August 7, 2007
Location: Sanikiluaq, Belcher Islands
Yesterday morning around 5 am we arrived in Eskimo Harbor, and anchored in the middle of the harbor, away from the shoals and around 2 miles from Sanikiluaq. Sanikiluaq is an Inuit community and there are several Health Survey folks on board conducting medical surveys and simple procedures on adults from the village. Both the zodiac and the barge started around 7 am yesterday and made trips back and forth from Sanikiluaq for most of the day, ferrying people back and forth for the health survey. Two groups of elders came aboard in the afternoon for tours around the ship, dinner, and a presentation about the health survey and the purpose of the voyage the Amundsen is on.
I was the tour guide for the first group of elders and took them around to 8 different stations on the ship. At 7 of the stations, scientists met us and explained briefly what their work is. The 8th station was the bridge, or the "wheelhouse" as it is also known. There were ten elders in my group and they seemed very interested in all of the science work presented, but especially excited by the helicopter (which they all wanted a ride in) and the bridge. Each one of them took a turn sitting in the captain's chair and took great delight in the view from such a high place.
Over one hundred and fifty members of the community visited the ship today, 20 with the health survey, the rest coming aboard for tours. With such a large number of extra people coming onto the ship throughout the day, and many of them being excited children, it felt like barely controlled chaos. The response from the community was very positive and our Chief Scientist, Dave Barber, is quite pleased with the event and the attempts to share what we are doing.