We were up early, in the hope that this would be the big day we made it to Eureka! The weather looked promising, so we packed quickly, grabbed a snack from the breakfast room, and headed out. Arriving at the airplane I was a little disconcerted to see a large blue frozen patch on the ground, blue spatter all over the airplane, and a steady stream of AVGAS issuing forth from the left wing. Carp.
Morning in Resolute Bay:
We made things right, and assessed the situation. The one time in my flying career that I broke my rule (I changed off of “both” when I initially shut down, but not when I restarted again to shift the airplane), and we’d ended up losing about 20 gallons of the most expensive AVGAS I’d ever purchased. Some quick calculations showed that we would, at least, still have the fuel to get to Eureka and all the way back to Cambridge Bay without needing another $1,400 barrel. Thank goodness for the flexible fuel containers that I’d bought, they tipped the balance!
The flight up to Eureka started off similar to the previous day, but as we passed the half way point the flat terrain started to gain some features and relief. The final 100nm took us up a long fjord to Eureka, which is an Environment Canada research station. The lady on the radio seemed a little surprised to have a C182 call up for landing.
My nice blue strut on departure:
Once you get far enough north, the 430W decides that you don’t need a basemap anymore:
Into the fjord for the final run to Eureka:
The runway was in good condition. First things first, after landing we got the fuel containers out and filled up. As we were doing this the station manager turned out to say hello. He was very welcoming and told us a bit about the place. They had just hauled in hundreds of tons of rock ready to re-gravel the runway, a huge logistical undertaking! Additionally, there was apparently a film crew in from National Geographic for a few weeks, looking for wolves!
Meeting the station manager:
After looking around a bit, it was time to get going and run south. Best to make the most of things while the weather is good. The first leg had us retrace our steps to Resolute Bay.
The research station and strip at Eureka:
Cruising higher back towards Resolute:
Aziz met us at the airport to transfer the last of the drum into the airplane. That left us with plenty of fuel to get to Cambridge Bay; but, there’d be a point of no return beyond which we would not be able to get back to Resolute. An hour or so out, we’d be fully committed to Cambridge Bay. Discussions with the weather briefer led to a decision that this was an acceptable risk, and we departed, flying at maximum economy and burning barely 10 gallons an hour.
Several long and occasionally tense hours later, we were back in Cambridge Bay! Along the route I had made good use of the Garmin InReach to check TAFs and METARs, even when 200nm from the nearest settlement. Truly an excellent piece of kit for this type of adventure. Despite the fact that Cambridge Bay is incredibly remote, after the last couple of days we felt like we were back in well-travelled ground.