Sunday, January 30, 2011


I am working on getting better at posting so here is a little something about Saturday. Had kids over to play with Lily which she LOVES. They had a great time and the morning went quickly. After getting Lily down for a nap I headed off to sewing. I had sewn the fur on Lily's parka Thursday night but took it to get approval from the ladies. One small fix needed but otherwise her parka is finished!! It is so cute I will get some pictures up soon. She is not so sure about wearing it, she has a thing about hoods, but we shall see as the temperature continues to drop. I spent all of sewing time fixing the trim on my parka. I had taken a chance on trim material and it didn't work out well. Doing trim is not a hard job but this was a bit stressful in that until it was done my parka was in pieces so I didn't have a coat to wear home. Finally did get it finished just in time to head home and get ready for our dinner guests. Had a great dinner with friends. Lily loves having people around and insisted that one of our guests give her a bath (which was done willingly) and then she took all our guests to her room and read them a story. So cute and fun but sort of destroyed bedtime routine. She spent the next hour and a half getting out of bed and asking for "last hug" from everybody. We kept saying no but she kept asking. And that was our Saturday. Sunday has been relaxing and playful. Lily and I took a walk with the dogs and after almost 15 minutes of dressing we were probably outside for a total of 5 minutes. Ah, the arctic. So ends another weekend.
More soon,

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Of course by the time I get to writing this it is no longer Friday. However that doesn't change the fact that I had a very nice Friday. Richard took Lily to school (this in nice in that I am less rushed). Got to school feeling relaxed and breakfast went really well. The kids were organized and actually finished close to on-time. This does not always happen. Then we did guided reading and everybody was focused and working hard. Indoor recess because of a big blizzard. This makes the kids very happy. Next math class. We are working on patterns. They love it because it is something they can excel at. Then instead of gym our monthly assembly. Each month we celebrate an Inuit princilple and two students from each class get recognized for demonstrating this ideal. This month was Tunnganarniq (being inclusive and welcoming). I even managed to call the parents of my two students ahead of time so they could attend the assembly. End of the assembly came and David (the principal) says that school will be cancelled in the afternoon because of the blizzard. I think I was the only person in the room not celebrating. I had a great afternoon planned and was sad to miss it. I also thought I might have time to get some planning done. But instead of all that I got to go with Lisa to the store to look at fabric for our upcoming parkas and then head home to spend some time with Richard. Daycare stayed open so Lily stayed at school. By about 1:30 the storm died down and we had a pretty nice day here. Other things that made Friday great:
Finished (mostly) Lily's parka. I just need final approval from the sewing ladies because I'm not sure about one detail.
Took all the trim off my parka (because it was fraying) ready to use the right stuff and fix it all up today.
Had great cuddles with Lily.
Had a relaxing night.
Now I am ready for a great Saturday and getting two parkas finished.

PS. Not sure about the greatness of any day when I will be up at 6:30am. But we shall see...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Newbie snowmobile move gone wrong!

I took a friend out snowmobiling today who hasn't gone riding for some time. After Margot and I rebuilt the secondary clutch on my machine, I loaded the sleds up away we went. We headed up into the hills and as Lily says, things went horribly wrong. My friend had rolled the machine onto it's side and fuel was pouring out everywhere. After much effort we righted and got it going. Long story short, it was only running on one of two cylinders and pouring out fuel from the carburetor. So, we couldn't even limp it back to town. We rode my machine back to her house, where I dropped her off and headed over to my mechanic's house. Luckily he was home and willing to help me rescue the stranded snowmobile. I ended up taking off the drive belt and towing him and the dead machine halfway across the island and through town to his place. After removing half the snowmobile (it seemed) he disassembled the carburetor and we put it all back together again. After some tweaking, we got it running! In the end, it turned out alright, nobody got hurt and the snowmobile has another crack in it's hood, but otherwise, it turned out ok. We still got some riding in which was fun. But boy, it's getting cold up here. It's -34 outside right now and breezy. The Inlet is frozen over and many people are driving on it. I am still wary to go on it. There was a large polar bear sighted across the bay a few days ago. Sadly it was gone by the time I could go see. There was a wolf in town also which I hear was shot. Now that the ice is here, I am hoping to see some living animals.

This is a picture looking away from town, up in the hills. Below in the foreground is our frozen water reservoir and beyond is the ocean. It was sunny, cold and blowing.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Island of white and a caribou face

Sorry for the delay in posting. New Years eve up here was fun. I went in the snowmobile parade that began at midnight after a church service. I had no idea there are so many snowmobiles in our little hamlet. There must have been at least 250 machines! It was quite a sight. The rest of the holiday was uneventful. Lily had a great time playing with various kids and sledding. She really enjoys riding in an amauti with her friends.

I tried out my Ozone Mantra 13 metre snowkite on my snowboard. Here’s a short video of a snowkiter: Wow, it’s looks so much easier than it is! I have been snowboarding since I was a kid and am very capable, but have never used a large kite to pull me. It was scary and challenging. I am a big guy, about 270 lbs with all my gear on, and the kite on a mildly windy day was able to lift me from sitting up into the air, flying for many, many feet. The day ended with the kite coming loose (my fault) and fluttering off toward a small hill over which I knew there was a long, steep hill leading to the open ocean. As I was trying to drop my heavy backpack and undo my bindings, I watched as the kite (expensive) fluttered towards the abyss. I ran, postholing into the deep snow, across the medow catching it as it hung up on a rock. Pheww. I then got to try my new snowshoes as I trudged over a kilometer up to my snowmobile. Next time I am going to bring a friend to shuttle me on one of our snowmobiles. I really hope the ocean freezes enough to try it. I think the wide open space will be much easier to learn on. Also, it will be faster which I like!

