Severe weather warning in Iqaluit Canada

Monday, 07 February 2011 11:42
Pat training in -32C conditions Pat training in -32C conditions Pat Falvey

In Iqaluit, Canada, a severe weather warning means a danger of frost-bite in less than 5 minutes.  These are the extreme conditions that intrepid adventurer Pat Falvey is training in, as he awaits the arrival of Dr Clare O'Leary at their training camp in Apex. He spoke to his Killarney Mountain Lodge base by Satellite phone as the countdown continues to the extraordinary pair's expedition to the North Pole. Here is the audio with text below of same.

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"Well I'm in place now, and for the last few days in Apex, Iqaluit, in the Nunavut region and we have over 8,000 pieces of equipment and food all actually at our B&B.  We've been sorting that for the last week or so.   I was waiting for Clare to arrive with the rest of the equipment yesterday.   She had arrived in Ottawa the day before but she has been 'bumped' because of storm conditions up here.  The temperatures here have been very, very low. Since I've come there have been minus 20 to minus 50 degrees Celsius.  Every day I'm out in the ice, testing our equipment, skis, snow-shoes, and general gear.  It's lonely and I'm looking forward to Clare getting up and training with me.  Yesterday in Iqaluit it was minus 50 degrees Celsius with the wind chill.  I took some great pictures and hopefully we'll post them on the website. Training here, as you can imagine, is very hard as we always have the highest xxx ??? movement in the world;  it widens and falls over 13 metres, creating massive, and I say 'massive' pressure ridges for us to train on, really back-breaking stuff when you're pulling sleds. Next week we'll be testing all of that.

The cultural situation here in Apex  is amazing, where I'm staying.  It was an old Inuit settlement and a lot of the workers who came here were Inuit in the early days of the American Base in Iqaluit which was set up for protection for Americans during the Cold War.   Some of the people that I have spoken to, indeed one who was in her fifties, and who was doing some work with me here in the house... I couldn't believe the fact that she was 10-years of age when she saw her first house! She was born in an igloo and a fascinating woman.  The people around here are absolutely fascinating.  You know, I suppose, it's got very high unemployment  they've lost the ways of the past; the hunter, the gatherer, the trapper - indeed, Martha, the girl that worked with me used to hunt with her father.  Now all of this has stopped.

Well, Clare as I said, was due to land yesterday and join up with me here, but the weather conditions were bad, there was actually a forecast given out by the Canadian Met Office that warned of 'extreme wind chill' minus-50 degrees overnight. This is a warning that extreme wind-chill conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions.  It advised that we monitor weather conditions and listen for update statements on the radio - that's what people are doing.  It says that at these extreme wind-chill values frost-bite on exposed skin can occur in less than five minutes.  Well I'm staying in a bed and breakfast in Iqaluit with a lovely woman originally from Faroe Islands and is very friendly. Well that's it for today, I'm really upbeat.  The testing of the gear is going well, I have a couple of problems with sweating - believe it or not - in minus-50 degrees Celsius, with stopping and it freezing onto my skin.  So, like, it's fairly severe.  Feeling good, looking forward to Clare coming and thinking of all you at home during the elections.  You know, it's an amazing time in my own country, and I'm so sad to be out of it while this is going on.  But anyway, to more pressing stuff, training continues for the North Pole."

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