When P and I met we shared our dream of going to the north, of visiting Baffin Island. We sailed into the bay, got on the zodiacs and set foot on the land. Andrew Qappik, who designed the Nunavut flag told us that the gold colour was for the land which was like gold to them. It provided food and a place to live.
Before we went out an advance party always went ashore to check for danger - whether it was the amount of ice or to see if polar bears were present. We were accompanied by staff who had rifles in case of unexpected visitors. Fortunately these were just precautionary.
Moraine left by the retreat of a glacier
The farther north we went, the more barren the countryside - but each area had its beauty - the mountains on Baffin Island with glaciers, the flowers, the cliffs of Bylot Island with the bird colonies, the exposed rock on so many mountains as growth was sparse. Mountains were carved by glaciers, by erosion. The constant in the Arctic is change, though change is slow.
Sphagnum Moss - it offers a spongy, uneven surface on which to walk.
Will it always be slow? There are signs of change due to the climate, of sparser ice, of permafrost melts in some areas, of polynyas not forming. Then there are the mining and oil and gas companies who see profits, not the fragile environment. If the Northwest Passage becomes more accessible will increased shipping lead to oil spills and contamination. Cleanup in this area would be near impossible, with harsh temperatures, ice and such slow decomposition. The more I travel, the more I understand how inter-related our planet is, how what happens in one place affects others. We have to take our stewardship of the planet seriously.