December 19, 2007
I woke up today about 8 am, showered, and made my way downstairs to take advantage of the free breakfast. I then headed downtown by bus to explore the city for the morning. I exchanged my US currency for Canadian and was disappointed about how much I got in return. I can remember a few years ago when Americans went to Canada to shop but now it is the opposite way around. I made my way over to the Museum of Manitoba to learn a little bit more about the local history. It was recommended to me by a gentleman on the flight to Winnipeg. There were a lot of interesting exhibits but I had to be at the University of Manitoba by lunchtime so I took the abbreviated tour.
At the University of Manitoba, I meet with Lucette Barber, the program coordinator for Arctic Net's Schools on Board program. Schools on Board is an educational outreach program that takes high school students from around Canada and brings them to Arctic to participate in research aboard the CCGS Amundsen. The Schools on Board program and the ARMADA Project are of the same mold but differ in their approach. The Schools on Board program focuses on the students directly while the ARMADA Project attempts to reach the students through their teachers. Each one is amazing in its own right and I hope my journey is not an end to their relationship.
Lucette introduced me shortly after my arrival to her husband, Dave Barber, who is the principal investigator in the CFL study that I will be part of, and the director for CEOS, the Centre for Earth Observations Science at the University of Manitoba.
Every Wednesday, the CEOS department gets together for coffee and donuts in the conference room. This weekly break provides an excuse to get away from their work for a while and socialize and made it a lot easier for Lucette to introduce me to some of the other scientists who work here and on the CFL study. I met the Russian delegation of scientists today as well. One of them had his luggage lost on the way here last night. It could be anywhere between Moscow and Winnipeg. I hope they find it quickly because I doubt the airline will deliver it where we are going.
After a tour of the facilities (thank you Pascale), I made my way back to my hotel. After meeting only a handful of the people involved, I am beginning to get a sense of the scale of this 10-month project. I can't imagine how much preparation and planning must go into coordinating the participation of over 200 scientists from 15 countries. I am feeling very fortunate to be part here and take part in this experience.
I think it will be an early night for me tonight. The charter flight north for the scientists and crew of the Amundsen originates in Quebec City and will stop in Winnipeg at 4:30 am to pick us up. I have to be at the airport hanger by 3 am which means I will be up by 2. It is hard to believe that a little over 24 hours ago I was in New York and less than 24 hours from now I will be on an icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve who can't wait to go to bed so that the morning will come sooner. I don't know how often I will have internet access on the ship but I will post as close to daily as I can. Good night from Winnipeg.