We fly across some of the wildest country in the world with superb views of rugged ice ranges, ravines of blue-white snows and so many secret and hidden places. Ludwig Wittenstein expounded it as, ‘The mystical is not how the world is, but that it is.’
The flight takes about two and a half hours and Harry makes an easy, smooth touchdown on the Grise Fiord runway. Cecil and Pam meet us together with the refuelling truck. They have heard about the poor weather conditions and know we don’t have any time to waste. However, the ABC crew have immediately disappeared from their plane to film around the village. Harry, despite the deteriorating conditions, is willing to try for Resolute, he’s obviously anxious to get back and doesn’t want to have to spend another night in Grise Fiord if he can help it. The ABC crew has first to be rounded up, as it’s preferable if both aircraft take-off at the same time as a protection in case of any emergency. Looty and his wife also turn up to see us off. He tells me the bear Luis shot was a small one, much less than two metres. It doesn’t make me feel any better. We finally take-off at 12.50 a.m.
Map Arctic Ocean Photo Gallery
The mists soon close in around us and the clarity of the sky and the scenery has completely vanished. It’s impossible to see anything in any direction. Harry and the pilot of the other plane are flying on GPS. I only hope they aren’t flying too closely to each other. We are all concerned that we may not be able to land at Resolute and have to turn around.
The only problem with that scenario is that by now Grise is probably also weather-bound and then where would we land? We continue on and now the mists have become a soup fog and it’s looking pretty serious. As we slow even more and descend I count down the last ten miles (16 km) from the pilot’s instruments. Ten, nine . . . six, five, still totally fogged all around, four, three. It looks like we might have to abandon the flight and return. We are just two miles out when we drop beneath the thick, cloud level. It’s actually clear enough to land. Harry’s skills as a pilot really show themselves and he now proves his worth. It’s 2.30 p.m. local time.
As soon as the plane comes to a halt we unload everything and quickly enter the airport itself. Surprisingly it’s much colder here than at Grise Fiord, mostly because of the intensity of the wind. We will need to wait for Bezal and his wife Terry to drive in and take us to a hotel. There’s a little time to spare and I quickly visit the airport co-op shop as always to look at the Inuit carvings. There are a number of really special ones but the piece that particularly catches my eye is a multi-coloured, stone carving of a seal lying on its back, legs raised and exquisitely and delicately carved. It’s very heavy and I already have too many items to carry back with me but it’s too beautiful to resist. Although I am running low on funds I buy it and immediately feel that it was the right decision. I find out there is no bank in Resolute, which possibly makes its own statement. There is however a police station but with only two officers. There is also only one school.
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