Meagan Grabowski didn’t know she was coming up with a catch phrase, but a visit to Herschel Island for a couple of weeks, and she was a one-woman neologist. “It started at Pika Camp,” a remote camp for researchers a few kilometres away from the Kluane Lake Research Station. “We were coming up with an Inuvialuktan to English to Yorkshire dictionary…for fun…and the Yorkshire term for ‘it’s very cold’ turned out to be ‘positively Baltic.'” But when she was up for two weeks studying biomass on Herschel Island, and it got really, really cold, she slipped on the ‘baltic’ and said the weather was “positively Beaufort.” Meaning, it doesn’t get colder than that….the wet wind off the Beaufort Sea…beats everything.
Meagan was up there as part of International Polar Year, with a team of researchers, Scott Gilbert, Charlie and Alice Krebs, Don Reed, and others, all looking at Herschel Island as an ecosystem, finding out what made it tick, and how that information could be transferred, and compared, to other northern islands and our own Yukon high alpine tundra areas.
Meagan Grabowski is daughter to well-known taxidermist Tony Grabowski and you can hear more of her adventures up on Herschel Island, as well as how any young Yukoner can spend a summer in a such a positively Beaufort place. The last of my two radio shows this summer, coming Tuesday at 7:50am.
We’re hoping the weather stays warm for a long time, but in case it drops to -40 this winter, feel free to put “positively Beaufort” into circulation.
Having spent quite a long time on that island, I can say that it is truely a great place.