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> Visting Tsiigehtchic and Getting Ready to Sample
post Jun 30 2005, 04:05 AM
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Group: TREC Team
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I finally got a good night’s sleep last night—even though it was terribly hot—yes I said terribly hot—we are having some very warm weather up here in the arctic. I think the temperature topped out at 34 degrees Celsius today. Of course we had long sleeve shirts on anyway because of the mosquitoes, but it was unexpectedly hot!!!

Anyway, we had breakfast and had a few more logistical things to work out with the boat. So after breakfast we met Les, who is the driver of the boat and also seems to be the boat handyman, and worked with him for about an hour or so, getting the right hitch on the boat and getting the winch set up correctly, etc. We ended up having to go to all the hardware towns in Inuvik to look for a part but had no luck—it was a great way to see both the downtown and outskirts of Inuvik. So, after running those errands, we came back to the hotel we are staying in and I worked on the webpage until about lunch. After lunch we headed to Tsiigehtchic to give a presentation to the Renewable Resource Council (RRC). We took the Dempster Highway,

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which is a dirt road through pretty much the middle of nowhere, and then took a ferry across the Mackenzie River to get to Tsiigehtchic.

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When we arrived in Tsiigehtchic, the first thing we did was run into the Chief (the guy we met on the plane yesterday). We ended up talking to him for over an hour and then we had to find our way to the RRC building to get ready for the presentation. We must of looked like the three big tourists because we couldn’t find the RRC building and there are only about 20-25 buildings in the whole town and we were pointed in the right direction, but still had to ask someone else--good thing Bart, Max and I aren't trying to navigate in New York City. We figured if anyone saw us walking around the way we were they would truly be making fun of the tourists in town.

The meeting was very interesting because there were so many different science groups giving presentations. It started with everyone eating dinner together and then one delegation after the next got up to talk about their projects. Here is Max doing the presentation on the PARTNERS Project:

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Two of the projects had to do with banding white fish to learn more about their spawning habits and such, another project had to do with collecting Traditional Knowledge, and another was about managing the Dahl sheep in the Richardson Mountain Range. What was so interesting to me is that all the projects are studies that are spawning from the possible development of a gas pipeline through this area. It was really great how interested everyone at the meeting was about each of the science projects—it must be really crazy for the native people to see so many scientists interested in their village and its surroundings.

When the meeting was over, I finally got to introduce myself to some of the people I had talked to on the phone trying to make contacts. It sure is easier to get to know people in person than on the phone and a lot more fun. We had enough positive interactions with people to feel pretty encouraged about heading back to Tsiigehtchic on Thursday and making some contacts for the future Student-PARTNERS project, out attempt to get students involved with the testing that we are doing like some of the students in Siberia have been doing in the last year.

The Dempster Highway is pretty interesting. It is all dirt and Bart says it runs from Inuvik to Fort Nelson, through the Yukon and Dawson City. It can get very dusty when you pass another truck on it, and there were no buildings between Inuvik and the Mackenzie River 114 km away. People drive it very fast though which can be a little scary because huge dust storms follow the trucks and it is literally like a white out for a few seconds.

We got home at about 9:30—still light as day though—and we were all pretty beat and we knew we are going to have a long day tomorrow sampling on the river, so we all “hit the hay” as soon as we got back to the hotel.

I do have to admit here that I am glad that our hotel room had an air conditioner as it was super hot in our rooms—I don’t even use an air conditioner at home—I thought it was going to be cooler in the arctic—what was I thinking….
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