At one point in the afternoon, we were informed by First Air that we would not be able to get all eleven team members on the flight. They stated that they had only eight seats remaining on the flight to Iqualuit and that three team members would need to stay behind until the morning. Donna immediately telephoned First Air's headquarters in Ottawa and stressed the importance of the team staying together and all eleven of us getting on the same flight, as we all had jobs to get back home to and we had already been delayed for nearly two days. She asked if there was anything they could do, such as rerouting a plane, so we could get out tonight. They said they would see what they could work out for us.
We received a phone call at 7 pm saying we should all head to the airport and that a flight for all of us was available, departing at 8 pm. After checking in at the Igloolik airport, the probability of our taking off in the thick fog which was now surrounding Igloolik being poor, we boarded the plane and with some trepidation,took off at about 9 pm. The plane was soon above the fog and the clouds and we flew the remaining two hours to Iqaluit in beautiful sunlight.
We arrived in Iqaluit at 9 pm and started to settle in for the night in the airport lobby. Francis, our security guard, introduced himself to us and said he'd be looking after us and the locked up airport for the night. Liz, Donna, Caitlin, Annette and Chris claimed the conveyor belt for their bed, spreading their sleeping bags out on the semi-soft/semi-hard surface. First Air was wonderful to us as they provided us with use of their lunch room fridge for the night to store our vaccines in. They also brought us a bag of pillows and blankets for us to use. The rest of the team claimed spots on the floor for their sleeping bags, except for Allison who somehow arranged herself on two chairs for the night. We had a hard time to settle down and sleep but finally managed to rest for a couple of hours, after a pillow fight between Isabelle and Donna, and some hilarious moments taking photos of Caitlin and Donna with Barb's retro glasses on.
The lights came on at 5:30 am and we packed up our gear, changed our clothes, washed up, and began to check in at the First Air Ticket booth for our 1 pm flight to Ottawa.
We had 7 1/2 hours to use up before our flight, so we made our way on foot down the road to the nearest restaurant for a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs,bacon, potatoes and toast. After breakfast, we continued to walk and ended up in Iqaluit, visiting the Tourist Info Centre and several craft shops along the way. We returned to the airport on time to check in for our flight to Ottawa.
The flight departed on time and after a very pleasant flight (a small lunch and a warm chocolate chip cookie was served) we landed in hot and humid Ottawa. After a team photo, three of our team members collected their luggage and raced to the Air Canada ticket booth to try to book tickets on the next flight out to Vancouver that evening. They successfully managed to get on a 6 pm flight and we said goodbye to them. Two team members managed to get on a flight to Toronto this evening, and Isabelle, after much frustration, was successful at booking her flight back to Calgary this evening.
And then there were four! Liz, Uschi, Barb and Donna were the last of Team Nunavut and spent the night in Ottawa in a hotel. Their flight was scheduled to fly home to Vancouver Thursday morning, arriving at 8:30 am. After ordering pizza and watching the Tour de France in their hotel room, they slept fitfully until 4:30 am. and then raced off to board their 6:30 am. flight to Vancouver.
It was such a relief to finally arrive at our respective homes, two days later than planned, but safe and sound.