Hooray for the warm rays of
the sun! The morning was a bit overcast, but by afternoon, the sun was
shinning brightly in a beautiful blue sky. The sun warmed me as I jogged down
to the shop to help Jim tilt the array. I felt so happy to be enjoying the
We were able to get a full charge by late afternoon. We
now plan to leave tomorrow morning. Jim was supposed to fly back tomorrow,
but we have made arrangements for him to leave a day later. It will be very
special to share with him the arrival back to Inuvik.
We wanted to stop by the school today with the solar
car. Unfortunately, when I called the principal around noon, he informed me
that the school was closing early at 1:30 for a funeral. In fact, all
businesses would be closed for the afternoon. Tuktoyaktuk is such a small and
tight nit community that everything closes for a funeral.
Marcelo spent some time working on the tires. We will
now have several wheels and tires all prepared as spares in case we need to
change flats tomorrow. Probability is high that we will have to change a few
flats – how many is yet to be determined! Unfortunately, we will only
have one spare for the rear tire.
Jim has been looking into the possibility that we can
get skidoo skis to fit onto the solar car. We would attach one to each wheel.
This would allow the car to power forward with the wheels. It would also keep
the wheels out of the cracks and would greatly increase the safety of the
Kevin in the shop has been helpful with fixing up the
wiring on our trailer. When Marcelo and I crossed the Arctic Circle on the
Dempster Highway, we noticed that the breaks on the trailer were not always
engaging. In Inuvik, we noticed that the cable housings for the trailer
breaks and lights were completely torn to shreds. Driving up to Tuk, we
noticed that we no longer had trailer breaks or lights. In fact, partway
along the ice road, we stopped to cut away wires that were trailing from the
van. I am very excited to have breaks and lights working on the trailer
again. Thank you Kevin!
This afternoon, Jim took the solar car out for a spin
around the lot. It looked like he was having a great time trying the car out.
In the evening we did the first ever Snow-Ski-Solar.
Jim put on the skis and grabbed a rope attached to the solar car. Marcelo
drove down the ice and Jim was pulled behind. This is for sure the first time
a solar car has ever been used to pull a skier in the Arctic! Hooray for
Snow-Ski-Solar! A whole group of the guys from the camp followed the solar
car and skier Jim out onto the ice road behind the camp. I rode on the back
of a skidoo and filmed.
Since we had burned up some of our solar charge, we
stayed out on the ice to catch a few last rays. I saw my first snow dog. This
is when the sun appears double or triple on the horizon - a phenomenon only
seen in the arctic.
To close the evening, Marcelo and I cleaned out the
van. By the time we left the shop, it was about midnight and the horizon was
still lightly illuminated by the last rays of the sun.
The first part of the day
didn't look very promising. We had a late start to get the solar car outside
to charge its batteries. We readied the batteries by keeping them warm with
little hotties and we installed a new visor. The overcast sky and diffuse
light was only giving us about 150Watts of energy. At that rate, it was going
to take us a couple of days to get the batteries fully charged.
Kevin from E.Groubens has helping out to fix all the
trailer lighting and electric brakes. The freezing cold weather and the
Dempster Highway had literally destroyed all the wiring underneath the trailer.
The insulation was stripped down – the wires left bare and
non-functional. There were four blown fuses. By early afternoon Kevin got it
all under control. Thanks Kevin!
Just before lunch there was a break in the weather and
a clear sky. Jim and Lydia got the array set up while I stay behind to send
updates to the media on the project status. Time went by so fast, I missed
lunch but Lydia brought me a plate that George, the cook, put together for
me. Thanks George!
I went to the shop to see if I could help Kevin with
the trailer wiring. He had everything under control. I took the opportunity
to get the blown solar car tires replaced and to organize the tools. It was
nice to work inside a warm place for a change. As the snow off the trailer
and van melted away it left a puddle of mud on the ground.
Jim took a break and went kite skiing around
"outpost mars.” Lydia was filming and doing interviews. All tires
were inflated and ready except one very stubborn tire. Kevin took ownership
of dealing with the tire the tomorrow morning.
The weather was warm with ice falling down from the
roof. The ground was slippery and it was almost t-shirt like weather. Good
news, the clear sky provided enough energy to fully charge the batteries,
7:00pm is dinnertime at "out post mars". By
the way, Tuktoyaktuk is a dry town, no alcohol consumption is allowed. It
didn't make any difference to any of us but I've never been in a dry
community before. During dinner, we were all talking about the day, the solar
car, the trailer and Jim skiing pulled by the kite. We joked about having Jim
pulled on skis by the solar car -"why not" - next thing "out
post mars" workers joined us on the ice road behind the compound to
witness Jim and XOF1 do what no other skier and solar car have ever done
Earl being very resourceful gave Jim another piece of
rope to tie to ours and increase its length. It was perfect - get set and go!
I start the dive slowly, I thought at first Jim wasn't behind the solar car
as I didn't notice any extra effort put forth by the car. I saw Earl's truck
pacing behind and Lydia with the video camera. I knew it was happening - Jim
was actually being pulled on skis behind the solar car! I began to monitor
the current, 12Ah, 15Ah, 18Ah, 13Ah, 15Ah, 18Ah, it was bizarre to see the
current jump from 13Ah to 18Ah down to 13Ah and up again. Velocity was
constant, the ice and snow on the road was pretty much constant. I couldn't
understand my observances. It wasn't until watching the video footage later that
I realized what caused the current fluctuation. Jim was skiing all over the
place moving from one side to the other - mystery solved!
There were a few trucks and two snowmobiles on the ice
road. Everyone was taking photos. We had so much fun! It was entertaining to
say the least!
It was a very festive atmosphere; the stretch of the
ice road we were in didn't have any noticeable cracks. I took the opportunity
to do donuts. It was crazy fun - speeding up and skidding – turn - fast
acceleration and donuts. All the fun on the ice road dropped our full charge
to 85%. It about 9:30pm and sunny, so we set up the array but didn't get much
charge. Tomorrow, we won't have enough energy on the batteries to make it to
Inuvik. I hope the weather will cooperate. In any case, it was worth every
Getting Jim behind the skis was incredible. It was so
spontaneous how it all came together. For sure of the most memorable
experience I had to date with the solar car. I went to bed with a grin from
ear to ear!