I am officially on the ground in Fort Albany!
We packed up and left Lakehead at around 10am this morning, even though our flight did not leave until 2:00pm. They put us on a bus to the airport along with a team who was flying out at 12:15pm, which actually made out check-in and boarding less stressful since we were not in much of a rush. The lovely folks at Wasaya airlines also let us all through despite the fact that most of our luggage exceeded the 35 pounds each that we had been told was the maximum.
After playing some arcade games, taking a lengthy nap, and stocking up on doughnuts to bring with us (one of the other teams suggested that it might be a nice gesture for those people picking us up at the airport), our flight was called and we made our way onto the tarmac to load into a small eight-seater airplane.
Luckily, we were the first team to be dropped off and the flight to Fort Albany took just under two hours. The view from the plane throughout the entire trip was absolutely stunning. There is something completely breathtaking about looking down from the air and seeing nothing but untouched land and water. It certainly has a wonderful way of putting things in perspective.
We were greeted at the airport by the Maintenance Supervisor from the school. He helped us load our things into his pick-up truck while we tried to cope with the massive number of bugs that were now swarming around us. He gave us a quick tour around town before dropping us off at the house where we will be staying. It is a teacherage located directly across from the school, which is quite nice since that is where we will be running camp for the summer. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchen, and dining area – very comfortable accommodations for our seven-week stay here.
Here is the view from our front window (that is the school, Peetabeck Academy):
The power was out when we arrived (it was extremely hot this afternoon) so we dropped off our things and decided to make a trip around the community with our doughnuts to see who we could find. We had very little success. The Band Council Office was closed, but we did cross paths with the very friendly receptionist who answered some of our questions and gladly took two doughnuts off our hands. We also met the Community Health Nurse who gave us some more details about the community and informed us that camp registration had already been advertised for Monday morning at 10:00 am. We were also able to use the phone in the Community Health Office to phone Frontier College to let them know that we had arrived.
Our attempt to introduce ourselves to anyone from NAPS (Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service) was unsuccessful, so we dropped off our doughnuts at home and made a trip to the Northern Store to get some groceries. Just as we were starting to fill our basket, the power went off and we were forced to put everything back and walk back to our house feeling a little hungry (and more than a little sweaty)!
After spending some time unpacking and getting settled in, our power came back on. To our surprise, we discovered that we have wireless internet in our house! It seems like the teachers living here only very recently moved out and we are not sure how long our internet access is going to last, but it is a nice perk for now.
With the power back on, we thought we might have some luck heading back to the Northern Store for groceries, but it had closed early because of the power outages. Luckily, the Community Health Nurse who we had met earlier drove by with her husband and two daughters (one of them will be coming to camp with us this summer) and took pity on us. They drove us to a smaller store near the airport (we had no idea that this existed) so that we could at least get enough food to make ourselves some dinner. They also took us on a very nice tour of the community and showed us where they live in case we ever need anything.
We have now spent most of the evening getting ourselves organized and settled in. Now, it is time for some much needed sleep!