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Up a Hazy River

March 15, 2016

Fieldwork in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, August 15, 2015

1 hazy river 5

A grey, chilly morning at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre had us considering the weather. This was to be the last of our three “helicopter days” for 2015, so we really wanted to be out there over the horizon. But the weather forecast was not particularly promising (or rather it promised things that we’d rather it didn’t), and  mist, wind, and damp were certainly evident. Still, the visibility wasn’t too bad here near the sea, and anyway, weather forecasts in the Hudson Bay Lowlands are frequently far from accurate.

The view from our helicopter as we await takeoff at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre

The view from our helicopter as we await takeoff at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre

Robert, our pilot, fills in his logbook

Robert, our pilot, fills in his logbook

The helicopter pilots, both with decades of experience, seemed quite cheerful and ready to go, so who were we to argue?  So we buckled in and set off for our sites, some tens of kilometres inland on the bank of the Churchill River. As shown in the photos below, the conditions we met en route were sometimes almost artistically misty, but always acceptable for flight. And as we arrived at the first site the fog and rain began to depart, revealing a day that became, by lunchtime, quite splendid for fieldwork.

Dave Rudkin and Brian Pratt, sitting behind me, look a bit wary

Dave Rudkin and Brian Pratt, sitting behind me, look a bit wary as we prepare for takeoff.

a helicopter has no windshield wipers

Something I had never thought of before: the canopy of an AStar helicopter has no windshield wipers.

6 morning logbook

Over the river

That’s the riverbank we can see through the water droplets!

8 hazy river 3

9 hazy river 4

By the time we get closer to the sites, the air outside, and the windshield, are both clearer

By the time we get closer to the sites, the air outside, and the canopy, are both much clearer.

Helicopters and the field party visiting one of the riverbank outcrops

Helicopters and the field party visiting one of the riverbank outcrops

The day, which started so cool and grey, becomes bright and sparkling as the mist burns off.

The day, which started so cool and grey, becomes bright and sparkling as the mist burns off.

For the return flight, Brian takes the seat beside Robert.

For the return flight, Brian takes the seat beside Robert.

© Graham Young, 2016

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2016 9:07 pm

    Nice post 🙂

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