Saturday, 1 July 2017

The most incredible formation flight from Qik to Iqaluit!

Thursday the 28th: Qik to Iqaluit via Pangnirtung and the gorge

The day started with a good hearty breakfast by Doug the hotel chef, manager, everything man. 
Our Beech needed some more fuel and we had arranged for a drum to arrive at the airport for 9am, but it turned out to be the wrong fuel.
After quite some time the correct fuel finally arrived and our hand pump eventually saw use. 
Phil and John churning the hand pump
Luckily John knew how to put the pump together and Phil got his ratio of physical exercise by turning the pump.

all three aircraft ready for take off from Qik
The plan today was to fly two shorter sectors via Pangnirtung, swap crew and teams around and then head for Iqaluit, the main town in this part of north eastern Canada.

I was lucky to catch a ride in Sam’s comfortable Saratoga with padded woolen seats, window shades and head sets that didn’t scratch your ears out (like ours!).

(My computer just collapsed again after I have written a long story, so annoying!).

Anyway, I will briefly recall what I had written: 

the team infront of the Beech 
There were two shocks or scary moments shortly after take off: one was a very close encounter with the Beech  as Sam's team tried to film her taking off. 

The second one happened just minutes or seconds later: as I opened the window (Sam's aircraft had specially designed openings for filming), my beloved little ZOOM camera was suddenly sucked out of the hole as it was so light-weight and I didn’t expect such a strong draft! oh no!!!! 

Rest in peace my little thing in the icy waters of Qiqiktarjuaq!  I shall miss that camera very much.

I did most of my documentation and many interesting interviews with it and won't be able to replace it during the reminder of this trip.
Betty in formation flight down the gorge

Luckily I still had my ipad and a gopro to film what was to be one of the most incredible flights of my life: 
We cruised in a three-ship formation along this stunning gorge with some of the tallest cliffs in the world and glaciers running down the slopes on those rugged mountains. 
Tim filming with his Gopro in the Beech
It was just out of this world! I managed to get a few great shots of the Beech flying close behind us before we landed at Pangnirtung – another remote little town. 
John concentrating on the controls
We managed to find the only restaurant in town which curiously was a Kentucky Fried chicken come supermarket!
The next leg took us across some vast expanses of flat tundra dotted with thousands of little lakes, tiny bushes and shrubs. We tried to spot a crashed DC 3 that had run out of fuel a few decades ago – just as well that we had decided to top our stocks up in Qik!
Paula getting slightly bored with the long-winded refuelling process

After an hour and a half we touched down at the capital city of Nunavut, one of the largest provinces of Canada namely ‘Baffin Island’. 

It came a shock to our system to see big transport jets and other aircraft buzzing in and out, vehicles driving up and down the runway and ATC rushing us to refuel and get parked.

A short drive took us to the best hotel in town, the Frobisher Inn – the very same hotel as Prince Charles was supposed to stay at only 24 hours later. 

Sorry we missed you Charles! Unfortunately though the hotel seemed to have lost our reservation and it took a long time to dig out a few rooms for us.

the Primary school of Iqaluit

and its Anglican church!!

I gave dinner in the noisy hotel bar a miss and went to explore this town. There is an Anglican church that looks like a Mongolian ger, a primary school without any windows and a huge supermarket that doesn’t sell any booze! 

I climbed a hill to eat my sandwich and enjoyed the views over the bay. What a trip, what a journey, what amazing unforgettable experiences!
view from the top of my hill overlooking the city

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