Away to the airport this morning to see Ed off to Winnipeg - there goes our ace bear protection and GPS expert! At least we had a chance to do the firearms familiarization before his departure, so all are up to speed on handling various pyrotechnic deterrents. I’ll ride shotgun in Ed’s absence, with Matt as backup, and incoming member Sean adds another pair of sharp eyes to the fossil team.
On our way back from the airport we stop briefly at the crash site of C-GYHT, a C-46F “Curtiss Commando” of 1945 vintage, that made a forced landing about 400 metres short of the runway on November 13, 1979. Amazingly, there were no fatalities. The wreckage, locally known as Miss Piggy, remains largely intact … a somewhat disconcerting sight when viewed from the air on an inbound flight!
For the remainder of the day we concentrate on fossil-finding at our main site, using search techniques refined by taking into account what we’ve learned about the subtle characteristics (colour, texture, internal lamination, fracture patterns, etc.) of the most productive rock type. Initially, we had hoped to locate the exact outcrop layers that yield rare horseshoe crab and eurypterid remains, but the beds are shattered and poorly exposed, and we are unable to match up the rocks in place. Our efforts are refocused on scouring adjacent debris (which clearly hasn’t been moved very far), and it pays off. We steadily build up a nice collection, even through the sun’s glare and clouds of biting insects do their best to distract … yes, even good weather has its drawbacks!
This evening, after unpacking the day’s fossil take and breaking for dinner, we return to the coast with insect repellent and shotguns to walk the tidal flats of “polar bear alley” – the method in our apparent madness boils down to re-examining yet another section of Upper Ordovician rocks that helps tie together the local geological story. Well worth the slog through a flooded section of the track, and the 40 additional mosquito bites, but after an hour or so of straining my eyes for the sight of furry boulders I’m very happy to call it a day and trundle back to the Studies Centre.