Today has been both exhausting and disappointing. And it’s only 3 o’clock.
Obviously, since I’m writing this, I’m not out in the field like I was supposed to be. Everything started out as planned this morning — we were out of the bunkhouse by 6am, on the road, and heading 80 miles into the fog to a landing strip about 30 miles from the preserve.
When we arrived and I called the office by satellite phone however, the first thing my supervisor said was, “it’s not happening.” The flight was a no-go, due to the weather. Cloud ceiling was too low, and apparently it was even worse in Kotzebue where our pilot was coming from. Our only back-up plan was to try again tomorrow.
The problem was that we had to pick up some other people coming in from the preserve, which presented logistical details, so for about the next 4 hours we waited around at the landing strip calling back and forth on the sat phone to figure out contingency plans. For a while we thought we were just going to camp overnight there, since we had all our gear with us anyway, but that plan was called off for reasons still unknown to me.
Long story short, we were called back to Nome, so we crammed into a couple cars with the other people who did make it in, and now here I am.
The most frustrating part to me is that two of our team members made it to Wales (they took a commercial airline, not a charter like we were) and are doing the interview right now as I type this. I am SO sad I’m not there right now. I wanted to see the village and meet the reindeer herder, and learn how to do this type of interview and whatnot. I’ve been a good sport on the outside, but inside I am really, really upset about it!
Hopefully we’ll get to spend tomorrow night in Wales, but of course I won’t get to meet the reindeer herder, and all we’ll probably be doing is going around taking photos and videos, which seems strange since we’ll kind of be there on our own now. Not that we’re exploiting the village, but it almost feels that way when we’re not there really on their terms. I don’t know.
So right now my part of the team (me and the two media people from Utah) are kind of in travel limbo, waiting for logistics support to work everything out. I may not even get to go at all. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, and even though no-go flights happen all the time, I can’t help but wish this one had been maybe planned out a little better.
But, so it goes. We’re still packed up and ready to go if we’re given the okay, but right now it’s not looking too good.