2000 Expedition Daily Notes

Follow progress of St Roch II (Nadon) and Simon Fraser around from P.R. Delayed by ice at C. Barrow and suffer storm damage in 30 kt gale (?) – masts and electronics. Delayed again for repairs at Tuktoyaktuk. Originally due Cambay on Aug 8th, now expected 12th-13th.

Wednesday Aug. 9th 

Drive from P.R. to Endako (E. of Burns Lake) after work.

Thursday Aug. 10th.

Arrive Leduc Inn at 19:48. Repack and t.v., early to bed.

Friday Aug. 11th.

Meet Jim Delgado and Bob Asplin at the airport. Fly to Cambay (stop in Yellowknife for last beer) arrive at 11:15. Sunny and cool in light wind.

Check in to Co-op (others at Arctic Islands Lodge $185/night – I save $35 per). Like the Shining – only two of us, no maid service, steal coffee and fresh towels from other rooms.

Power nap – Blue Jays losing 9-4 to Minnesota.

At 21:00 go to hotel to meet George – we discuss flight options to investigate Blenky Is. story tommorrow.

Saturday Aug. 12th

Weather beautiful, calm and sunny.

Breakfast with gang, decide to charter the Beaver to check out Blenky. This means that only three can go – Jim, George and Sandy.

Depart at noon for a walkabout around Cambridge Bay. See the Beaver take off from east bay. Do the tourist tour – cemetary (4 pics), Old Town (till 47), Wind farm (1980s – 4 turbines provided 3% of the power at 30% premium in cost, then abandoned), Old RC church built by Fathers Lemer, Steinman, and Menez in 1953 (ruin, walls mixed with seal oil and clay mortar), Father Steinman’s boat (the Eagle) towed from Tuk in 1954 and on the beach since.

Siesta on the point – woke to see masts moving behind a low ridge – Simon Fraser. Picture. 15:55. No sign of Nadon.

Walk back to hotel, arrive at about 18:00. Meet three of S. Fr’s crew looking for telephones (Paul, Rena and Diane).

Nadon arrives at 21:00. Walk up to hotel to talk to George at 21:30 – they returned about 19:30, saw nothing at Blenky – no ice, bottom visible.

Rye and wine with Ken (Burton), Jim, George, Don (Saigle), Steven (Ryback) and Sandy in hotel room.

Back to hotel, Blue Jays lost, Vikings winning in San Diego 7-0. To sleep.

Sunday Aug. 13th.

Wx  beautiful – calm and sunny, no sea.

Up early to check out of hotel. At 0900 help hump stores on the jetty into Nadon, then transfer them and self onto S. Fr.

Talk to Capt. Mellis about plans and rationale for wrecksite.

Organize cabin – sharing with Mark Abrams (Fiddler Productions).

Power nap – socialize with crew.

Evening social event at Visitor’s Centre. Meet David Pelly.

Tomorrow will conduct equipment trials and calibrations on Aklavik and Baymaud.

Monday Aug. 14th

Wx beautiful. At anchor Cambay.

Up at 7, read 2 chapters on focsle, 40 minutes on flightdeck to loosen back. Our two techs (Bob Asplin and Mark Treverrow) are setting up on the Nadon.

George and Jim move aboard at 11:45. We will not sail tonight as a spare sonar head (nav sonar) is coming in for the Nadon on this afternoon flight and will be installed. Will conduct a briefing and sail for Queen Maud Gulf in the morning.

Distribute ShipIsle doc and maps for crew and officers. During the afternoon we go out for trials on Nadon. Initial excitement as George’s lines come up – we then realize that it is our own wake we are seeing! Nevertheless decide to rig the underwater camera for practice but can’t get it to work! Without an operational nav. Sonar and with poor scale charts Nadon is reluctant to approach Aklavik or BayMaud.

Spare parts arriving on afternoon flight, will be installed in morning with new ETD of 12:00 (more lost time – why can’t this be done overnight?).

Attend a BBQ for the crews hosted by Sid, Mary, and Amy Glawson. Zodiac ride back to the ship then watch Sue’s video of the trip from Unalaska to Cambay. In bed at midnight.

Tuesday Aug. 15th

Weather beautiful again – at anchor Cambay.

Split my jeans straddling the gunwale when reboarding last night so I sew them up again. Bridge briefing for Capt. Mellis in morning.

Plot ’92 mag targets on the survey box sheets.

