Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Cape Dorset Blogger

The new blog is The Arctic Adventures of an American in Nunavut.
I am a bit embarrassed that I found out about this new Cape Dorset blog from reading a blog in Pangnirtung and I even work with her partner "D". She is originally from Colorado and her partner "D" is originally from Pangnirtung. Her blog recounts the new experience of living in a northern community and trying to find a job. Check out her blog and leave a warm welcome.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Another Christams is here!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nunavut Coat of Arms and Flag

I had an anonymous commenter on the previous blog post who stated the polar bear was on our coat of arms. That was incorrect and I did correct this person in the comment section. That of course led me to a couple of ideas for blog post. One was a post about anonymous commenter’s but that would have been a very negative post. The other was how many people don't know what the coat of arms or Nunavut flag is and the meaning of both. I chose the more positive of the two ideas.

Armorial Bearings

Centralized by a circular shield of blue and gold divided by a horizon, the colors themselves represent the riches of Nunavut's land, sea and sky. Above the horizon sits the Niqirtsuituq, or the North Star. In a land of few natural landmarks and bearing markers, the North Star was vital for navigation. The star also symbolizes the leadership of the elders of the territory. The five gold circles beneath the star represent the sun as it arches above and below the horizon. In a land where the days and nights can be months long, the sun is a renewal of life when it reappears in the spring.

The Inuksuk, which means 'like a human' in Inuktitut, represents the stone markers used for centuries by the Inuit as navigational landmarks and to mark sacred and special places. The qulliq, an Inuit stone lamp, represents light during the long winter darkness and also symbolizes the warmth and reliance on family and the community.

Coat of Arms

Set atop the armorial bearings is an iglu (or igloo), which represents the traditional life of the Inuit and their ability to survive in such a hostile environment. Above the iglu is the Royal Crown, representing Nunavut's inclusion in Confederation.

The tuktu (or caribou) and the qilalugaq tugaalik (or narwhal) which support the shield represent the reliance of the Inuit on the land and sea for their survival. They are part of the natural heritage of the Inuit. The animals stand on a base of land and Arctic sea. Three varieties of Arctic plant life are also included.

The Motto of Nunavut (which means 'Our Land'), written in Inuktitut and translates as Nunavut Sanginivut, means 'Nunavut, Our Strength'.

Nunavut Flag

Simple by design, the flag of the newest territory, Nunavut, represents so much. The gold symbolizes the riches of the land while the blue symbolizes the riches of the sea and sky. The white, of course, represents the Arctic landscape; in conjunction with the red, also represents Canada's two official colors.

The inuksuk, which, in Inuktitut, means 'like a human', is a stone marker and monument, used for centuries to guide the Inuit across the barren Arctic tundra or to mark sacred and special places. The star is the Niqirtsuituq, or North Star, used for centuries as a point of navigation. It also represents the leadership of the elders.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lots of Polar Bears

There has been a large number of polar bears in the community this year. Three bears have been shot in the town in the last couple weeks. All were defensive kills as the bears were among the houses with people present. I have heard rumours there are 17 bears hanging around outside the community. Since my snowmobile is broken down (parts are coming) I haven’t been able to get for photos. The ones below were taken by Vimal one of the nurses. I have to admit I’m very jealous of the photos he has taken. Hope he doesn’t mind I played with them in Photoshop. Hope to have some of my own photos of bears soon.

Climate Change

I live in the Arctic.

It is December.

It has been raining since Friday!

On Saturday night, when I arrived at the weekly poker game, one of the guys said I looked like a glazed donut.

Everything is covered in ice and very slippery.

Here’s hoping the cold weather and snow will return soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Northern Bloggers

During my blogging break a couple of new bloggers have started in the north.  One is in Western Nunavut and the other is in Eastern Nunavut. 

The first new blogger is Onwards Upwards.  She has left British Columbia to live in Cambridge Bay Nunavut.  The journey from south to north started in September for her and the blog recounts the excitement and stresses of making the move.  She is now fully moved in and the pets are safe.

The second blogger has two blogs.  The first one is !!HIRE YOUR OWN CHEF FOR A DAY!!  and after seeing the photos I now have to get a snack.  If you're in Iqaluit and need a caterer this is your lady.  The second blog is NANNY......NORTH...... and is Joyce's personal blog.  She is currently dealing with the death of a child and the post are very heart wrenching.    

