Today the 10th annual Nunavut Quest dog team race set off from the beginning point of Igloolik to the ending point of Arctic Bay. If all goes according to plan, the sledders should be arriving here in town on May 8th.
At school we have kicked the educational opportunities into high gear incorporating as much dog sled and dog team knowledge and activities into our lessons as possible gearing up to the sledders arrival.
I have been debating over the last couple of months on what gaming console I would like to get for next year to help pass the -50 degree weather and the darkness of the winter .... and can I say it has not been a easy decision making process.
Each system, the Wii, PS3 and XBox 360 each have their pro's and con's.... and if I had it my way, I would just get all three ... (don't worry, I won't).
So this is a shout out to all of you Northerners who already have one of these systems ... which one is best? And most importantly, which one won't make it so I have to buy a new TV? (I got the old fashion Audio / Video RCA input jacks on my TV - think Red, White, Yellow). Although, I am tossing around the idea of buying a new flat screen while down south .....
I am leaning more towards the PS3 as it does have many of the action/adventure games that I like to play .... but with the Wii there's more of the "physical" element involved .... and the XBox ... well ... it's Microsoft (and we all know how I feel about Microsoft).
Today we had a special meeting with all of the high school students to introduce to them (and to let them all know what will be going on here in town over the next several days) to the Inuit Truth Commission. The Truth Commission, commissioned by the QIA (Qikiqtani Inuit Association) has been traveling around to all 13 communities here in Baffin to explore allegations that thousands of Inuit sled dogs were slaughtered during the 50's, 60's and 70's as Inuit moved into towns from the land. The commission also wants people to share their recollections of Inuit and non-Inuit relations during the 50's, 60's and 70's, including their experiences of being forced to relocate into settlements, as well as related issues such as housing, health and education.
It was good for the Truth Commission to come in to speak with our students today as it gave them the opportunity to learn more about why The Commission was here in Arctic Bay and what they were hoping to achieve during their time here in public hearings.
For the last couple of weeks up here in Arctic Bay, The Northern and Co-Op have been pretty bare food wise, as both stores are waiting for cargo that is still in Iqaluit (as First Air can never find a plane to fly it up to us). So, this has forced me to be pretty inventive with what I have left in my sea lift .... and all I can say is that I am really sick and tired of tuna, ravioli and Kraft Dinner. Mind you, I love those three things .... it's just a little boring eating them all of the time.
While digging through the back of the freezer hoping that I had a steak hidden in there somewhere, I stumbled across a bag of scallops and shrimp .. this gave me a wonderful idea. Scallop and shrimp with elbow macaroni in a creamy Alfredo sauce with a side Caesar salad. And boy was it ever good. I live the high life here tonight folks .... fancy class meal!
Guess what I will also be having tomorrow for lunch at school?
Yahoooo!!!!! After nearly three weeks without any mail (and this is a hardship here in the North as we depend on our mail to not only keep us in the loop with southern news but also to keep us sane) a huge load of parcels arrived here in Arctic Bay today.
An' lo and behold! I had three boxes that I was waiting for! YAAAAAHHHHOOOOOO! I finally have Stargate: SG1 seasons 6&7 to keep me sane during hockey playoffs and the less than stellar weekend tv.
Up here in the Arctic things are moving along pretty normally. The weather is rather nice outside lately hovering around -15 with little wind (for the most part, although Friday was freaking windy and cold). The sun is up and shining from 4:30 am until 10:40 pm, yet we don't really get any darkness at night anymore. I have to say, it is pretty strange being able to be outside at 2:30am and not need a flashlight.
Tonight a group of us teachers (Darcy, Monty, Petra, Alesha, Paulette, Nick, April and myself) along with Barry and John (the Mounties) all got together for a turkey potluck supper as a send off to Barry and "a what ever other holiday we missed" gathering. We, as usual, had more food than what we knew to do with. Monty cooked a wonderful turkey (courtesy of Barry who provided the turkey and John who had the roasting pan), home made stuffing, broccoli salad, deviled eggs, bacon wrapped water-chestnuts, potatoes, rice, shrimp and an amazing desert spread of walnut-coconut pie, death by chocolate cupcakes and a marble cake. We dinned, talked, laughed, argued (kinda) over who was going to do dishes, watched a bit of the hockey game and just sat back and relaxed. All of us tomorrow will be having turkey sandwiches for lunch, as we were all sent home with left overs.
Now I'm just sitting back, relaxing watching The Simpsons.
There are others, but these are the two that we use up here in Arctic Bay.
** Update: These two might only work within Baffin, cause as Clare pointed out (thanks Clare) that Rankin is probably in a different shipping "alley / path" (ie: Winnipeg based) vs. Baffin (Montreal based) **
Saturday .... the sun is shining, it's only -5 and it's a beautiful day out. Blue skies for as far as the eye (and camera lens) can see. I set out early this afternoon out to the point (about a 45 minute walk across the sea ice) to get some pictures of the point and the cliffs behind. It was quite a nice walk out to the point (I'm guessing it was about 3km out from town). Along the way I passed some of the dog sled teams getting ready to take their dogs out for a run, several skidooers and some of my little kids (who came running across the ice to pounce me and ask where I was headed off to).
