26 August, 1997

When we arrived at the Polar Shelf Camp the temperature was -5 and it was snowing, quite a change from where we boarded the plane in short sleeved shirts just a few hours earlier. At our first meeting, everyone introduced him or herself and described their project. The group is composed of chemists, physicists, oceanographers, biologists, ecologists, engineers, a journalist, and a communications specialist. The project managers who selected the group must have felt a broad range of specialists would be needed to develop a better understanding of the Arctic environment and how the populated regions of the planet to the south are impacting it.

Two of the people in the group, Buster and Cathy Welch have spent more time in the Arctic than the rest of the team combined. When they board the Louis S. St-Laurent, they don't expect to return to land until October of 1998. At that time, Cathy will become the woman with the longest continued time at sea. Their plan is to be transferred to a second icebreaker that will be frozen into the arctic ice as part of the SHEBA Drift project. In the course of the next year they, and three other groups of scientists, will gain information on fish and marine mammals from a region that is the least-known large marine system in the world.

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