Work Travel in the Arctic

The downside of living and working in the arctic is that Sophia and I are not on Blue Tale, our boat.  However, the upside is that she and I get to travel at times to different parts of Nunavut as part of our jobs.  As Sophia wrote in a recent post ‘Walking Around Iqaluit‘, she and I were travelling for work.  So Sophia got home last Sunday, while I headed north from Iqaluit for the community of Pond Inlet to assist with some work related issues.  Pond Inlet is in the north Baffin region (or also know as the Qikiqtani region) and is the farthest north I’ve been so far (72°41′57″N 077°57′33″W) and possibly the most beautiful community and view I’ve ever seen.  It’s like being in an IMAX theatre, up close with an awesome view of Sirmilik National Park on Bylot Island.  Sophia of course has been even further north for work and has been to Grise Fiord, the furthest community in Canada.  The community has lots of wildlife, seals, narwal, bowhead, polar bears but no caribou or muskox though and maintains a reasonably traditional lifestyle.  While I was there I stayed at Black Point Lodge.  A great lodge right on the water with of course views of Bylot Island.  One of the most interesting things about being in the high arctic is that it never surprises me that at this time of the year you see sailboats come through.  In this case, I saw three sailboats anchored off Pond Inlet while I was there; one Dutch, one American and one British.  I got an opportunity to talk to the crew on the British boat and they mentioned that the Canadian Coast Guard had to free a bunch of sailboats outside the inlet as they got stuck in some pack-ice.  They miscalculated and took some risks by possible coming in late through the Northwest Passage; however they were lucky that a Coast Guard ship was in the area and was able to assist them.  Although, it may now seem that the Northwest Passage is becoming ice-free during the summer months, it is not always the case as some sailors have discovered.

As mentioned before, Pond Inlet is very beautiful and has great views, and I almost want to move there.  I’ve lived in all three regions of Nunavut (Cape Dorset, South Baffin; Cambridge Bay, Kitikmeot and Baker Lake, Kivalliq region) but this is the North Baffin and would be very different from the South Baffin region.  At least we would be able to sail for two months if we were to move there!! – Rob