Chesterfield Inlet Community Visit

Amundsen 2018 Leg 1 – Chesterfield Inlet Community Visit

Submitted by: David Landry

After a productive two-week journey into Hudson Bay, the CCGS Amundsen anchored just off the coastal fast ice edge of the small and beautiful hamlet community of Chesterfield. A community visit had been in the making for over a year, after the last year’s Amundsen visit fell through when the leg 1 science cruise was cancelled due to unforeseen, and hazardous, ice conditions along the Labrador coast that required the vessel to perform search and rescue duties.
This year was a different story. On June 7 2018, we welcomed 17 members of the Chesterfield community on board the Amundsen for the afternoon to enjoy a tour, lunch, and discussion about the scientific objectives of our project in Hudson Bay and the shared interests for their community.
The day began around 10:30 ESDT, when the CCGS helicopter left the ship to pick up the first group of visitors waiting at the Chesterfield airport. This group included Mayor Simeoni, along with several council and Hunters and Trappers Organization members. Once on board the vessel, they were welcomed to the ship at the helipad by both Captain Claude LaFrance of the CCGS Amundsen, and Chief Scientist David Barber of the University of Manitoba. With each helicopter arrival bringing about 5 new visitors, volunteers from the science and crew began guiding the tours through the ship to planned stations. Each station led visitors through equipment commonly used on board for science and navigation, with dedicated scientists and crew who explained their operations, application to science work, and potential impact of their results. These tours included a visit to the Rosette deployment area and data rooms to learn about oceanography and water sampling. The Radiometer was the place to hear about sea ice, and get a view of the sea from above. The Benthos and Sediment labs provided visitors with a glimpse of some of the small sea life that roam throughout the Bay, while the aft labs were used to discuss oil contaminants and optical instruments. On the foredeck, water chemistry was the topic of choice, and finally guests were taken to the 600 deck labs to hear a little about Food Web sciences. A highlight of the tour for many of the younger audience members was the wheelhouse where they had the chance to sit at the helm of the Amundsen for a photo op.!
Following the science and CCGS station tours, all of the participants were treated to a delicious meal in the Officer’s Mess. To end off the busy day, Dr. Barber spoke about the BaySys and CMO project’s in the Hudson Bay region, and initiated insightful conversations with the community leaders, and others who shared their observations about environmental changes or concerns they have had over the years. 
This visit provided us with the opportunity not only to showcase the kinds of science happening on board the Amundsen, but also to share our current understanding of the sea ice and water processes with a community who witnesses the changes to their surrounding environment firsthand. We look forward to future opportunities to visit Chesterfield and nearby communities, and are excited to share scientific knowledge with, work alongside, and engage in real world applications of our research. We also hope to inspire a new generation of ice and ocean researchers for the future.

Community members from Chesterfield Inlet on board the CCGS Amundsen

A highlight of the tour for many of the younger audience was sitting at the helm!

Scientists from CEOS provided tours explaining their research.

Community members share their observations about environmental changes.