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2019 Arctic Expedition: Day 9

Today the expedition team landed at Qiajivik (Coutts Inlet), Nunavut on the northeastern arm of Baffin Island. Elders onboard took to the land first with a blessing. After all the students and staff arrived on the beach, a diversity of workshops and activities began ranging from learning about sod houses with historian David Gray and archaeologist Lesley House; collecting, identifying and pressing plants with botanist Roger Bull; ocean science with Oksana, Daniele and Bianca; singing with Jimmy Uqittuq; bannock making and tea with Joanna Awa, Val Courtois and Becky Mearns; photography and scavenger hunt with Tony Devlin; a rock walk with Thomas Hadlari; shorebird identification workshop with Alannah Kataluk-Primeau and Qajaaq and paddle boarding with Maligiaq and Rob Comeau; fishing; and a hike to a waterfall.

(c) Kim Aubut Demers/SOI Foundation

The team returned to ship for lunch and more workshops continued in the afternoon led by Parks Canada staff and elders from the community of Mittimatalik including sewing, throat singing, seal skinning, drum dancing, wildlife observation and story telling with author Arvaarluk Kusugak.

We bid farewell to our Parks Canada and Mittimatalik community guests with much gratitude for sharing their time, their knowledge, and their lands with us.

To end the day, we enjoyed a feast on the back deck of the ship with dancing, followed by performances by student Jesse Byrne who sang an original song with James Raffan and singer-songwriter Ian Tamblyn. Jean Jaw and Annie Petaulassie performed an action song (Qabiiq) which is made to make people laugh. Toby Theriault also performed an original song with Ian Tamblyn called “The Broken Leg Blues” that she wrote in Ian’s songwriting workshop. Jimmy Uqittuq, Tukumminnguaq Olsen, Ulaayu Pilurtuut, Alaku Kulula, Pat, Shelton Nipisar and Luana Moar performed an Ukpatikkaakangukua, which is also an action song.

Read about the student/staff reflections below and follow our journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Next stop…Arctic Bay!

Participant Blogs

Bill Pan, student
Richmond, BC, Canada

The past few days have been very busy, filled with sights to see and activities to do. Yesterday we visited Pond Inlet and Sirmilik National Park. Pond Inlet is a small community on Baffin Island, it was our first stop back in Canada. In Pond Inlet, we were able to walk around the community and explore. It was interesting to experience life in this remote northern community. We also got to experience Inuit cultural performances and visit a few shops in the town. A highlight for me was visiting the grocery store and seeing how different it is when compared to the grocery stores I am used to. The grocery store in Pond Inlet gave me a bit of sticker shock when I realized how expensive groceries are up here in the north.

We departed Pond Inlet around lunch and headed to Sirmilik National Park, which is a short ship ride away on Bylot Island. Sirmilik National Park is one of the biggest but least visited parks in the National Park system. It is amazing being able to go to a National Park that receives little over 200 visitors each year. The park was very cool, there were mountains covered in glaciers and we even got to walk on a glacier. The highlight for me at Sirmilik was drinking the glacier water after hiking up to the glacier from the beach. The glacier water was very clean and cold. Another highlight was walking on the glacier and learning about the science behind glacier formation/melt. I also was able to take a lot of pictures of the scenery in Sirmilik, which includes towering mountains and vast valleys. Overall it was a very cool experience and I feel very fortunate being able to come to a place that not very many people are able to visit.

Chiara Concini, student
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing well. I am so sorry for missing a post yesterday, it was a very full day. Before I get into what has been going on, I figured I’d jump back to the evening of the 29th. On my way out of my cabin, I hurt my finger. We are lucky to have two great doctors on board! I got the finger taped up in no time! On a bit of a brighter note, yesterday we visited the community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut! After clearing customs, we were warmly welcomed on the sandy beach by members of the community who greeted us with tea! We looked around town, and then visited the community center. There, we got to see an amazing performance that featured throat singing and drum dancing. The whole event ended with a huge group square dance! Almost everyone there was on their feet. The energy in the room was absolutely amazing. 