Speaking of snowmobiles, Margot’s is all finished and mine is working, but I have, yet again, more parts coming for it. But, I also have a nice set of sockets and wrenches coming which will enable me to work on them with more ease. It is quite a thing to be doing major repairs to both machines in my driveway in the snow.

We were without a phone, along with the rest of Cape Dorset for nearly a month. They seem to have the problem fixed though which is nice.

There has been a very bad flu going around town and Lily caught it. So, she is convalescing and is improving. Luckily, knock on wood, Margot and I seem to have avoided getting it. Yay!

The northern lights have been amazing this last week. One night, after Lilibeth was asleep, I sat out beside the road in my camping chair, smoked a cigar (mmmmmmm) and saw the most amazing light show I have ever seen. The colours were so vivid and the movement was reminiscent of flowing, pulsing river that went right over my head, from horizon to horizon. We tried to get pictures, but nothing did it justice. We received a new Digital SLR camera for Christmas and are working at learning how to operate it and get good northern light pictures. This website: is pretty neat. It forecasts the aurora borealis, so you can plan to go out if the weather is clear.

We have been having more power outages to go with the increasingly cold, blizzard filled weather we have been getting. I hear the inlet is frozen and people can now with some ease, navigate the land bridge that connects Cape Dorset Island with the Baffin Island when the tide is low.

Over the holidays we saw some interesting events related to local hunters. Margot, Lily and I went down to the beach and watched as numerous hunters returned from the mainland on a boat (numerous trips back and forth to deliver gear, animals and people). 4 men had got 20 caribou. It was quite a sight. I helped beach their boat among other things. It is neat to experience positive cultural events here. It is a wonderful contrast to the tragic events we encountered when we moved here. Another day I headed down to the land bridge and met two hunters who had just come in from hunting in a boat. They caught some ducks or geese (it was dark) and a seal. I have yet to see a seal here so was interested in what they were up to. They were quite happy to include me in what they were up to after I introduced myself. The Inuit can be very friendly people. We talked as I watched as they butchered the animal in the light from a snowmobile headlight. One of the hunters really wanted me to eat/drink the seal’s still warm blood as they were doing, but I just couldn’t do it. I, very respectfully declined. A caribou would be different for me because they are similar to the deer my father used to hunt while I was growing up that he would butcher in the house. But the seals and beluga look just like the ones we oohed and ahhed over at the Vancouver aquarium. They are just so beautiful, and that’s what I think of when I see them, not food. That’s just my cultural background. After they finished up with the seal, I headed over to the land bridge as another group of hunters was returning on the land bridge. I parked and walked over in the dark to help them get their snowmobiles and Qamatics (fully loaded) from the large, sinking blocks of ice and slush to the frozen land. I sunk up to my hips into the abyss before I headed back onto land. I saw the most amazing thing while I was sinking and scrambling, the snow when it was disrupted began to glow with dozens of small green lights. I suspect it is some frozen sea creature. It was beautiful and a bit eerie.

My school hosted the Skills Canada trade show/job fair. Numerous government organizations set up booths in communities all over the north to promote... they exist I guess. I am not sure the point of it, but the kids thought it was fun. We also participated in a qamatic building competition. My group named themselves the Human Huskies. We won! It was a pretty fun time, although I had to help pull the teacher qamatic and sadly, we lost. Turns out that teenage boys pulling little kids are faster than two 30 something teachers pulling adult women. Big surprise eh?

Outside, we can only see about 200 feet at any given time due to the blizzard that has shut down Margot’s school for the afternoon. I feels like we are an island in a sea of white.

1. Fixing my snowmobile's skid. Glad I brought my grinder up!

2. Lily playing with "her" kids.

3. Lily, Baby and Ellissa. She is loving being in an Amouti when the girls play with her.

4. Playing in an outside Amouti on a different day.I am sure if we asked her to ride in one, we'd get a strong "No" but since it's with the kids, it's all good!

5. My kite drying.

6. Caribou anyone? I must admit, I was hoping I could try some.

7. Caribou face.

8. Lily checking the scene. She also wanted to play with her helmet on.

9. Transporting Caribou

10. Me helping out.

11. More boats coming in. Notice the navigating of the ice to get to shore.

12. They are returning with a fully loaded Qamatiq on the back of the boat.

13. Boats by the sea.

14. My group of "Human Huskies" posing with what was to become the winning Qamatiq

15. Tension mounts prior to race time. Let the trash talking start!

16. And they're off!

17. My team eagerly awaits the start of our first of two races.

18. Inside our gym during the career fair.

19. Margot chatting with a couple of kids after arriving with her class. Notice the beautiful parka she made.

PS: I just found out we have been nominated Best New Blog in Nunavut! What an honor. It's nice to hear about people just reading our blog, but for someone to think it's so good that it deserves a nomination, well, that's pretty cool. Thanks!

If you want to vote, there is a link at the top, right hand side of this blog.

Take care and be safe,