Wow I was tired! We had our departure from the hotel planned for 7.30am (Alberta time! – 6.30am Vancouver). I set the alarm for 6am, never heard it, and woke up in a panic 7.15. I got ready for 7.30, and showed up at the reception – just to find out that our departure got pushed back to 9.00. Tried breakfast – it did not want me. Went back to the room to write about yesterday for you.
The day later started with a crew briefing
While waiting for the school kids to arrive, we chatted with the local rangers. I learned that Canada border four countries, and other than he obvious States and Greenland, Russia is not even part of it. We are actually fighting over Hans Island with Denmark. The war goes like this. An expedition from Denmark comes to the island, takes down Canadian flag, put theirs and leaves a bottle of their schnapps. Sometime after, Canadians will show up, take down the flag of Denmark, put ours up, and leave a bottle of whiskey. This is how mature countries fight! By the way, what’s the fourth country?
Kids came from the local (Rainbow Lake) school and the school from the natives reservation. Spending time with them was a true treat.
Playing duck/goose with the kids:
And at the end they treated us to a drum dance:
Departing Rainbow Lake we barely escaped the thunderstorm with lightning coming over from the South. After (quoting Bud Granley) a “regular buzz job”
we were on our Northeastbound way for Fort Liard.
In a loose formation with Granleys and getting PIREPs from the Rocket ahead, the trip was uneventful. Landing on the gravel strip was easy this time – it’s one of the nicest gravel strips on our journey. Gravel here is small and smooth. The plane stops much faster, and we hardly needed a third of the runway to come to a complete stop. Prior to landing, I was in my mind going through the gravel operations techniques: low power only, always keep moving forward, no sharp turns and definitely no static runups.
The Decathlon is now secured for the night. Two trucks took us to the “downtown” half kilometer away, to the combination of the general store and motel.
At the motel check in, they reminded us that the community is on a full water delivery, so saving they would appreciate us keeping the showering short.
After a quick check in, we were invited to the village dinner at the community centre. This was the parking lot:
They started cooking this dinner since yesterday, and it was absolutely amazing! Moose as a main course, with a large selection of salads, sides and deserts. There’s a set sequence in which people comes to pick up their food – elders first, then the chief of the band, then everyone else mostly by age.
By the way, it’s a complete dry community, but it does not mean people are not having fun! A good dinner was followed by a good dance. The drum band was tuning their drums in the preparation. Some of them are made of moose hive, some – almost transparent ones - of cariboo.
They opened with a prayer with drums, then the dance. The dance involved the entire village. From the youngest kids to out hosts’ 92 year old wife – everyone was dancing. And of course the Canadian Arctic Tour team was not left aside!
BTW: if you are sitting around the circle, watch if you are wearing a hat. If you don’t, it means you want to dance, and someone will usually invite you soon.
We left still in daylight, which is very deceiving here. But many of us still needed some work done. The only available WiFi connection was in the village library. For those who know what I’m taking about (Russian speaking population 30 years+): “Бабуля, не подскажите, как пройти в библиотеку?” (at 11pm).
Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour so far:
Distance flown: 805 nautical miles
Communities visited: 2