After a late lunch, we visited Sirmilik National Park. We did this beautiful hike across an ice sheet and up to a glacier. It turns out that about a mere 50 years ago, the same glacier actually stretched all the way to the beach. Over time, it retreated about 2-3km up the beach. This was really hard to hear about, especially considering how quickly the glacier melted. At dinner yesterday, I had the chance to try……. NARWHAL! The whale was raw, and it was prepared by a great team of students who instructed us to dip them in soy sauce and then eat them. The texture was surprisingly chewy, it took a while to get through both layers of the whale. 

Something I didn’t mention earlier is that we are now in polar bear territory. Today, I got up quickly to go out on the deck and scan the shore for bears. Sadly no luck. 

After breakfast, we visited a beautiful place called Coutts Inlet. There was an amazing view of the mountains and a few glaciers. On the beach, we started a fire and cooked some bannock. It was delicious. It is true, everything tastes better when it is cooked on the land. 

This afternoon we had another round of workshops. I went up on deck and watched for whales. I ended up seeing six bow whales!

The most surprising part of the day was getting a call from the Edmonton Journal. One of the reporters, Ms. Janet French, wanted to do a phone interview with me! I would recommend staying tuned for that article in the next few days 🙂 After supper, we all had a huge dance party outside on the deck. It was a total blast! Tomorrow, we head north to Arctic Bay!  – C 

c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

Danielle Crowley, student
Staten Island, NY, United States

Home, sweet home, oh how I miss you! I apologize for not blogging the past few days, I was slightly seasick crossing the Davis Strait and I had a horrid headache yesterday but I am back with a full recap!

Three Days Ago:(Afternoon)

After I left off on the 28th, we ate lunch and boarded the zodiacs for our landing in Uummannaq. Once there, we went inside this small, very old, church. Here we were welcomed by a violin performance, done by some of the older children from a children’s home, some throat singing, andsome drum dancing. This experience was so so special. It’s the moments like those that get savored because nobody will ever experience that moment like we did. Leaving the church, there was this small building with lots of cool art and historical scene recreations. This house was so special because upstairs it had this beautiful whale sculpture made out of lights, and a small radio playing whale noises. It was stunning. Moving right along through town I was able to go through the children’s home and see how beautiful it was, and go and visit the house of a local whose house was beautifully decorated with lots of traditional decor. Lastly, I wandered around Uummannaq with my friend, Rose, in search of souviners. Sadly, there wasn’t a single shop open, but we did get to speak to some locals which was an extremely nice experiece. In closing the night, everyone shared their highlights of the day, where we found out two of the SOI staff members are now engaged, and my friend, Rose, performed a song that she wrote on this expedition during the songwritting workshop. 

Two Days Ago:
Crossing the Davis Strait. Wow. Talk about seasickness. I do have to pat myself on the back though because I didn’t physically get sick at all! I felt dizzy and naseous throughout the day here and there, but I pushed through and still had a great day. To start we did morning isuma workshops, I chose to do linocut but didn’t have a  chance to finish so I will be returning to that one. Following the workshops we had a choice between three panel discussions, surprise surprise Danie chose the climate change panel. This panel was super interesting and informational and actually gave me a lot of ideas of what I can bring home and implement. After lunch we had thesecond annual Students On Ice Amazing Race. This meant that each pod had to work together and basically do a scavenger hunt around the ship going back and forth to different stations. Once you completed ten stations your pod had to go to the bridge on the boat and blare the horn. Sadly, my pod did not win, we came in 3rd place. During the race we did a bottle drop which was really cool, I wonder if and where my bottle will be discovered. After the race we all gathered in the hub, or main meeting room that has a stage, and played a few traditional games. Leg wrestling started, and if it weren’t for the staff breaking up the fun, we probably would’ve leg wrestled all night. I won my match against my former roommate from Universityof Ottawa, I guess I had lots of training from L.O.V camp all those summers ago. In closing the night we had category dinner, where each table had a discussion category– surprise, surprise Danie sat at the climate change table–and finished off the night with a bedtime story from one of the elders.

