Thursday, May 06, 2010

six degrees of resolution

I can't see them, but I can hear the sled dogs tied up out on the shore howling along the wind. Fat flakes are limiting the view out the window to a hundred feet or so, and both flights out of town have been cancelled. It's a good day for staying in.

After four flights, and four days of travelling (I spent two Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut), I finally made it to Resolute--and was promptly thrown into busy job of running a hotel.
Though we're tied down at the place most days, our job comes with the benefit of meeting all kinds of people who are travelling through for a huge variety of reasons: scientific research, personal expeditions, government business, sport hunting, etc. This kind of traffic is nothing new in Resolute--it's been a key location in high arctic activities for as long as such a thing has existed.

Par example: Resolute is named after a the HMS Resolute, a British naval ship dispatched to search for the lost Franklin expedition. The HMS Resolute was trapped in pack ice and abandoned in May 1854. Eventually thawing out, the crewless ship floated out towards Baffin Island, where it was found by an American whaling ship. The US government fixed her up and sailed her home as a little gift for England, where the ship was put back into naval service until 1879. When it became unseaworthy, Queen Victoria did another good deed and had the broken up ship built into two desks, one as a present for President Hayes, the other for Buckingham Palace.

Which brings us to the Resolute desk, used by all but 2 presidents (and they were LBJ and Nixon...).

No comments: