ABOARD CCGS AMUNDSEN–Twelve hours, two airplanes, and a chilly snowmobile ride after leaving Winnipeg, I finally clawed my way up the steeply inclined gangplank of the Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen, a floating science laboratory.
|PETER CALAMAI PHOTO|
Boarding the Amundsen is usually done by nosing it into some solid ice and clearing a serviceable runway nearby, as seen in the upper right of this photo from 2004.
It felt good to be back. In the winter of 2004, I’d spent almost two weeks aboard the same ship when it was deliberately frozen into the ice of the Beaufort Sea.
But now the Amundsen is roaming the open waters around the southern tip of Banks Island, the first time any Canadian ship has been mobile in the Arctic Ocean in the wintertime. (Maybe ANY ship, although you’re never quite sure about the Russians.)
For the next three weeks I’ll be roaming with it.
First priority is to reacquaint myself with the ship’s confusing internal geography, where everything always seems to be up or down a set of stairs from where you’re starting out. I have, however, figured out where cafeteria is located – in the stern on level six. And I’m headed there now for dinner.
There’s nothing like travel for building up an appetite.