Mittimatalik was not what I was expecting. Upon arrival we were taken to a few different convinence stores–no souviners still– the library, and then we went to the community center for a welcoming ceremony. It was beautiful. There was  drum dancing, throat singing, traditional games, and more. Closing the ceremony the indigenious people pulled us all up for square dancing. This moment was so intimate and beautiful. All of us connecting and dancing and just embracing our time together was so beautiful. After heading back to the boat for lunch, we reboarded the zodiacs for our second landing of the day at Sirmilik National Park for some workshops. I chose the hike to the glacier and got to actually walk on ice on the way there. We were students on ice for once. It was beautiful. I got to take lots of pictures, soak in the view, and fill my water bottle with glacier water. Glacier water is delicious by the way. In closing the landing, I bent over to look at a rock and my water bottle tumbled out of my bag and into a fast moving stream. In an instant, with my camera on my neck and my bag on my back I raced after it, and caught it, but filled my boots with mud and water all the way up to my knees. I couldn’t let my glacier water–nor my over-priced water bottle-  just float away like that.

Waking up this morning I have come to the sad conclusion that it is laundry day :(. I miss not having responsibilities like these. On  the bright side, we went to shore in Kinngaarjuk and got to pick more workshops. Like yesterday, I chose the hike. This time we hiked to a beautiful waterfall where we dunked our heads in and, once again, filled our water bottles. I didn’t, however, drop mine in this time, but the water here is amazing. After that we got a tour of an archeological site of indigenous sod houses and other cool artifacts. Right now is power hour, and in the afternoon we’ll be doing more workshops that I will tell you more about tomorrow. i have to go do laundry now sadly.

I love and miss you all so so much, I am working hard to find souviners to bring home to you–sadly no luck so far–but I can’t wait to see you all again I hope all is well, 419 I love you. Talk to you soon. <3