At 10 am we finally slip anchor and proceed with S. Fr. Nadon has finished repairs and is going on a survey of the BayMaud (couldn’t distinguish Aklavik – may have found more lines curving toward BayMaud)

Meet with Nadon near Anderson Bay for fuel. Planning meeting – Nadon will anchor for night at Jenny Lind and meet with S. Fr at Kirkwall in am. I will transfer to Nadon so that I can input my waypoints overnight.

21:30 Nadon anchors in south bay Jenny Lind Is. Entered waypoints for boxes A,B,C till midnight and then slept on wheelhouse deck in my sleeping bag.

Wednesday 16th Aug.

Up at 5:30, Nadon underway by 6:51. Weather is calm with stratus cloud and light winds, the weather is changing however – our string of gorgeous days is now ending.

Breakfast – caribou sausages, eggs, potatoes and toast. Stopped for an hour and a half near Hat Is. to repair cooling leak, use time to read parts of an excellent book (The Arctic Sky, John MacDonald, R.O.M./Nunavut Research Institute (1998), ISBN 0-88854-427-8.)

Arrive alongside S. Fr at 12:30. Lunch and briefing on search plan. Depart at 14:54 for box A, line 1 (north). Wind has increased to 15 knots. After running two lines wind freshens to westerly 20-25 causing too much surface noise for the SM2000 and some pounding for Nadon. Return alongside at 18:45. Depths are consistent 20-35m shoaling to 15-17m at the eastern end of the lines.

Late supper held by Gordie – tomato soup and weiners and beans.

Helped Mark T. install 2nd GPS for direct position input into SM2000.

Wind seems to be abating and shifting to the SW as the evening progresses, but no chance of getting Nadon out again tonight.

Thursday 17th Aug.

Weather is cloudy with wind SW at 10 kts, seastate 1.

Depart with Nadon at 08:05, Ken and Roger, survey crew Asplin, Treverrow, Woodman. Shore parties organized to search island west of Grant Pt. Finish lines from 29.9’ to 29.0’.

Nadon crew exchange at 16:30 (Mike and Jack) – continue lines and secure to S. Fr. at 23:30. Nothing found. Shore parties are happy and have found animal bones and modern wood.

Weather improved steadily all day as a high system moved in after noon. A stupendous pink moon tonight, film crew asked Nadon for runs in front on our return.

Friday 18th Aug.

Weather – wind picked up to 20 kts SE at 05:00, overcast and rain showers. Conditions are marginal for sonar survey at best.

Depart in Nadon at 08:10 (Mike and Jack). Attempts to run lines in box A were not successful as conditions are too rough. Decide to proceed inshore to get lee of Smith and Grant Points and do some work in area C. Quickly find ourselves enmeshed in shoal water at western extremity of C (hurriedly retrieve sonar with about 2’ to spare over bottom). Ran cautiously to the north to regain deep water, ran soundings only on line 26.4’ (area B) to regain confidence of Nadon crew.

10:25 – lowered SM2000 and commenced running lines in B from south to north.

13:30 – found good target in position 68 26.53’N 98 43.08’W. Three passes are all consistently strong on a 30m target but shadow and nav E/S imply only a 3-4m relief. Drop electronic marker and contine lines for 1 minute until experience hydraulic problem as clutch and hydraulic pump have shaken loose from main engines at low rpm. Jack informs me that this will impact only the anchor winch and fire monitor, but Mike decides to proceed alongside S. Fr anyway to order replacement parts! Mike is very nervous about conditions and looking for any excuse to abort running lines today. This will essentially gut the search for today.

15:30 – alongside S. Fr. which has been shifted to a new position to the west of First Is. This will provide a shorter boat run for shore crews. While repositioning S. Fr. has found a distinct E/S target of interest which we will investigate later this afternoon after shift change. Everyone is excited about the two possible targets but I am very disappointed with the meagre line results today – 2 ½ lines (21 Nm) so far today.

16:00 – weather has improved dramatically, now calm with fog (visibility 500 yards), seastate 0. I hope to get in another six hours of work today but everyone seems slow to get going. Ken and Roger having coffee in mess! Techs are testing the underwater camera again which will be needed to investigate the two targets. Call Phyl Nuytten for advice. This could be done in S. Fr’s workshop overnight but we are wasting time using Nadon as a work platform! Pulling an Eco-Nova, my frustration is getting me worked up and I have words with Jim. Mark  T. fixes the camera with soldering iron, silicone, and nail polish.

Finally depart S. Fr. at 18:30 (wasted afternoon!) to run “Mellis” lines around the S. Fr. target. After an hour we cannot find a significant target, so depart for the target in sector B. At 20:30 run lines on target and rig camera. After many passes conclude that the target is geological. 21:30 abandon target and commence run to S. Fr. (why?) Do some Nadon bridge shots and “reconstructions” for film crew. Alongside S. Fr. at 21:55.

