Darlene Quaife

Polar Circus


Polar Circus What is a terrorist doing at a remote research station in the Canadian North? How does he hide his true identity?

The polar bear research station at Cape Churchill on the Hudson Bay is menaced by winter storms while the researchers and visiting media are beleaguered by bear attacks. But another force -- a malevolent force -- is also at work in this isolated camp on the tundra.

Polar Circus introduces photojournalist Allsun Skelly and her friends, ecologist Neal Casimir and Guy Thorpe, who attempt to protect both men and bears in this spectacular and dangerous setting.

Darlene Barry Quaifea.k.a D.A. Barry, has worked as a freelance writer and occasionally as a photojournalist for over twenty years. She and her partner, an environmental scientist, live in a ranching community near the Rocky Mountains, where they rock-climb, hike, kayak and raise huskies.



The silence of rock and snow was scarred not by a V-flock of Canada Geese beating hard over Hudson Bay, but by the unnatural wings of a helicopter. Rising in a way no bird does, the chopper lifted off from the polar bear research camp at Cape Churchill. The blades beat out a tattoo of urgency and dread.

The pilot, Conrad Cain, buzzed low over a patch of Ungava willows, surprising not bears, but ravens and Arctic foxes -- the North's most relentless scavengers. Cain circled and set down near the black and white congregation that removed itself to watch.

Chuck Ford's clothes were scattered nearby, including what remained of his deflated eiderdown ski jacket.

"Oh, no. Oh, God, no." From the safe world of glass and metal, Allsun Skelly looked with horror at the tundra. If she was to remain in control of her wits, she knew she should not take her eyes off those wretched tatters of cloth. Allsun willed herself to see the scraps as prayer flags on the side of a Tibetan mountain. It was no good. She had to look, because she would have to act. Something would be expected of her.


Is it murder . . . (Download pdf)