Eyglo Sturludottir, student
Kópavogur, IS, Iceland


Ég veit að það er smá tími síðan ég bloggaði seinasta en ég vona að þau séu búin að birta hin bloggin sem ég hef skrifað, þau eiga að vera þrjú. Það er svo mikil dagskrá hérna að ég hef aldrei tíma til að blogga. Flestir dagar byrja klukkan 7 og það seinasta á dagskránni er búið klukkan svona 10:45 og svo er ”curfew” klukkan 11 þannig það er mjög lítill frítími. En ég er að reyna mitt besta og ég segi bara frá restinni þegar ég kem heim. Þau eru búin að birta myndbandið síðan ísjakinn valt og þeir notuðu viðtalið við mig þannig vonandi eru þið búin að sjá það. Þið getið séð þegar ísjakinn valt sem er ekkert smá flott. 29.júlí var mikill öldugangur og mjög margir urðu sjóveikir en ég er alveg búin að sleppa við það sem betur fer. Við sigldum yfir Davis Strait þann dag þannig við fórum ekkert í land.  Eftir workshops um morguninn og pallborðsumræður eftir hádegismat fórum við í ratleik. Við áttum að vera í búningum sem var ekki auðvelt þar sem allir voru bara með útivistarföt en við þurftum bara að láta það sem við komum með okkur duga. Við þurftum að leysa þrautir og allskonar þannig og liðið sem var fyrst að leysa þrautirnar þurfti að fara upp til skipstjórans og ýta á takkann sem blæs í hornið á skipinu til að láta hina hópana vita að þeir unnu. Auðvitað vann liðið mitt og við blésum í hornið í örugglega góðar 5 mínútur. Þegar við vorum að bíða eftir að allir hóparnir týndust inn í samkomusalinn burjuðu nokkrir í Inúítaleik sem er í rauninni keppni á milli tveggja aðila um hvor er sterkari og hraðari. Fyrst vorum við bara nokkur en svo byrjuðu allir að týnast inn og fleiri fóru að taka þátt og allir voru að hvetja og svona. Þannig þetta var mjög skemmtilegur dagur um borð jafnvel þótt sumir höfðu verið veikir fyrr um daginn. 30.júlí fórum við í bæ sem heitir Pond Inlet. Leiðsögumaður sýndi okkur allan bæinn og við enduðum í félagsheimilinu þeirra þar sem þau sungu hefðbundin lög, léku leiki og dönsuðu. Í lokinn héldu tveir SOI starfsmenn tónleika og við vorum öll að dansa og syngja með fólkinu sem býr í bænum sem var mjög skemmtilegt. Eftir hádegismat vorum við á leiðinni í Surmillik National Park þannig við fengum kynningu frá starfsmönnum Parks Canada um öryggi í kringum ísbirni. Það sást í einn ísbjörn fyrr um daginn en ég er ekki persónulega búin að sjá neinn. Það eru einungis um 50-200 gestir sem fá að fara í þennan þjóðgarð á hverju ári þannig við erum mjög heppin að fá að fara þangað og skoða jökulinn sem er þar. Við þurftum að labba í tæpan klukktíma frá ströndinni til að komast að honum en fyrir nokkrum árum byrjaði jökullinn á ströndinni þannig ég gat séð mjög greinilega áhrif loftlagsbreytinga þar. Í dag fórum við í land á stað sem heitir Coutts Inlet. Það er frábært veður úti og allir eru a stuttermabolnum og með sólarvörn. Í Coutts Inlet eru rústir frá því að pínulítið Inúítasamfélag bjó þar alveg þar til 1950 áður en þau voru neydd til þess að flytja í burtu, þannig við fengum að skoða það og læra um fornleifafræði. Svo máttum við líka velja aðrar ”workshops” og fara í göngu upp að foss sem var aðeins lengra í burtu, eina leiðinlega við workshops er að þurfa að velja á milli þeirra og ákveða hvað þú vilt gera.  Rétt í þessu var verið að tilkynna að það er hvalur fyrir utan skipið þannig ég fór hlaupandi út eins og allir hinir til þess að reyna að sjá hann. Málið er samt að þú sérð bara rétt svo í bakið á þeim og svo sérðu vatnið sem spýtist upp þegar þeir anda þannig það er ekkert voða mikið að sjá. Þetta er í þriðja skiptið sem við sjáum hvali og ég er hætt að reyna að taka myndir af þeim og reyni frekar bara að njóta þess að horfa á. 

India Tory, student
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Hello! The past three days have been such a crazy mix of stuff…

On Monday (July 29) we stayed on the boat all day because we were crossing the Davis Strait. I think I already wrote about the morning on my last post… But I will repeat it quickly anyways. In the morning I continued my headband making (I think it looks really good but my stitching is so bad). After that we got to listen to some staff and students at panel discussions. I started at the climate change one and then went to the indigenous culture one. I am glad that I went to both and got to hear from all the different people. In the afternoon, we did an amazing race competition around the boat. My group is called Uppik which means snowy owl, so we wore towels and made masks out costume. We did not know another group had already finished so we thought we won but we actually came 6th or 7th… It was still a lot of fun though.

Yesterday (July 30) we went on land again! To Pond Inlet – Mittimat. This is the first Canadian community we have visited. During our tour we went into the coop store and it was interesting how different some of the prices were… some people also prepared some local performances for us and then some musicians from  our boat played and everyone danced. Normally I do not like dancing, but this was fun. In the afternoon we boated across to Sirmilik National Park. I went for a short walk from the water to the glacier. It was crazy because they were about 2.5km apart yesterday, but around 40 years ago the ice went all the way to the ocean. The landscape kind of reminds me of BC, but it is also waaay different at the same time.

