I had never heard of Canadian North until last Tue. that I flew to Northern Alberta to see the Project Site. Woke up at 04:00 AM and by the time I washed up, shaved and got in the cab, it was 04:25. Canadian North provides its service in Calgary International Airport but in a smaller section in the south side of the main terminal which is probably 15 minutes closer to Downtown. I guess I got there at around 04:50 while my departure time was 06:15! We got on a small airplane with a handful of passengers and landed in Edmonton in 45 min. It was in Edmonton that half of the seat were occupied by the passengers and we landed in Albian Sands Airport after another 45 min. of fly. In Albian we immediately got on buses and fastened our seat belts! Yes. Seat belts are mandatory onborad buses to Oil Sands Projects. It was a long and slow journey to Camp Wapasu where workers stay. It is a nice facility with everything available but I did not go into the rooms. Someone with a big truck came and pick up us for our 20 min. ride to the Project Site. Wow! The machinery were magnificent.
While we where there at almost 11:20, we never got the chance to go out and see the systems on a close range until almost 14:10 I guess. We put the full safety gear on, including safety boots that I had taken with me, safety glasses, reflecting vest, hard hat and even gloves. Our small group walked to the beginning of the line and climbed up the platforms. It was very interesting to actually see the machinery from such a close range.
Then it was the walk beside the second and third part and going inside the 4th section for a few minutes. We had to catch the return flight so we got on the truck and headed for the Camp, this time with two guys who reside at the camp until the Project is delivered to the Client. I guess it was almost 16:00 that we reached camp and we have had only coffee and cookie for the breakfast and lunch. I so a room with different types of food but my superior said that was for the Camp residents only. I said OK and was going to make myself busy with another set of cookies when our colleague showed up and after checking in he said that he would get us dinner vouchers and he did. We went to a restaurant type section that we picked whatever we wanted and sat. The food actually was not bad. There were different variates and quality was good for such a place.
Our flight back to Calgary was full and no stop in Edmonton. I guess we landed at around 20:25. I got a lift from my buddy and was home around 21:30 or so.
All this long time, a total of 16 hours was for that half an hour that we toured the facilities but worth it. I hope I get another chance to go although it is very tiring.
(Photo: Camp Wapasu in the middle of jungle in Northern Alberta. This photo is from the time it was being constructed)