July 19, 2010 We're in Greenland!
This morning started with an early wake-up call - my alarm went off at 4AM so I could be sure to be ready and in the hotel lobby with all my gear for the 5AM pickup by the shuttle to the Air National Guard base. Once on base we went through check-in and a metal detector and then it was on to the waiting room. While I waited for my flight, I met up with the rest of the US members of the Science Education Tour who would be on the flight with me. There were also a number of research teams that were heading to Greenland with us.
As we boarded the plane we were given earplugs which have to be worn at all times since it is very loud inside the plane. Our seats were benches with cargo net backs - not super comfortable, but not too bad either. In our pre-flight briefing they told us we would be stopping in Goose Bay, Canada to refuel. This was a nice stop since it was about halfway to Greenland and gave us a chance to walk around and stretch our legs while they plane was refueled. The airport at Goose Bay also brought out ice cream sandwiches for every one that was on our flight. Back on board the plane we continued passing the time with naps, reading, working on computers, and listening to music.
About three hours after we left Goose Bay, there was a ripple of excitement through the plane as the first views of Greenland could be spied out the small porthole windows. People were all taking turns peering out the windows and taking pictures of the magnificent landscape below us. Soon after that we landed in Kangerlussuaq and we were met by the team from CPS who organized each group to load into trucks and vans to head over to the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS) building where we will be staying while we are in Kanger. We were issued our room keys and meal tickets and had a few minutes to drop our things in our rooms before we headed over the airport for dinner in the restaurant. Most of the members of our group decided to try a local specialty for dinner, the musk ox burger. It was pretty tasty, but not everyone liked the salsa topping that was on the burgers.
After dinner, we went on a drive to see some of the local sites around Kanger. From several of these vantage points we got our first good views of the ice sheet where we will be heading tomorrow. It is hard to believe that after thinking about this trip for so long I am finally in Greenland.