Well, we’re still stuck in Pond Inlet.

We haven’t been able to get out into the field, and we’ve pretty much been on standby every day for the last week. The problem is that the flights are originating out of Resolute – and we need to get to Grise Fiord. Between Resolute, Pond Inlet and Grise there have been weather warnings every day – mostly wind.

Grise, as we are finding out, is also a very difficult runway to get onto as it parallels the mountain range that sits right behind the town. In addition, the runway is very short, so only small planes can get in.

There are nine of us here, and so far, everyone seems to be keeping in great spirits. Fortunately, everyone has been North before, so we are all used to the delays (although this one has been overly long).

Clint Wright is the Vancouver Aquarium’s senior vice president and general manager.

Clint Wright is the Vancouver Aquarium’s senior vice president and general manager.

This morning, the forecasts were much better, and the heavy snowfall predicted for Grise appears to have been pushed off to tomorrow night. As a result, we got the call this morning that the move from Resolute was on and that we could expect to get two or three loads into Grise before the duty day ends for the pilots.

Time is now a critical factor in the success of this first year in Grise (last year, we were in Tremblay Sound, a 30-minute flight from Pond Inlet). The last of our team will not get into Grise until tomorrow, so we will probably not head out to the camp site until then. I think that there may already be a couple of centimetres of snow there and they are calling for 10-15 cm tonight, but we’ll see.

We will likely not get a net into the water until late Wednesday.

Even if we only get a week in, this will be an important research venture as there is currently no narwhal data for this area.

As I write this, the first of our team is loading up into the truck to head to airport for the first of the flights out of Pond. There is still time for some travel snags before we all get out of here, but it is a relief to finally get going.

Clint Wright, Vancouver Aquarium’s senior vice president and general manager, has ventured into Canada’s Arctic for the fourth year in a row to conduct research on narwhals, which make up a vital part of the Arctic ecosystem. Keeping track of their population size and understanding migration patterns are important in making sure their populations stay healthy. Clint will be providing regular updates on his research. This is his second blog post.

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