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.

Mike and Nicole

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The Char

On Saturday we had a brilliant visit to Avataktoo Lake with some friends. The day started with veritable difficulties but ended with success.

First our ski-doo had two electrical problems in a row between 7:45 and 8 am. After hurriedly troubleshooting both, we rushed over to the rendezvouz spot on the ice to meet the others. Once everyone had arrived, we left the town in a group of snowmobiles and kamotiqs, winding our way west along Pangnirtung Fiord.

After a few kilometers, one of the kamotiqs broke loose and the pulling hitch was effectively bent double. The fix we concocted was probably the ugliest I've ever seen, but it worked. We used parts of a hockey stick, metal bands and meters of rope to "secure" the sled. The hitch turned out to be a great conversational piece that day.

Avataktoo Lake was packed with people basking in the sun and catching arctic char through the ice. We were psyched to try fishing again. After several attempts to catch fish this winter, we had caught absolutely nothing. On Saturday we finally broke the spell and caught several fish. At the end of the day, I was even lucky enough to catch a nice 3,1 kg char, pictured below.

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