Nunavut for Blogophilia 29.5

Most people probably never heard of Nunavut, the newest Canadian Territory in the Arctic, as of April 1, 1999, when it separated from  the Northwest Territories. Bernie and I spent a week there in August, 1999.

The flight from Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut,  to Cape Dorset, on the western side of Baffin Island  took just over an hour. We flew on a large plane, with only six passenger seats. We were the only passengers. The rest of the plane held cargo.

We had arranged for a tour guide which included the rental of a beach house, breakfast on our own lunch and dinner with Kristina and family.  Often others dropped in for dinner  One was Norman Hallendy, a delightful man.

Travel in that part of the world is by small plane, depending on the weather, of course. And that was the problem.

On the day we were scheduled to fly back to Ottawa, from Cape Dorset, via the capital of Numavut, Iqaluit, fog  rolled in. We were packed and ready to go. But our tour guide called and told us the scheduled morning flight would not be arriving due to the weather. As well, she was busy planning for the next tour group so we were on our own. I called the airlines to re schedule connecting flights, called the hotels in Ottawa and Iqaluit,  to re book our accommodations.. We were told the flight might go later in the day, weather permitting.

When we took a walk,. the townspeople knew who we were since we were the only tourists at the time in CapeDorset  The big debate was   whether we would get out that day.

The “streets” in both Iqaluit and Cape Dorset are like sand pits with puddles of mud, not pavement.

The town of CapeDorset held many attractions with  no lack of what to do. Everywhere we went the weather was the topic of discussion. At the visitors centre we met the agent at the airport who we had been speaking to on the phone. He recognized us before we had a chance to introduce ourselves.

For dinner that night  we went to the hotel restaurant, the only restaurant and it appears there are still no restaurants in CapeDorset . Again, no lack of company as the people we met knew who we were and inquired who else in town we had met. The town was truly a community and we became part of it.

The next day, more fog, plus rain. When the planes don’t fly, groceries and supplies are not delivered.. We again visited the Northern Store but the lunch I had picked out the day before was all gone. All the good luncheon choices had been sold. The shelves were almost bare. I don’t remember what I ended up with.  We returned to the house we were renting and called the airline again. No flights this day. Maybe tomorrow. We unpacked some of our stuff, and called the hotels again. Panic set in. At this point it was becoming critical. If we did not leave soon, we would not be able to connect to Ottawa as the flights from Iqaluit to Ottawa are reduced over the week end. This was Thursday

Our host called. We agreed to take a boat trip after lunch since we knew if, and a big if, a plane flew that day it would be in late afternoon at the earliest. I was convinced we would spend the winter on Baffin Island.

This, my friends, is the Canadian Northern experience. Life is dependant on the weather, be it to hunt, to tour, to travel or to deliver supplies to the community. It is a lifestyle completely foreign to southern Canada.

After lunch our host picked us up and we took a boat trip to an island where 1,000 year old ruins are still evident. It was foggy, it was raining. We would not leave this day

We walked on the land. Boomerangs are not used to hunt birds in the Artic. The areas which are not rocks consists of  spongy soil  since only the top layers defrosts (leading to a legion of other problems).

We returned to the house and our host invited us for a goose dinner that evening, “if you’re still here.” I had no doubt we would be.

After a nap, I awoke to dress for dinner. The time was 5:15. The phone rang. it was the airline advising us to be at the airport in half an hour. We would get out this night. We packed, we called our host for a ride, but of course, she already knew the plane was going. No goose, I had really looked forward to dinner. On previous nights we had Artic Char (caught that day) and Caribou (twice).

At the airport anxious people waited. The plane! the plane! It arrived safely, we boarded and took off. Couldn’t see a thing out the window. An hour and ten minutes later we landed in Iqaluit. We relaxed, had a fine dinner at the hotel and caught our flight to Ottawa the next day.

Iqaluit is  fascinating. The population as of 2011 is 6,700 . Right now there are five hotels in the town, an addition of one since our trip.

Later we were told the next group did not arrive on that night after all. They flew in the next morning for their long delayed trip. And they had another weather delay on their trip home. The weather dictates.

Include two rules set in the Calcio Fiorentino Game
1. There are no rules
2. except for no kicking in the face or head
3. 27 players on a sand pit field

Our pics from the trip are in the house someplace. So government site ones will have to do for here.

The legislature building in Iqaluit which was still under construction at the time of our visit

the map seems pretty clear

written for

Blogophilia week 29.5 – “Puddles and mud”

 Bonus Points:

(Hard, 2pts): Include two rules set in the Calcio Fiorentino Game

(Easy, 1pt): Mention a boomerang

This entry was posted in Blogophilia, Cape Dorset, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Nunavut for Blogophilia 29.5

  1. I’ve heard of Baffin Island, but never really gave any thought that people actually lived there. What made you want to spend a week there?

  2. trev says:

    what an exciting trip Sue…. I have to take my hat off to the people that live so high up in Canada… the weather is the only thing you can rely on in such remote areas Sue…. as you was describing the wait for the flight home and then suddenly having to scramble at the last minute… you was all huddled in that small air port with the fog barely letting in the plane… I thought of the air port scene in Casablanca, where Bogart saw his girl fly off into the foggy night…. don’t you hate it when everything goes to plan on a trip ….. its the unpredictability that makes the trip worth while and memorable…. I would live to do a trip like this… you write so well, that I felt I was right there with you both… brilliant… xxx

  3. Chuck says:

    I think I would enjoy visiting – I don’t suppose they have any ski hills if I were to visit a bit later in the year??

  4. Liam says:

    hmm never heard of it before. good post.

  5. Marvin says:

    Fascinating! Really sounds like an interesting place to visit, especially the people they seem so hospitable unlike some places I have visited! 8 points Earthling! 🙂

  6. Sounds like an interesting trip! Though i might have panicked too t the end!

  7. bluerose says:

    Wow, that reall does sound like a different way of life! How interesting 🙂

  8. crazypjs says:

    You have some of the most interesting places in your blogs! I almost feel like I get to go with you in them, although, I glad I wasn’t along for this one, delays always sets me on edge. I sure sounds like a lovely place.

  9. PoppySilver says:

    Wonderful! Sounds lovely…descriptive post, enjoyed this 🙂

  10. Wow, it sounds so beautiful there…..would love to visit northern Canada and snap some breathtaking pictures. I’m sure it would take a LOT of getting used to, the part about being completely dependent upon the weather. After not having to worry about snow for 25 years living in South Florida, I’m about to get a little taste of that again in Virginia. (I’m actually looking forward to it…. I think, lol)

    I’ll bet those freshly caught dinners were absolutely DELICIOUS! 😉

  11. Diana J says:

    Sounds like you had an interesting time. Great post.

  12. Blue fool says:

    Brr! I never venture further north than the 45th parallel

  13. Chickee says:

    I might have enjoyed being delayed other than the fear of supplies not being able to get to the town either. =)

  14. Lee S Brooks says:

    Sounds like an interesting, if not a little frustrating, trip.
    I think I’ll stick with the warmer climates for my vacations!

  15. like this says:

    Not what I was looking for but excellent anyway! Congrats!

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