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Saturday, July 7, 2012

First Mission out of Cambridge Bay

Fueling up on Cambridge Bay Airport's gravel ramp

Yesterday I spent the day refueling and taking off on a recon mission to see what kind of a melt off state the ocean and adjacent lakes are for my initial search area.  All the fueling went smooth.  Took a couple of hours to refuel and preflight - as I was on my own, which I like anyway - it’s fun.  I am very meticulous, so sometimes turtle speed, but who cares what’s the rush? It's blinding light 24 hours a day. I started with an initial stock of 8 x 55 gallon barrels of 100LL. The first three popped open like champagne bottles, the seals are good; no water. I fueled the plane back up after I landed last evening; for next mission. I didn't need to mess with the wingtip tanks; didn't need to use them for this mission, so I was happy about that. That part of the fueling is a pain, having to go up and down the ladder and lifting and rolling full barrels all over and back and forth.

Everything here is a dust bowl right now.  By the time I leave, the Beaver will probably look like my ATV back home.

Mosquitos are insane here.  They don’t care about sun or winds and are swarming anything giving a heat signature 24/7.  They follow the carbon dioxide trail we breath out, the heat from our blood, and lactic acid on our skin. Certain chemicals in our sweat also seems to have something to do with it.  You better have bug dope on every inch of exposed skin or you are like the guy who sticks his hand in the glass box with the thousands of mosquitos on the OFF spray commercials.

Here below is a video clip from July 4th enroute to Baker Lake from Churchill - punching thru clouds, descending out of 9,000 feet MSL.  The lens has cloud precipitation droplets on it, so looks a little fuzzy.

Here above are 2 videos that are simulcast; landing at Baker Lake from July 4th.  Start and watch them both at the same time, inside and outside the cockpit, timing is perfect.  (Keep and eye on the little running clocks under each video - the "inside cockpit" video on the right may run a bit faster, so just pause it if you need to let the video on the left catch up).

Looks like my timing of early July is almost perfect.  I have 35 miles of beach to walk and comb for clues.  Flying out to this area every few days and/or staying out there for several days allows me to get this part of the work out of the way, while keeping an eye on ice conditions for over flights of the visible offshore waters.   I was able to get some good HD video of all this.  Too bad YouTube degrades the video a lot.  The clarity of the imaging is spectacular.  My Sony video camera is 24 megapixel. 

Talk about remote, not even sure if anyone has ever set foot here. It's way way out there. Found a good landing lake about a quarter mile from the ocean where I want to comb the beach for clues, about 1/3 from one side of that 35 mile stretch I eventually need to carefully cover on foot.   Will have to be very careful - although the water is crystal clear, many rocks and boulders and the water is only 5 to 10 feet deep.
One of the lakes enroute to my search area - pic taken from 1,000 MSL

On the way out there, I spotted a herd of Musk Ox in a shallow valley.  I dove in for a couple of passes near them.  Was hoping they would form their silly defensive circle, but they just took off on the run and hid.  Just kidding, there is NO hiding up here.  It’s like ants running down the sidewalk.  I did pay attention to pulling up while filming with video camera in hand before I hit the side of the small gravel mountain side.  No peering thru the viewfinder, just point and record.

Here is the video to the right, watch the end of that clip here to the right  ----->

<-----  Video to the left here - I was prepared to land on the water there, but it was only 60% open. Good news is that it is warm and sunny so the next few days with the wind pushing, the ice should be pushed to the shore and it seems to be eating it up good. I may be able to land there in as soon as 2 or 3 days if this weather keeps up.
No need for my synthetic vision up here, no real mountain valleys.  It doesn’t work north of the 67 degree parallel anyway.  Upon leaving Baker Lake, once I hit 67 degrees north, it all quit.  No magnetic compass up here and the system relies on it.  Oh well, will have to make the nasty foggy approaches the old fashioned way.  You know, GPS is considered old fashioned now.

Here below is a short video clip above of the other Beaver up here - used for ferrying fish in from remote fishing catch underway.  He is on straight floats, a lot lighter.  Lots of char hitting now. 

Below are pictures from around town here.

Inuit woman and son - Cambridge Bay

Schooner at the Cambridge Bay dock, 2 Inuit boys fishing

$5.00 USD for 18 holes, no golf carts....just ATV's

Tee it up here - Par 3 at "Many Pebbles Golf Course"

......or - tee it up here at the Par 5 at Many Pebbles Golf Course

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