Aurora of April - Thanks to Cat

You're right. It's not April anymore. But I wanted to post these pictures as a tribute to the winter we had. It was cold, beautiful, white and spectacular. Thank you winter.

The coldest days we had were roughly -37 C, which was not bad at all. There were hardly any winds: we only had one or two bigger blows - that's it. Compared to the Western Arctic and the community of Paulatuk, winter in Pangnirtung seems much milder. There's more snow and less ice on the lakes. Although everywhere in the arctic you feel like the environment is constantly trying to kill you, here you get a bit more slack.

I also want to thank our cat for lending a cat sand bag for this particular night shoot. I didn't have a tripod, and the only feasible camera support solution lay next to the kitty-litter box. The sand bag worked great as my camera support on the ice. Thank you cat for this wonderful opportunity.

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Welcome the Sun

On a weekend sometime the second week of February, the community members of Pangnirtung collected together at the mouth of the Kuliq river across the fjord to celebrate the return of the sun. Long awaited, in the brief few hours of sunlight - light not yet reaching our village on the other side - we enjoyed the company of our fellow northerners, shared food, tea and bannock. Markus and I skied across the fjord to join in the festivities.

The Iceberg

A couple weeks ago Mike and I headed out with the snowmobiles to Cumberland Sound to scout a large iceberg that Mike had spotted from high ground. We weren't really sure if we'd be able to get there: the area was fairly unknown to us, and the ice conditions could have been anything from safe to dangerous as far as we knew. We started off cautiously, wondering whether we would ever reach the iceberg. The distance was a mystery.

After exiting Pangnirtung fiord, we met a lonely inuit on the ice with the hood of his ski-doo open. Oily chunks of toilet paper were strewn alongside the machine as the man greeted us. He assured us he was okay and would be able to get back home. We asked about the ice conditions and were told that the direction we were going was safe all around.

We could see the berg from 15 km away. On the flat ice it felt like it would never get closer. Finally, around 32 kilometers from Pangnirtung, we reached the massive iceberg. It towered perhaps 15 meters above the ice surface. There were others closer to the coast.

We circled the iceberg and took photos from every possible angle. The berg was amazing but daunting. We did not dare to get too close to it. Even icebergs stuck to the sea ice can shift, completely demolishing the ice around it. We were looking at roughly 10 % of the whole volume of it.

Stoked, we returned home. On the way we again met the lonely inuit who we had met on the way in. His snowmobile repair on the ice had been unsuccessful and he was walking. First the man reclined our offer of a ride home. He said it was good exercise. I would agree since it was a good ten-kilometer walk.

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