Three hour tour

The busy season this year seems to be stretching out. This week was supposed to be Monday to Friday based in Norman Wells with day trips by charter air to the surrounding settlements. Normally we would have done this in September but my journeyman was pulled to some other duties then so this got pushed back. The difference in the weather here between September and October is remarkable.

Monday morning we flew to The Wells same as always, no problems there. We sorted out our kit, checked in to the hotel and generally got prepared for the work.

Tuesday we got on the first charter of the week booked for 3 hours in Fort Good Hope (ZGH) then 2 in Coville Lake. Tuesday morning was beautiful for flying. After that it all went wrong. We were supposed to upgrade the ZGH station. Adding the new stuff turned out to be the easy bit. The wiring was a mess and it took us an extra hour to get everything sorted out. The good bit is that the station’s up and running (yay J!) The unfortunate bit is that it had started to snow and the visibility had dropped below safe levels to fly. The really unfortunate bit is that my backpack contained stuff for a day trip.

Fortunately, the local bed and breakfast had beds for us (and breakfasts too!) Thank you Douglas!

Wednesday, the weather in Fort Good Hope was worse than it had been on Tuesday afternoon so we explored the town a bit, bought shirts, socks, toothbrushes and some essentials at the Northern Store and watched Doug’s movies.

Thursday morning things started looking up at Good Hope so naturally the weather in Norman Wells turned bad. We spent Thursday hanging around the airport, which was under construction, waiting for word we could take off. After a while the air company said that as plan B we could get a ride on the scheduled flight which would be a bigger plane with different instrumentation. Plan B couldn’t take off either. We watched more movies.

Friday morning Fort Good Hope was gorgeous, there was fog in the Wells but it looked like it would burn off over the day. At 1630 we finally got on the scheduled Twin Otter to go back to Norman Wells.. at almost exactly the same time our charter got clearance to go.

Here it is, day 5 of the trip and we’ve got one station done. The other two charter locations are going to have to wait. Tomorrow we’ll get the Norman Wells Upper Air inspection done, including getting the electrolyser fixed. Hopefully after that we’ll get the Norman Wells auto-station inspected and then we’ll fly home Sunday(or Monday)

My lessons for this trip so far:

1: I’m glad I live in Canada. My biggest problems while being stranded in a small remote settlement were boredom and dirty socks.

2: Take clean socks everywhere, even on day trips.

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