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Lights

I was in Iqaluit last week for work and stayed at the Frobisher Inn. I was staying on the 4th floor over looking the front entrance instead of the bay. I took some photos of the Christmas lights from an angle most people won't see. I am planning to go around and take photos of the Christmas lights in Cape Dorset. There is a yearly competition for who has the best lights. Hope it is going on this year because last year there was some impressive displays.  Until then here are some photos from the Frobisher Inn.

Santa and the reindeer over the entry

Fooled ya it's a polar bear.

They had light trees on both sides of the entry.

I soon bored of taking normal photos and started playing with shaking and zooming the camera during the exposures.

I really like this one.  Looks like a flower.

This one is now the background on my laptop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've Returned

Sorry for my long absence form blogging but my heart just hasn’t been into it lately. But I should be back into the swing of things now. I haven't even been keeping up with everyone’s blogs for the last 2 months so I got tons of reading to catch up on.

I did get out Saturday night trying to take some photos of the meteor shower but had no luck. Either I was pointed the wrong way or between photos. I still got to see a few nice meteors even if I did strike out on getting a photo. I did get a nice photo of Orion and some very dim Northern Lights before the clouds closed in.  

When I first started taking photos at night in the depth of winters here I didn't know that the camera should be left in the bag until it gradually warms up. If you don't do this moisture can get inside the camera and mess things up and that is what may have happened to the camera. If I go longer than 15 seconds exposure I get a lot of red bleeding throughout the photo and lots of noise. Looks like a good excuse to purchase a new one! The old one still takes good photos during the day and will stay as my back up camera. Won't get a new one until after Christmas.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pretty Lights

I made it out last night to snap a couple of photos of the northern lights. I didn't get out soon enough and only got a few shots of the disappearing lights. We still have clear skies today so hopefully the lights will be back tonight and I will get better photos. According to Space Weather there should still be some tonight.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Water, Water, Water .....

Over the weekend I found out both water trucks in the community were broken down.  Thankfully I found out before laundry had been done.  Have been trying to conserve as much water as possible but we haven't had a delivery since last Thursday.  One truck is now running and is working 24-7 to try keeping up with the demand.  The photo below shows our tank in the house.  If you look towards the bottom were the strap is you should just see a line above it that shows how much water is left in the tank.  I figure there is a shower and a few flushes left before I'm out.

The two dark marks on the tank at the top left shows how much water is used when a load of laundry is done.  I think the two blue marks at the bottom shows the lowest level the water can be in order to suck it out of the tank.  I don't know for sure because the water has never been that low. 

Here's hoping for water delivery in the next 24 hours.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sun Transit

Here is a uniquely northern occurrence.

Twice yearly the sun in the northern skies will line up with the orbiting satellites and the signal from the satellites are drowned out by the solar particles. This will affect all satellite communications for up to 15 minutes a day from October 9th – 17th including television, cell phone and internet.

The schedules below come from Telesat Canada.

Iqaluit, Nunavut - Qikiqtaaluk Region

Date - Start Time - Duration
Oct. 9   – 19:19:49 – 5.2 min
Oct. 10 – 19:17:09 – 10 min
Oct. 11 – 19:15:53 – 12 min
Oct. 12 – 19:15:03 – 13.2 min
Oct. 13 – 19:14:36 – 13.6 min
Oct. 14 – 19:14:22 – 13.6 min
Oct. 15 – 19:14:45 – 12.4 min
Oct. 16 – 19:15:20 – 10.8 min
Oct. 17 – 19:16:56 – 7.2 min

Rankin Inlet, Nunavut - Kivalliq Region

Date - Start Time - Duration
Oct. 9 – 19:15:27 – 3.2 min
Oct. 10 – 19:12:11 – 9.2 min
Oct. 11 – 19:10:43 – 11.6 min
Oct. 12 – 19:09:41 – 13.2 min
Oct. 13 – 19:09:14 – 13.6 min
Oct. 14 – 19:09:00 – 13.6 min
Oct. 15 – 19:09:11 – 12.8 min
Oct. 16 – 19:09:46 – 11.2 min
Oct. 17 – 19:10:58 – 8.4 min

Cambridge Bay, Nunavut - Kitikmeot Region

Date - Start Time - Duration
Oct. 9 – 19:10:02 – 5.2 min
Oct. 10 – 19:07:22 – 10 min
Oct. 11 – 19:06:08 – 12 min
Oct. 12 – 19:05:17 – 13.2 min
Oct. 13 – 19:04:51 – 13.6 min
Oct. 14 – 19:04:38 – 13.6 min
Oct. 15 – 19:05:01 – 12.4 min
Oct. 16 – 19:05:37 – 10.8 min
Oct. 17 – 19:07:02 – 7.6 min

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Birds Eye View

My house is just to the left of center with the brown roof.  My parents purchased the building with the red roof to the left of mine.  My boss lives in the bigger house to the right of center with the grey roof.

