It's 3:30 PM and we all are waiting for the plane to land. The whole camp is out here to help load, say goodbye and greet the new team members. Seventeen new people arrived in camp and eleven departed. Our camp did have 24 members. How many does Sarah have to cook for now? (Answer at the bottom!)
There are many sad goodbyes for the friendships made at NEEM. "Will you be back next year?" I hear them asking. I imagine I will never see this place again.
When watching the plane land, we all witnessed something amazing. The plane "floated" one pallet of cargo on the skiway when it landed. That means they just opened up the back and while they were moving, let it "float" out onto the skiway. I guess the forklift operator will have to go clear out there and get it once the plane leaves.
Once the plane came to a stop, the forklift loaded 3 new pallets of cargo in the back of the aircraft. Now it was time to unload and load the passengers.
At 4:30 PM, the passengers loaded the LC-130 to go back to Kangerlussauq. It is a two and half hour flight so we should arrive around 7:00 PM. The aircraft starts moving down the skiway and tries to lift off, but nothing happens. The pilot makes a wide turn and tries again. No luck! We turn around again and seem to go a little faster this time. We bounce a little above the snow and all of us look at each other like "we are going to lift this time". No! The flight crew starts unstrapping the last pallet of cargo and opens the back door while we are moving. We float the cargo (that was just put on the plane) right into the snow! The back door closes and we try again. Fourth try and we still cannot get airborne. Now we are looking around at each other and are afraid we might not be flying today. We have had 37 centimeters of snow in the last two days. It is hard to get traction in soft snow so we may have to wait until it is colder. Will we try again?
Now the flight crew move the pallets back in the cargo area to see if that helps us get off the ground. We only have so much fuel in the plane so we can't try many more times to fly today. This time it seems like we are really speeding up. Yes, we've got lift! Instead of arriving at 7:00, we will get there at 8:30 PM.
Answer: Sarah has to cook for 30 people!