A few summers ago I had the privilege to head way up north to Arctic Watch Lodge and build a custom solution to live-stream Beluga whales into the Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

The plan and construction were a feat alone, but the challenges of getting satellite access so high up on the globe almost caused the project to fail.

The configuration was relatively simple. Three towers that were positioned so when the tide came in they would be partially submersed. The first tower housed the solar array, batteries, and satellite modem, the second tower had the HD IP camera in a waterproof housing, and the third tower had the satellite dish.

July in the arctic is quite pleasant weather, but that didn't stop a snowstorm from happening on July 14.

And the bad weather didn't stop. One particularly dangerous afternoon I waded into the frigid waters of the arctic ocean with my trusty chest waders to recover some hardware before a storm hit. Should I have taken a wrong step and lost my footing, the waders would have filled with water and I would have most likely succumbed to hypothermia in minutes.

All the technical aspects of the project were working and we were ready to live-stream into the museum when the aforementioned storm hit and with both wind and ice completely demolished our towers (they turned up over three kilometres away). The only thing left in the spot where the towers once stood were the batteries which we recovered as the tide was receding to prevent any damage from them leaking. Of course I wore a GoPro for that rescue.

The project was an amazing learning experience for me. From planning hardware and software, working in extreme conditions, and gaining a better understanding of Canada's arctic. You can learn more about the project on the bv02 blog and learn more about Arctic Watch on their website