Google earth is fun.


How about that for a title?

Wikipedia says Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus being perceived as significant.  Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in the clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.

Below is an example of Pareidolia I found in the rocks.  Do you see it?

Reminded me of Easter Island.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Whales and News

The Nunatsiaq News published one of my photos on their website.  Don't know if that means it will be in the actual paper but still cool.  First time one of my photos made it to a paper.  Of course it's only the first time I've sent photos in to a paper.  Go check it out.

Apparently it isn't up at the moment.  All you can see is a description of the photo and my name but it was up earlier so it should be up again later.   Or you can just go down the blog to an earlier post and the same photo is there.

Below are some photos taken Sunday from the beach.  Not much left of the whale now.

The skull is being cleaned so the Hamlet can display it.  The skull is laying on its side and the upper jaw is attached.

Half of the lower jaw.

The area is getting smelly.  Reminded me of the ranch house when my parents had foxes.  I was at the site today and the carcass is down to just bone.  The hunters were still carving this portion on Sunday.

A hunter cleaning a piece of the baleen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cape Dorset Whale Hunt

After a two week hunt in Cape Dorset the local hunters finally got a Bowhead Whale.  It was caught at noon on Tuesday and was at the beach by 9:30 pm the same day.  Butchering started immediately because even with a couple of loaders and a dozer they couldn't drag the 50 ton animal to the high water mark.  Once the tide came in butchering was abandoned until low tide the next day.  The photos below are from Wednesday.

My first look at the whale.

Most of the Muktuk has been stripped of the whale.

The tale is huge and a delicacy.

View of the head.  The hairy stuff is the baleen.  The white you see inside the mouth is the tongue.

Ummm, ahhhhh.  You figure it out.

The fin is coming off.  The black part is all head.

Kids playing in the mouth.

The whale is a big event in the community.  Here is a bus unloading kids to see the whale.

My favourite shot.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Life Changes

My apologies for not blogging in a while.  I am currently dealing with a personal problem and have not felt like blogging.  To those "in the know" the blog will be continuing with just some cosmetic changes.  I'm sure I will be back to blogging about Cape Dorset life in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More New Nunavut Blogs

Wow what's going on this year. There are tons of new Nunavut Blogs this year to make up for the ones we are losing. Sure is sad to Nathan and Jen moving south again and we will be keeping up with them once Jen has a new blog up and running. Still a lot of bloggers from the Cape Dorset area. Take a moment to go check out these new Nunavut Blogs.

Northernbound Nurse - She is just starting the process of moving to Nunavut to work as a nurse and you can follow the adventure at her blog site. Hope she likes kids because there is lots of them in Arviat.

Newbie in the Arctic - Another blogger in Pangnirtung who has been blogging since February.

Christa in Gjoa Haven - Another maritimer who has relocated to Nunavut. As you can see by the title she is residing in Gjoe Haven.

Arctic-ulate - This blogger has lived in the north for the past three years but just started her first northern blog. She is a resident of Rankin Inlet. Hey I was just there a month ago.

I will have some photos from Ottawa up soon and will be back to northern related post soon. I got home this weekend but I'm leaving Monday on duty travel for the week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


A little of topic for a northern blog but today is 09/09/09. It won't be until 01/01/2101 that we will see a date with repeating single digit dates.

Should have some more photos posted soon, if not later today, from Ottawa. I will be back in Cape Dorset on Friday.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Macro Toy

I finally broke down an purchased a Macro lens and have been pleasantly surprised. It is way easier to use the lens specifically for close ups than standing a couple of meters away and focus in with a telephoto lens. I may even give it a try for photographing the northern lights once I'm home. My first attempts with the lens are below.
Bit of a risky shot.
I did not partake but I liked the texture of the can.
I like the bugs.
This one didn't make it. It's the size of a pin head.
Floating debris.Night shot.
(Pun intended)

Water Low

This photo is of a pond that is usually full of water. With all the warm weather this summer it's the first time I've seen it dry. You can see the regular water level by the discoloration on the rocks. It has been raining since I left and I'll see if it has any water in it when I return.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Brunswick

One of the highlights of going back to the Martimes was the train ride with my daughter going from Halifax, NS to Moncton, NB. The seats and cars have changed a lot since I last travelled on a train almost 20 years ago. Surprisingly this was also the least expensive way to go between the two cities and was only 1 hour longer than taking the bus.

