Episode 30: Film Making Weather

Eric 1 Comment

Carol, our webmaster Dave Good’s gracious wife, (he’s Good naturedly with us) has been responsible for all you armchair explorers getting your daily dose of drizzle. Thank you Carol from the GAAA team!

But today it is a whole different story. From a cameraman’s perspective (cause that’s who’s bloggin’ tonight, folks) we went from mud and rain and wind and low contrast overcast gray dismal days of soldiering, slogging, and being grounded in unpredictable unflyable, unfilmable, tent-bound weather to another weather report of 40 knot winds and 60 knot gusts and four more tent bound days near Coral Harbor. So we jumped ahead of the storm. All of a sudden the heavens opened yesterday and stayed that way and Eric starting filming everything that walked in hip waders or four hairy legs or attempted winged head-on collisions with a Beaver windshield, and we found ourselves believing that it was Mark’s sister Lisa who had flown all the way from Germany who had brought blue skies with her. Thank you, Lisa, for the weather, and the German chocolate, and a delightful example of how a brother and sister can get along for almost half a century and hug while flying as co-pilots. We picked Lisa up in Coral Harbor where the sailor/cameraman/editor/photographer and cheerful Jim Clark gave up his spot for a week. Jim, how many times have we chuckled at Doug and Mark telling us they were in T shirts when they made their reconnaissance flight last year up north? I witnessed three of our group in that very fashion this very morning with the temperature climbing to 60 degrees at the time of our slide in on a quiet windless lake with trees.

HUH?! WHAT!? Did I say the T word? Yes, folks, the big news today is that at about the 58d.28m parallel, the forests (albeit small dwarf pines) have suddenly emerged after a very tense $5. per head bet amongst the six sojourners over who could guess the closest latitude where a clump of trees would emerge. Eric won the wager having bet last and just calling out a number lower than anyone else’s. Everyone’s grumbling, but he nailed it within 2 miles. But there are many things to wager: when Mark will first fall off a float after 30 years of flying float planes, or who snores the loudest among Dan, Dave, Eric, Mark, or Lisa. (We can’t hear Doug because he has his white noise maker going constantly which is like one long snore.) So far, (though there is no recorded proof or admission of guilt), people are ganging up on Eric as being the one who is keeping our campsites free of bears. Thank you, Eric.

Before that, though, we made a sea-landing visit to another spectacular iceberg we nicknamed the Crown Berg since it had spires around it worthy of royalty. Mark was determined to hop off his plane onto the floating majesty, but he’d left his ice-axe at home and decided that it was a bit slick for his fingernails and tennis shoes. After seeing and touching an iceberg that towers overhead, one gets the distinct feeling of shaking hands with a gentle giant -the ocean was blue green, the sky dappled with white beautiful and benign clouds, and things started looking like National Geographic magazine for a change. That means shooting video is soooo much more fun. After taking off and flying a few more miles, Lisa spotted her first Muskox, then several, and then a small band of 15 or so. We’re still searching for the reputed herds of 40,000 caribou, and maybe we’ll make another bet about when we’ll see more than two at a time, but we’ll leave that for another blog. The sun is setting earlier and earlier, and those who thought a flashlight wouldn’t be needed in the arctic because the sun barely sets (that would be me) will be sorrier and sorrier as they travel further south.

Shout outs go to FCNQ Petrol Tagulik Qisiiq who opened his station in the small coastal town of Kangiqsujuaq (CYKG for the flight sim boyz) and pumped gas on Sunday, and to Aloupa and his wife Lizzy who drove several times the many jerry cans full of car gas several miles from a lake to the gas station and back again. But from someone who is blogging for the first time I have to acknowledge Mark for his infectious and indefatigable enthusiasm, story telling, and helpfulness, and Doug, for his steadfastness, tireless, analytical and even-keeled nature. And one can’t say enough of their inventiveness in the face of myriad ever-changing challenges of both aeronautical and practical nature. Just one example is that unless you’ve experienced it, it is incomprehensible what it takes to load and unload a small float plane (remember we’re floating over water) of enough camping and cooking and photographic gear to comfort a small army, and do it on a daily basis for 6 weeks. That and hand pumping 120 gallons of fuel in each plane every day. To them my hat is off, even on a bad hair day.

This just in from Jim Clark who has reported that the two beavers and their fortunate passengers barely escaped out of Coral Harbor which was deluged with lightning, wind and rain as soon as we departed for sunshine in the south. That’s all for now, folks, but if we have a few more beautiful filming days like this one, we’ll have a movie that will inspire and thrill the most cynical among us. See you at the movies.

Eric and the GAAA Team

Current location:

N58d 16.947m

W68d 35.057m