Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arctic Towns and People

Qikiqtarjuak, originally uploaded by susanvg.

Adventure Canada trip: July 23 - August 2 2010

Qikiqtarjuak is a small town on Broughton Island just off the coast of Baffin Island. Though the area is desolate it has its own beauty - the mountains, the long range vistas not blocked by trees, the precious arctic flowers and the water with ice floes.

Inukshuk Qikiqtarjuaq Landing

This Inukshuk stands on a hill above the town - a sign for those navigating on the water. Inukshuk may be used as navigation markers or to indicate a cache of food. The people are welcoming. They taught us about throat singing, about life in their village and entertained us with singing by some local popular singers. The children were intrigued by the zodiacs and played on them, some of them getting little rides with our drivers.We also visited Pond Inlet - Mittimatalik in Inuktitut where we were treated to a show of arctic sports (they were designed to be played in an igloo and so take up little space), songs and drumming, throat singing as well as explanations of life in the north and the clothes they wear.

Mother and Child Sleeping Close to Mother

Arctic Games

Arctic Game - high kick

In Pond Inlet Adventure Canada (the team was made up of guests, staff, boat crew) challenged Pond Inlet to a soccer game. This is a regular event. It was nice to see many from the town show up to cheer their players on.

Adventure Canada vs Pond Inlet Soccer Game

Life is not easy this far north. Hunting is still essential, both for food and for the furs they need to keep warm. Food in the co-op is very expensive so country food is essential (and healthier). In some areas dogs and sleds are still used, in others skidoos take precedence. Just after we left Pond Inlet the men were going to hunt a bowhead whale - the opportunity to hunt bowhead moves from community to community as all of Nunavut only allows three killed per year. The food is shared among several villages. These are the boats that were going to be used.
They told us they would first harpoon the whale so they could attach floats and then shoot it so it would be a quick death. I found this on the Internet. The hunt was successful. People here understand the need to work together and support each other.

More photos: click here


  1. I am learning so much through your wonderful photos and stories. It is all so interesting. Thanks for making it come alive for us!

  2. Your story of the town reminds me of the book POLAR DREAM: The First Solo Expedition by a Woman and Her Dog to the Magnetic North Pole by Helen Thayer. She walked to the North Pole when she was 50.

  3. What a life up there! I loved the pictures of mothers and their babies in the backpacks. I am wondering that it must be dangerous to catch whales on such tiny boats!