S. Fr. engineers have rebuilt broken Nadon clutch coupling. It will be reinstalled tommorrow at 20:00 (again an early day!) Plan for tommorrow is to rerun “Mellis” lines (based on better track info) and then recommence lines in box A.

Saturday 19th Aug.

Weather – overcast, seastate 0, in light airs.

08:21 – slip and proceed to “Mellis” lines (Mike and Jack). Find good target at 68 25.113’N 98 53.561’W but has no ship characteristics. Mark T. and Jack are working on Nadon’s nav E/S which is acting up. There is no wind so diesel fumes are strong in the cabin, but we have a glassy sea and can get good SM2000 data at seven knots.

09:30 recommence lines in box A. Another good target at 68 28.820’N 98 45.526’W but turns out to be geological after three runs.

14:10 – Nadon crew change (Ken and Roger). Begin to shorten lines so as not to duplicate ’97 survey area and to save time.

18:00 – After completing 28.2’N line I notice that my survey sheets do not tie in to the chart. I have misplotted the overlap and have been shortening lines too much, we have holidays at the western ends of some lines. Commence to fill in holidays on lines proceeding northbound.

19:45 – find strong relief target AA showing 10m relief at 68 28.67’N 98 55.828’W. Target is not distinct on SM2000 but is very interesting on nav E/S (Simrad EQ40). Bob quote. Took seven passes and then decide to lower camera for a look. I offer to return to S. Fr. for scheduled repairs but Ken is now too interested in target so we go past our 20:00 deadline.

20-22:00 – conduct three camera runs on target without result, light fading. Put scotsman in position so we can come back tommorrow.

22:40 – alongside S. Fr. Shore parties today worked on Grant Point and found scattered wood and bone plus a plank (douglas fir – 2.5m long by 8 cm thick), an oar (ash with leather wrap held on by 3 iron and one bronze nail), and a rectangular tin.

Sunday 20th Aug.

Weather is overcast, wind 10 knots, seastate 1. By 08:00 fog develops and visibility drops less than 1 Nm.

We decide to direct the SM2000 vertically to investigate target AA. Orientation is fore and aft. AA is plotted to lie only 400 yards outside of the ’97 box!

08:50  – depart S. Fr. for target. 09:25 deployed SM2000 and commenced runs on target AA. By 10:10 have done six passes over target showing a gentle rising slope. Decide to return to S. Fr. and reorient head athwartships.

10:30 – Alongside S. Fr. and reorient head. Do interview for Fiddler productions. 11:10 depart for AA again, deployed sonar on target at 11:46. At 12:01 decide that AA is geological and decide to reorient head for forward looking. Water enters connector and we proceed alongside S. Fr. again to try to fix. 13:02 alongside S. Fr.

Wind is fairly strong 10-15 from north which complicates running E/W lines, especially as there is no visual reference for the Nadon in the reduced vis. Also sense a lack of enthusiasm for continuing search. Although Mark and Bob fix SM2000 in less than an hour Nadon crew has commenced oil change on main engines (!) which will delay us recommencing search.

18:45 – Search officially scrubbed due to increasing wind and dropping barometer. Decision made to take S. Fr. to Cambay in morning and let Nadon run direct to Gjoa Haven in the morning. Spend evening watching Shakespeare in Love and signing books.

Monday 21st Aug.

Weather – Fog, NW winds at 7, seastate 1, visibility 1 Nm.

08:10 – Mark, Bob, and I remove SM2000 head and move all gear from Nadon.

08:20 – Nadon slips and proceeds for Simpson Strait. S. Fr. will depart at noon with an ETA in Cambay 22/0800. Now just a passenger, will try to change my flight from 23rd to 22nd. Mark Abrams and film crew have departed with Nadon so I have the cabin to myself!

10:00 – depart anchorage in 500 yard visibility. Although I stay on bridge we never see Kirkwall or First Island in the fog. Find same spike on “Mellis” line, 24m to 15m rise. Position is 280(T) from south end of First Is. at .62 Nm.

Wind kicked up to 25 kts from NW while westbound for Cambay, seastate 3. Watched Jackie Chan “Double dragon” and “Jakob the Liar” videos.

Tuesday 22nd Aug.

08:00  – on bridge for entry to Cambay. Weather overcast in light winds, visibility 5 Nm, seastate 1. We had fog all night but cleared at 07:30. Flights south arranged by Jim for everyone today. Interviewed by Dutch correspondent, and by CBC radio. Meet Joanne Laserich at airport.


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