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: http://vimeo.com/12759831 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: http://www.gedds.alaska.edu/auroraforecast/ 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,



  1. Hi guys. Wanted to let you know that your blog has been nominated for Best New Blog at The Nunies, the Nunavut Blogging Awards. Voting is open now at Nunavut Blogs! or The House

  2. You got my vote. I was even campaining for you at work. Sorry it didn't get you enough votes but it didn't help my cause either. LOL.

  3. This is gross. CARIBOU ARE TO CUTE TO KILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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