Ok, So we're stuck with a enthusiastic 4 year old in a strange town, in a strange airport,and we've been up and travelling for 6 hours when we arrive. Now I forgot to mention one thing, we had left all our travel food on the dryer in Kangiqsujuaq. We also only had about $6.00 in change, and you won't find any change machines in the Kuujuaq Airport. Christopher was pushing all the limits he could find and Mom and Dad were ready to crack (OK, Mom had already cracked).We were to leave Kuujuaq at 2:15p and had high hopes that for some reason the flight may be pushed forward in a attempt to get us and our son out of the airport... wishful thinking. 2:15 came and went, 2:30, 2:45, 3:00, 3:15 finally we have a commitment, we'll be leaving in half a hour according to the same surly ticket agent who also explained to us the definition of confirmed 4 months ago. Now after three hours Dad was on the edge, So Mom gave me some relief and took Christopher out side to play for a few minutes. About 5 minutes later we were asked to board the plane... Ok this is what happened, I stood up and walked 5 feet to the door and told Melissa and Christopher to come quickly. I walked back to our stuff and put on my jacket and picked up our bags, I walked back to the door and asked them to move it. I then walked the 15 feet to the gate to find it locked, and no one to be found. This is less than 2 minutes after the call. The ticket agent grudgingly came back to the gate and was about to give me a lecture on being on time, until he saw the look in my eye I imagine that this look might be the same one that the condemned see as the noose is being applied. So we walk out to our plane.
One of the fears pet owners who travel, is that your pets won't make the flight and be left somewhere without care. For us this wasn't a concern as we realized as we entered the plane that our animals had made this connection. We realized this swiftly due to the fact there were two crates strapped to the floor inside the cabin. It seems the next leg of our journey would be on the twin otter, anyone travelling in the north gets shivers when this realization is made. We had never been on one, but I had heard stories. There were 8 people on this plane, two pilots, three passenger and us. The seating resembled something similar to the seats on a school bus from the early sixties. two on one side of the plane and a single on the other side. The double seat on the one side of the plane was large enough for couple of 90 lbs debutante lesbians to be very comfortable in. For a "large boned" lady and her son it looked to be very awkward. My seat on the other hand was about a foot wide, which wasn't too bad, my problem came from the fact that the cabin was only about 4 1/2 feet tall meaning the curvature of the airplane left me sitting on a angle to avoid putting my head through the side of the plane.
Now, I know of a comedian who did a skit about small planes but for those unfamiliar with this I can assure you he was speaking of the Twin Otter. Before the engines started the pilot turned around and asked us to fasten out seat belts, no intercom, no safety lecture, he turned around and asked us to fasten our seat belts, in a plane of this size I was sure I could smell what he had for lunch as he turned to confirm to us of this wonderful piece of advise. Then the engines started, which you not so much heard as felt (the equivalent for sitting inside the speaker at a Motorhead concert), it was obvious that the pleasantries of conversation could be alleviated on this leg of the journey. Now cruising altitude for this plane seemed to be about 30 feet (I'm sure we were at 1000 feet, but it was most definitely not a perspective we were not used to from a plane. You also had the distinct feeling that if we met any other air traffic up there the pilot would lean out the window and wave the oncoming plane around. There is something mildly disarming about watching your pilot do his job (the cockpit didn't have a door), I felt it was my obligation to watch very carefully in case something happened, in a plane of this size you definitely realize your all in this together and since I wasn't able to see the parachutes I wanted to see what he was doing. I have some wonderful pictures of this however since my computer bit the dust I cannot retrieve them until I find my backup drives in our luggage. One other interesting piece of information about the Twin Otter is that the cabin isn't pressurized, I know this due to the fact that I could see out the cracks around the emergency exit door, there was at least a quarter inch of free space around the bottom of the door. The fact that the wind freely blew through these cracks just emphasised the fact that if the plane did have a heater, it was of the type that was designed to heat itself and anything else that actually received residual heat should consider itself lucky.
After three hours in the air (and on one of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever been on we arrived... not where we expected but in Inujuaq, where we had to assist with a medical evac to Puvirnituq. I mention this as the look on Melissa's face when I told her it wasn't POV but somewhere else was too disinheriting to imagine. Did we discuss food service on this flight, the attendants name was Beatrice, or at least that was the name on the milk crate that contained a few cans of pop and some cookies that was tucked under one of the back seats. This was after 14 hours of no food for my wife and child (Myself, I don't mind stretches without food). After twenty minutes we re boarded the plane to set off for POV, Did I mention at the airport we met a gentleman I had kicked out of my store in Kangisujuaq for theft (I told you the north was a small place, we traveled 1200 km and still saw familiar faces). We arrived in POV 3 hours late, with no one to meet us and long story shorter, we are safe and sound and fed at this moment.
P.S. pictures still to come.
Sunday, April 15, 2007