Friday, April 8, 2016

Extreme Ironing III

Picture taken by Greg.
"Go big or go home."
Picture taken by John.
This was the saying I followed when I planned & carried out my third extreme ironing stunt in Arctic Bay.  I held this view following the completion of my second stunt last year.  I wanted to go bigger and better than before.  But how to do it I wondered?  So far, I've ironed on the edge of a mountain, out in the frozen bay near the cliffs, and on a hillside at the foot of the cliffs.  How to take it to the next level?
(Extreme ironing (EI) "is an extreme sport and a performance art in which people take ironing boards to remote locations and iron items of clothing."  The "sport" has been around since 1997). 
The Plan.
After spending many days thinking about it, I settled on ironing items of clothing on a qamutik (sled) that would be pulled by a skidoo or sled dogs.  The next step was to come up with a plan.  Obviously, I would need an iron, ironing board, and several items of clothing.  For transportation, I would need a qamutik, two skidoos, and two drivers.  One skidoo would pull the qamutik while the other would drive alongside as a chaser.  For documentation, I required at least two photographers.  One photographer would sit on the chaser skidoo and take pictures & film from a distance.  A second photographer would stand at the halfway mark and photograph/film me passing by.  I would film the spectacle from my point of view with two GoPro cameras.
Me & the extreme ironing qamutik. Picture taken by John.
Me instructing the drivers how far
we will go. Picture taken by John.
The date of my third extreme ironing stunt was April 3.  The location would be along the foot of the cliffs.  I was hoping to recruit a dog team but my attempts were unsuccessful.  The qamutik would be pulled by my skidoo.  I was able to convince Frank to let me borrow one of his qamutiks for the stunt.  "You're Arctic Bay's answer to Tony Stark," he remarked with a chuckle.  I got some help from local Inuit to pull the qamutik down to the ice in the bay on April 2.  (When pulling a qamutik up or down a hill, it needs to be tied closely to your skidoo.  That way, it's easier to control).              
Getting ready to iron. Picture taken by Greg.
Near the cliffs. Picture taken by
An elaborate operation of this magnitude requires help from dedicated and light-hearted people.  And there are plenty in Arctic Bay.  I asked my coworkers if they would like to participate and three agreed . . . after laughing for several minutes.  There were others who wanted to participate but couldn't due to other commitments.  The three coworkers were John, Greg, and JF.  I also recruited Clare Kines, long time resident & professional photographer, to take pictures.  He also owned a drone with a camera and I was hoping the weather would permit him to capture aerial footage of me ironing.
Let's get ironing! Picture taken by Greg.
Picture taken by Greg.
We all drove out to Uluksan Point in the afternoon.  Clare was gracious enough to transport my ironing equipment to the staging area.  I picked up John with my skidoo and we drove down to the ice to get the qamutik.  JF & Greg were already at the point waiting for us.  JF would be driving the chaser skidoo.  Ryan and his wife were also on hand to document the event as spectators. 
"Is everyone ready to make history?" I asked everyone in a loud and enthusiastic voice. 
 I received replies of , "Yes," "Of course," and "I guess."
 "Then let's get to it!"
John & I wave to the cameraman. Picture taken by Ryan.
JF & Greg on the chaser
skidoo. Picture taken by
A large, white painted, wooden box was tied to the qamutik.  I would stand inside the box with the ironing board and iron my dress shirt.  (I brought two with me).  We tied a clothes hanger at the back of the qamutik for added hilarity.  Using a coat hanger, I placed the second dress shirt on the clothes hanger and used clothes pins to attach the shirt to the surrounding ropes.  I didn't want the dress shirt to fly away.  I also used clothes pins to securely attach the other dress shirt to the ironing board. 

Me, a proud extreme ironer.
Picture taken by Greg.
JF drove Clare, and Ryan & his wife out to the halfway point.  He came back for Greg.  Greg would be the photographer on the chaser skidoo.  John would drive my skidoo and pull the qamutik.  We all drove out to the predetermined starting point.  The drive game me some time to get acquainted with my surroundings and practice ironing while in motion.  I would have to maintain my balance, keep the ironing board upright, iron, and film, all at once.  (I was really going for gold). 

John looks back to make sure I'm still on the qamutik.  I'm having fun.
Picture taken by Greg.
Picture taken by Greg.
John turns the skidoo & qamutik around.
Picture taken by Ryan.
I held a final briefing with my drivers and photographer.  We only had time to do two runs.  I instructed John to drive at a steady speed, somewhere between 30 - 40mph.  JF was to drive around us so that Greg could take pictures & film from all angles.  Clare was calibrating his drone camera at the halfway point and I hoped the weather would be kind not interfere with filming.  We wished each other good luck and went to our respected places.  John took several pictures of me posing in front of the qamutik before we began driving. 
Time to switch shirts. Picture taken by Greg.
Picture taken by Greg.
We're coming back.
Picture taken by Clare Kines.
This one is for the history books, I told myself.  I switched on both GoPro cameras and pressed record.  I signaled John that I was ready.  He revved the skidoo engine several times before squeezing the throttle.  History began.
The start was a little slow but John got up to speed and I began to iron for the cameras.  I did the best acting & posing I could.  I alternated between looking down and up.  There were two instances where John slowed down and suddenly sped up, causing me & the ironing board to fall back.  I quickly regained my stance and continued ironing.  That footage is definitely going in the final cut, I said to myself. 
Picture taken by Greg.
I raised my iron in triumph several times, imagining myself as William Wallace from the film Braveheart"They may take our lands, but they'll never take . . . [our irons]!"
In the distance we noticed that the drone camera was not flying.  We kept going anyway and hoped the drone would be ready for the second pass.  Ryan and his wife had walked to the end of the ironing route by the time we arrived.  He snapped several photographs of us turning around.  We all took a ten minute break.
Picture taken by Greg.
I'm a-okay!
Picture taken by Ryan.
Unfortunately, Clare was unable to get his drone camera to work because of the cold weather.  He used my digital camera instead to snap photos during the second run.  The second take went better than the first.  Greg, Clare, and I captured many good photos & film clips.  In the middle of the second run, I got the brilliant idea to switch shirts while the qamutik was still in motion.  The switch worked.  When the second take came to an end, I thanked everyone for helping me putting Arctic Bay on the extreme ironing map for the third time.  It wouldn't have been possible without them.
"How are you going to top this?" asked someone.
 "I'm not sure," I replied, "I'll have to think about it."
Greg takes pictures while sitting on the chaser skidoo.
Picture taken by Ryan.
Picture taken by Greg.
I would spent the next several days editing all the photos that were taken.  Putting together the video would take more time.  I selected the three best photos and sent them to Nunatsiaq News, hoping they would post one of them for all of Nunavut to see.  I knew this would make me a minor celebrity in Arctic Bay.
I encourage anyone and everyone to give this extreme sport a try.  It's a great way to get outside and iron items of clothing in places where you normally don't iron.  You won't regret it. 

Extreme ironing requires extreme concentration.
Picture taken by Clare Kines.


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