We arrived in Resolute Bay last night after four flights and a very long day. We first left Ottawa at about 9 a.m. and arrived in Iqaluit at about 1 p.m., and as we stepped off the plane we were hit by a very warm breeze, a first for me at this airport. It was about 15 C and sunny, and as a result there were many very large, voracious mosquitoes in the air. Fortunately, they were the very slow, lumbering kind so we managed to make it into the terminal with just a few bites.
We are staying at the Polar Continental Shelf Program facility, a very well-equipped and expansive modular building set up for visiting scientists. It’s pretty chilly up here and will take a few days to acclimatize, especially after the hot dry spell in Vancouver, but it was great to meet up with the narwhal research team again and to see the familiar people I have been on many Arctic expeditions with.
We are currently seeing 24 hours of daylight here, and by about 2 a.m. last night, the sun finally made its way through the clouds and lit up my room like it was the middle of the day. Now, it’s just after 6 a.m. and it is hovering around freezing with some very light dry snow. Later this morning, we are hoping to head out by twin otter to Grise Fiord and then on a boat to reach our field camp for a fun three weeks of tenting!
The good news is that we have heard reports of narwhal sightings around Grise Fiord recently. That’s very encouraging following last year when there were none around at all – just a few outside the hamlet right after we had packed up and left. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with narwhals in Canada’s Arctic, tracking and tagging them to learn more about their migratory patterns and population sizes.
Clint Wright, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre’s senior vice president and general manager, has ventured into Canada’s Arctic for the sixth 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 first blog post of this series.