Response from Team Drone: Willow Wishes

Update: Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island is currently experiencing a major storm and has been badly flooded.

A drowning Qikiqtaruk

Team Drone are all safe and dry (mostly dry), but access to the island is all but impossible. They have been taking the time to work on important aspects of field life, including:

  • Playing an epic game of Settlers of Catan all night (Santo came from behind to win)
  • Country blues jamming with Senior Park Ranger Richard Gordon

Let it flood, no bother
We have willow blood
It is wet, no worries
TS connected through the net
Let it storm, no problem
We’re in Super Shrub Form

  • Encouraging Team Kluane to make data presents (possibly making some themselves)
  • Writing responses to disgruntled team members. Note that due to the isolation of Team Drone at the present time we were unable to receive photos from the island, but an artist’s impression has been provided.

Hello Team Kluane,

We apologise profusely for our ill though out willow wishes.  If only we had known the power that the willow seeds infer on mere wishes for more wind.

Wish 1: Isla meant to add in something about the fixed wing, kites and new drone, but she forgot because she was writing that post at 2am in the morning!  Apologies again.  We can’t wait for your help to get airborne data collection again!

Wish 2: This in retrospect was a great error.  The wind had been very still and the mosquitoes very bad, but were we to know that our wish would result in the now driving rain-snow that is lashing our windows, we never would have made that original wish and would have stuck to something far more precise.

Wish 3: Awesome pictures of the muskoxen knocking down the phenocams?  Nope, just upright and then black or extremely close up tundra.  There is one very distant photo of the muskox in one cam and some of people hiking by, but no super cool wildlife yet.

Wish 4: We did wish for your arrival, so that could theoretically have canceled out wish 2. Perhaps the order of operations matters, because at least right now it seems pretty clear that you won’t be flying today as the water has been higher than ever and the storm is in full force now.

The completely flooded airstrip

Wish 5: We feel confident that some mostly fresh food will make it out to us at some point and you guys too!!!  Santo and I are in a pit of despair about the lack of “Sweet Memories of Cebu” in the stores, or lack there of.  Our addiction to that product is profound and when it runs out we are going to suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms.  Possibly resulting in an attempted swim to the Phiilipines.

Update: “Oh man, huge whitecaps out there” – Jakob

Waves crashing up against the stairs and side of the warehouse


Wish 6: Isla will be removed from cooking responsibilities???  That sounds amazing, but her actual least favourite chore is lunches.  She hates making lunches.  Cooking is fine and dishes are okay.  And by the way, it isn’t really so bad – Isla’s dish piles that is, she does dishes as she goes a little bit.  Jakob, do you know what asking to be moved in the dishes schedule sounds like???…

Wish 7: Well $1.71 doesn’t sound so bad for the pound – maybe we will be able to afford that first latte when we get back to the city.  Qikiqtaruk has now become a microcosm of the EU with German, Finnish, English, Scottish (and Canadians) all living in one geographic region where they have to share resources and space.  Perhaps we can resolve what Europe and the UK could not and show the world how people can live together in one happy economic and political union!

Wish 8: No sign of Otto in the storm, but perhaps this wind will blow more walrus and a few Narwhal towards us???

Update: There are high winds and heavy rain and some sleet/snow stuff. Jakob has investigated the water level under the house and it is completely flooded.  Trappers was lifted this year, but if the water reaches a certain level, then he things we should leave this building and head for higher ground in the community building.  The Ranger’s cabin is the most flooded, and Signals house is on a small island.  You almost top over your boots now walking between buildings.  The waves and ocean edge is getting closer and closer to the back side of trappers and the outer warehouse is now being hit by waves on atlas two sides and the water are getting close to the door level.

The strip is well and truly flooded.  There are logs floating out there.  We have lost the logs from the sauna, which is flooded now.  There is water from pretty much the loading area to the orange cones – so three quarters of the strip is under water.  We can’t get out there without over topping our boots.  One of the next items on our to do get out all of the hip waders so that we won’t get wet feet.

The Trappers cabin surrounded by water on all sides with huge waves crashing just a few metres away


Wish 9: We will now focus our efforts on wishing for the end to the storm and the rapid drying out of the runway.  However, since our wish for brisk winds was so powerful we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our magical powers to sense wildlife and ward of mosquitos.

The only problem with making willow wishes now, is that the willow catkins are all too wet for the seeds to blow away on the 10 metres/second winds…

From a sad TeamDrone who is wishing fervently to be reunited rapidly with TeamKluane,


p.s. off to make pancakes.



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