy rains damaged roads in Kugluktuk

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Team reach Kugluktuk - Journey’s end for this year (audio post)

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Team report marked rise in Arctic temperatures

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Team approaching Kugluktuk, Nunavut (audio post)

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Changing Bear and Caribou migratory patterns (audio post)

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Team reach Bernard Harbour on schedule (audio post)

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Bear attack and more evidence of climate change (audio post)

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Bears, Bears everywhere!

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Encounters of a Bear kind! (audio post)

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

A close shave! (audio post)

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Halfway up Darnley Bay! (audio post)

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Hot sun in Paulatuk! (audio post)

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Team hit wall of ice (audio post)

Friday, July 13th, 2007

A relic of the Cold War in the Arctic (audio post)

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Arctic winds slow progress of team (audio post)

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

School link-up in Tuktoyaktuk (audio post)

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Arrival at Tuktoyaktuk (audio post)

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

The Mackenzie Delta (audio post)

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Preparing to depart from Inuvik

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

PHASE ONE: The start of the expedition

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Welcome to the Arctic Voice team blog

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007