This morning, we went to a (relatively) nearby place called Coutts Inlet (Kinngaarjuk). It was a really special trip because we were joined by people from Pond Inlet who had family at Coutts Inlet in the past. To be able to hear about life in Coutts Inlet from a man whose father was raised there and almost died there was really special. There were also remains of their sod houses that we looked at and learned about. Instead of hiking again today, I walked around with the botanist and learned about his work and the plants in the arctic. By the time we zodiaced back to the ship, I was only wearing a tshirt. Pretty cool! This afternoon we are going to do more workshops on the boat…!!

c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

Leonie Steigenberger, student
Lake Country, BC, Canada

Two days ago, we sailed over the Davis Strait and back into good old Canada, woohoo! Many people were seasick, but I was actually totally okay (knock on wood, and bring that good karma, as Geoff would say:)). During the second night of sailing, the waves were rocking the boat, so everything was flying around our cabin, and the boat rocked us to sleep. Yesterday I did the coolest oceanography workshop in a zodiac boat at Sirmilik National Park in Nunavut. Bianca, Daniele, and Oksana, three accomplished international scientists, took the zodiac out onto the ocean where we used a variety of tools like a Secci disk, a YSI, and a CTV Castaway to test various different factors contained in the water. Then we also collected some zooplankton samples (Capopods and Hydrozoroids were just some of the fascinating organisms we found) to look at under the microscope back onboard the ship.

Yesterday we also visited the community of Pond Inlet, and some community members invited us into their town hall for a cultural performance. Something that really stood out to me was the challenges that people face up here in the north, whether that be the weather in the winter, or the incredibly high cost of food at the grocery store. Life up here is truly very different from back home in the Okanagan, and I have already learned so much from this entire experience, and I believe it will shape who I am in the future.

Today we landed in Coutts Inlet, probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The towering cliffs guarded the glistering ocean. I was lucky enough to be able to go kayaking and standup paddle boarding in this incredible place high above the Arctic circle. We were completely immersed in the moment, the waves gently lapping against the shore, the salt water glistering in the beautiful sun, the birds circling high above. Words can’t describe these incredible hours we spent in this stunning landscape, you need to be there and capture your surroundings with all five senses to really grasp the vastness and freedom of the land.

Something that is contributing to the sense of freedom up here is the complete lack of phones and social media. The first couple days it was strange to be so cut off from family, friends, and the rest of society. Now it is a relief to just really get away from it all, enjoy the moment, and connect with the people around you. The magic on the ship is really this desire to learn peoples’ stories and share knowledge, and to live in the moment without feeling the urge to post or share about it online. This has really allowed me to reevaluate the role of technology in my life, and what I will change once I return home. Life with our loved ones is so precious, and phones have stolen our attention from so many moments that could’ve become memories.

Familie zuhause, ich liebe euch sehr! Ich hoffe es geht euch gut, und ihr habt einen guten Sommer ohne Rauch. Ich freue mich mit euch alles zu teilen, und euch die Bilder zu zeigen. Diese Reise hat mir schon viel gelert, danke! Liebe euch sehr, sehr, doll, Leonie

Oksana Dryden, student
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Pity, it seems I forgot to send out a blog post yesterday. In my defence, I had a jam-packed day that had my eyes drooping dangerously during the nightly briefing. While the day before was lacklustre and provided multiple opportunities for blogging, my procrastinating capacities got the best of me. The 29th started off a little rocky; I woke up on wobbly knees with a bout of nausea. My very first time being seasick! Subsequently, my friend and I ascended to the lounge on the uppermost floor of the ship and rested on the floor to no avail. Only after I attended a workshop about Sàmi reindeer herding did I finally feel the dregs of seasickness wear off. I’ll admit it took some perseverance and optimism to make it through the day. Yesterday also started off on a sour note. In all the time zone confusion, I forgot to set my alarm for the morning energizer I was eager to participate in. However, the day got much better when I visited the glacier in Sirmilik National Park. Suddenly, glaciology became an appealing career path. Finally, today started off like any other: I begrudgingly woke up, hurried over to the dining room, and ate a glorious breakfast bathing in maple syrup. Shortly thereafter, we headed to land, where a number of educational workshops were offered. However, I had the chance to go kayaking (in traditional kayaks) and stand-up paddle boarding. I was outfitted in a dry suit and took to the freezing Arctic waters lickety split. Surprisingly, the part I enjoyed most was laughing as myself and others fell in, the gigantic mountains and tiny little specks (people) in the background creating a joyful panorama. 

Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, staff
Media & Communications Professional
Inari, Findland

Odne lea vissa gaskavahkku. Dáppe meara alde telefuvnnaid ja interneahta haga ii riekta dieđe mii beivviid lea!

Mii leat ollen ruovttoluotta Kanada beallái. Ikte iđđes galledeimmet gilážis, man namma lea Pond Inlet dahje inuihttagillii Mittimatalik. Logemat jagi dassái doppe orro 800 olbmo, muhto dál doppe orrot jo badjel beannot duhát olbmo. Gilis ledje moadde borramušgávppi, girjerádju, kulturviessu ja bensenstašuvdna. Muorradálut ledje olggosoaidnit dego min kämppät gárdde luhte Sarvvesčoalmmis. Gilážis (dego maid Kalaallit Nunaata Ilulissatis) ledje dievva beatnagat. Olbmot vuojašedje sáddogeainnuin njealljejuvlagiiguin. Oidnen ovtta njealljejuvlaga, man alde ledje guokte ollesolbmo ja 3 máná. Šiljuin ledje dievva skohterráiskkut. Ja oidnenba moadde ođđa skohterage.

Mittimatalika olbmot dolle midjiide konseartta doppe kulturviesus ja beasaimet gullat árbevirolaš lávluma ja čottalávluma, návddašit rumbudánsumis ja geahččat inuihtaid árbevirolaš stohkosiid ja spealuid. Nuoramus ovdanbuktit ledje sullii 2-5-jahkásaččat, muhto máhtte jo dánsut rumbbuin ja čottalávlut. 

Odneges finaimet báikkis, man namma lea eaŋgasgillii Coutts Inlet dahje inuihttagillii Kinngaarjuk. Odne lei hui fiinna dálki ja goalki (sáhttágo nu dadjat mearas?`) ja beaivváš gorddii lieggasit. 

Kinngaarjuk lea dološ inuihtaid orrunsadji ja doppe leat ain sin golmma darfe- ja geađgeorrunsaji bázáhusat, ja vel boares tealtábáikkiid bázáhusat. Inuihtat dien guovllus lávejedje hukset orrunsaji jorba vuođu geđggiin, maid gaskii bidje dakŋasa ja seinniide njuorjjonáhkki. Gáhttun orrunsajis lei njuorjjonáhkkis dahkkon tealtá, man ala bidje dakŋasiid ja vel nuppi njuorjjonáhkki ala. Orrunsaji siste ođđe dakŋasiid, jiekŋaguovžža duljiid ja karibu duljiid alde. Čuovgan ja málesteapmái geavahedje njuorjjooljolámppáid, mat ledje uksaguoras ja seaidneguoras guktuid beale geađgeviesu. Uvssa bajábealde lei njuorjjočoliin gorrojuvvon lássa.

Min mielde ledje eallilan olbmot ja nuorat Pond Inletis, geaid máttut orro gitta 1950-logu rádjai dan gáttis. Okta nuorain lea Jonathan, guhte bargá dál Kanada luonddumehciin. Su áhčči lei riegádan Kinngaarjuk. Jonathana eadni lei min mielde ja son muitalii, ahte ii leat fitnan Kinngaarjukas dan rájes go lei 15-jahkásaš.

Dušše inuihtat ieža ožžot mannat daid dološ orrunsajiid sisa lahka, ja mii earát fertiimet dušše geahččat daid guhkelabbos das guolbanis. Spihkastat leimme mun ja amerihkalaš studeanta Wolfe Padawer, daningo moai oassálastiimet arkeologalaš bargobádjái, man jođiheaddji, dutki David Gray láidestii min lagabui dološ orrunsajiid. Oinniimet earret eará beatnat- ja njuorjjooaiveskálžžu, reagaid bázáhusaid, boares lihttiid ja Primus-mašena sullii 1940-logus!