After a while, and several songs later (as I always have to have music while out hiking) I made it out to the point. The sight was breath taking. Deep blue skies in contrast with the red rock and vivid white snow. A true view of the North. While standing there, taking in the view and snapping pictures a skidoo loaded with some of my students towing a quamutiiqqamutiik qamutik with another one of my students and Ron passed by. We waved and shouted hello to each other as they drove around the corner. I kept walking out and eventually rounded the corner where they were stopped taking pictures. We chatted for a while and agreed that it was a beautiful day out - especially for getting pictures and touring. That's where today's adventure started ... as my student (David) asked if I wanted to join them in their ride around the bay towards Victor bay to see the North.
Off I hoped onto the qamutiiqqamutiik qamutik with Ron and Simon and off we all took off. We stopped several times along the way for picture taking and stretches. The last time I was in this area of Arctic Bay, it was from above. I thought the views of the cliffs from above were amazing, from below looking up it was even more amazing.
We continued driving on top of the frozen ocean ice (which to me, is still mind boggling, even after walking, skidooing and riding a qamutiiq across it. As we rounded the outer point, you could see for kilometers on end. A frozen highway waiting to be explored.
After driving for another hour, we stopped for a quick meal (as everyone was getting a little nippish). We feasted on Mr. Noodles, Beef Jerky, Recess Peanut-Butter Cups ... and of course, hot tea (a must have when out on the land). Once everyone had their fill and were warmed up again, David, Simon and Joanna decided to go ptarmigan hunting while Ron and I went off for a hike to explore the shore line.
After an hour of walking around and talking about life up in the Arctic, David came by on his skidoo to let us know that everyone was heading back to the qamutiiqqamutiik qamutik to get ready to head on back to town.
The ride back to town was quite relaxing, the wind at our backs and the sun in our faces. I just sat back and soaked it all in.
I have only begun to scratch the surface of this amazing part of Nunavut .... can't wait to see more of it.
After a nice three day trip to Iqaluit I am back home in Arctic Bay - and is it ever nice to be back. The flight back to Arctic Bay from Iqaluit was a packed flight (unlike the wonderfully empty one I took down). Although packed, it was quite uneventful. I spent most of the time staring out the window listening to music in a half-awake daze (didn't have my three cups of coffee before getting on the plane, as I hate airplane bathrooms).
Now I am just going to enjoy the rest of my weekend, plan for Monday's classes and enjoy the last remaining hours of darkness before the light-season begins.
This years Skills Canada's competition is over. Everyone had a great time showcasing their talents and meeting up with others from across Nunavut.
Today most groups were to be leaving Iqaluit today ... however, mother nature decided to throw us a nice "blizzard" at 2:00 pm. Everyone (especially the teachers) went on high "air alert" around 3:00 wondering if any flights were going to be heading out. At 3:20 pm we got the bad news that most of the flights out were canceled and that everyone had to re-check into their rooms (luckily, my group was originally scheduled to depart Saturday... so we weren't involved in the chaos of this afternoon).
With any luck, we will get out on tomorrow's flight and not have to wait until Monday to catch the next flight up .... hope for good weather for all of us everyone!
We made it to Iqaluit! A little later than planned (as we were an hour late leaving Nanisivik due to a lack of fuel), but we are here! And it was quite a nice flight down too! Every other time I have been on a First Air flight leaving or going to Nanisivik, the plane has always been packed full ... and consequently, quite nosey. Today's flight. Five passengers. It was very relaxing.
I spent much of my time reading "All Families are Psychotic" by Douglas Coupland (A very entertaining book .... I"m almost done it! Looks like I'm going to have to acquire new reading material soon), listening to tunes on the iPod and having my brain stumped by Linear Thinking problems courtesy of our MLA.
While in the air though, I did find myself (while listening to music) gazing out the window watching the world go by. And it hit me - I am practically at the top of the World. How many people can say that they have seen what the land looks like at the top of the World and live there too?? How lucky am I to be able to experience this??!! And, to be able to share it with my southern family, friends and colleagues, and readers from around the world.
Being up here in the North, at times, is mind boggling - as in "I can't believe I am living in, exploring and experiencing one of Canada's final frontiers, and learning about a culture and way of life that I have only ever been exposed to on TV or through books". I know this might sound weird, but I'm still finding it hard that I've been living in the North for almost 8.5 months! At times it feels like I've lived up here forever; other times, like I've just arrived.
Since it appears that Rob and I are in a friendly "war" for first place in the current Nunavut Nonsense Challenge, Say Good Bye to the Night, it's time for you all to head on over to Nunavut Nonsense and vote if you haven't already.
I can't let a fellow East-Coaster beat me without a fight! :-) ... it's NB vs. NS .... let the best province win (lol).
Well, our flight was canceled today :-( .... but on the bright side, we have been automatically booked on tomorrows flight at 12:30pm (since when does First Air fly out of Nanisivik on a Wednesday??!!). Why was your flight canceled Kennie? Well readers, according to First Air, there is a blizzard going on here in Arctic Bay / Nanisivik. Uh .... no? It's clear blue skies outsdie today.
Looking at the radar image of the area, there is a little bit of activity in the sky, but not a blizzard. If this is a blizzard ... what on Earth is it when it really snows?
After spending six years living and teaching in the Canadian Arctic (Nunavut and Yukon), I returned to the Maritimes to work at my Alma Mater, The University of New Brunswick, as the Media Lab Supervisor with the Centre for Enhanced Teaching and Learning. At the Media Lab I help faculty and students learn how to use instructional and media technology in their classes and projects.