Kinngaarjukas eai leat goassege arkeologat roggan ja nuba buot diehtu báikki birra bođii inuihtaid eallilan olbmuin, geat ledje min mielde. Inuihtat fárrejedje Kinngaarjuk-gáttis eret, daningo inuihtat measta nelgo dan guovllus, go sis ii lean bivdolihku, ja go muhtin almmái beare vuoddjái beatnagiiguin iige goassege boahtán eret. 

Go jerren, ahte lávejitgo sii vel hukset árbevirolaš darfe- dahje geađgeorrunsajiid, nu vástádus lei ahte eai láve. Sii leat gal huksen dakkáriid ođđá gilážiidda vai mánát ja nuorat ohppet daid birra, ja turisttat sáhttet fitnat geahččamin daid. Inuihtat eai maid láve šat fitnat doppe Kinngaarjukas, daningo dat lea guhkin, sis leat váivves muittut dan báikkis ja go bárut lávejit leat nu stuorrá. 

Oppalohkái galledeapmi Kinngaarjukas lei hui erenoamaš ja bovttii dievva dovdduid. Ii sáhte go giitit inuihtaid, go bovdejedje min geahččát sin dološ orrunsaji!

(c) Kim Aubut Demers/SOI Foundation

Sara Charlton, student
Whitehorse, YT, Canada

The last two days visiting Mittimatalik (a.k.a. Pond Inlet) and Sirmilik National Park have been amazing,  both due to the breathtaking views as well as the opportunity to learn about the cultural aspects of the area. 

Yesterday morning was spent in Mittimaltalik where we got a tour of the community and went to a performance at the cultural centre. During the tour we went to the top of a small hill where there was a not-so-accurate sign post with the distances to different cities around the world. However, that wasn’t what caught my attention. It was the bench next to the sign that did. The bench was covered in messages like you’re beautiful and you’re funny along with so many more positive inscriptions. Looking at it I couldn’t help but smile. Later that day at the cultural centre just before heading back to the ship a few of the SOI staff members got on stage and started playing music. Almost everyone in the room got up and started dancing together. It was so much fun and the perfect way to work up an appetite to prepare for the delicious lunch waiting for us back at the ship. Thanks to the amazing crew! Some Parks Canada staff and Mittimatalik community members and elders came aboard the ship to join us for a few days.

We spent yesterday afternoon in Sirmilik National Park. We had the choice to hike up to the glacier or do a workshop on the beach. I chose to stay on the beach and do a workshop.  I wanted to do one with an elder from Mittimatalik to learn how to smoke caribou hide and learn more about the animal but it was full. I ended up doing the STG workshop with Dom again  which was so informative even the second time around! Because it was a little chilly we slowly tried to make our way the part of the glacier that could be seen from the beach but it was a lot further than it seemed and we weren’t allowed to go that far out. But again, that was fine because there was still a great view of the glacier, the ocean and the mountains across the water. We even got to show off our dance moves to keep warm! Overall it was a great day (but that isn’t a surprise).

This morning we went ashore in Sirmilik National park for the second time but in a different location. Once again we had the choice between different workshops and I chose the plant one with Roger. I learned a lot about about the plants in the area and how climate change will affect them in the future. It was really cool to hear about the different methods that plants use to keep warm (and that there are methods) from such a knowledgable person.  And, fun fact, as annoying as they are, mosquitos are pollinators! I also got to eat some Mountain Sorrel which was a delicious morning snack before taking a tour of the archeological site.

The site consisted mostly of sod houses but there was a lot of other small things that were pointed out to us along the way. I learned about how seal skin tents were used as shelter in the summer and how those same tents along with leather and more seal skin were used as roofing on the sod houses during the winter. We also were told briefly why people no longer live there which was very interesting. There was a few reasons and stories about why the area is no longer inhabited but one of the main reasons is because the Hudsons Bay Company set up a trading post in Mittimatalik.

Over all, the last two days have been super informative both culturally and scientifically and just generally awsome!

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This website was made possible by a generous contribution from the Leacross Foundation.