This is the civilized way to travel.
By far this is one of the coolest photos I've ever taken. There was lighting storms in the distance and we were only seeing the flashes of light and about 20sec later hearing the thunder. I got lucky on a 5 second exposure and got a photo of the lighting going from cloud to cloud. Not sure what was louder the thunder or me yelling. Hasn't been a lighting storm since for me to try out some new techniques.

Makes up for missing the northern lights back home.

Rankin Inlet

At the start of my travels I was in Rankin Inlet for meetings and got to see folks that I haven't seen since the last AGM meetings. A couple of photos from the trip below.

A look through the filthy window at the Co-op hotel. Nice rooms and restaurant. I think they are the only restaurant in the north that serves a Maritime Poutine. Fries, gravy, ketchup, onions, poutine cheese, hamburger all mixed together. Yummy.

The famous Inikshuk in Rankin Inlet. Nice silhouette photo. The sun is hiding just behind the right leg. Here is a photo taken when I was in Rankin Inlet about two years ago.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Toy

I finally got a card reader so I could download my photos onto the laptop. Should be back to posting photos on a regular basis again.

We now have a new toy and it's a Honda 500 ATV. Fits me nice. Only got to go one one run before leaving on my travels and got very wet in the rain.
Isn't she perty.
Should have taken the camera bag and helmet off before taking the photo. I will post a couple of photos from the run in the future.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Nunavut Blogs

Just because I'm travelling around southern Canada for a month doesn't mean I'm not keeping up with all the blogs. There are a couple of new blogs that are worth checking out.

The first one is Pangnirtung Bound. Nice to see another blogger heading to Pangnirtung.

The second is Shelter - The Journey to Nunavut .... They, like us, have cats. Must be good folks if they have cats. They currently have three videos that are very entertaining.

Yet another new Nunavut blog! Go see The Arctic Post . They are from Chesterfield Inlet. We've lost a few blogger's this year but seem to be more than recovering those losses. (Thanks Indigo)

Take a minute and pop over to their blogs and say hi.

PS: Hope to have some photos this week once I find a USB cord for the camera.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I've arrived in Halifax.

I'm only here overnight and will be meeting our daughter tomorrow morning at the airport and then a quick drive to the train station for the trip to Moncton.

I won't have any photos from my Rankin Inlet trip or the New Brunswick stay until I find a new USB cord for the camera. I'm guessing one won't be found until I'm back in Ottawa.

More later

Monday, August 10, 2009

Travelling Man

Blog posting over the next 1 1/2 months will be very sporadic because I will be travelling. I'm attending meetings in Rankin and Iqaluit and I'm going to take a month off to spend with family and friends.

I'm going to try to blog during my travels but I'm missing the USB cord for my camera and won't be able to post any photos until I get a new one. You'll have to wait and see how it goes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Flowers VI

Since Nunavut has been the summer capital of Canada this year, here is a bright yellow flower for the rest of Canada to remember what the sun looks like.
Off course yesterday the weather was crappy and the fog has rolled in to stay for a bit. Summer over.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Spotted a couple of tents while exploring. Pretty spot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bowhead Whale The Story

It started with the phone ringing.

Then Michele hollering to get the camera there's a whale in the Inlet. Less then two minutes later we were in the car and heading to the shore. I always keep my camera and gear ready to go because there usually isn't much time to react and plan for events like this.

Once we got there I noticed my battery indicator was showing low battery. No need to panic I always have two fully charged extra batteries with me. With a somewhat smug smile on my face I reached into the camera bag for one of the extra batteries and put it in the camera. I got about 20 feet from the vehicle and was getting the focus set and checking the settings when the battery indicator light started showing low battery again. Now my gut clenches and the smug smile disappears so quick it may never had been there. With a feeling of dread I get the other battery and put it in the camera. Ah utopia this battery is full. Luckily this was the only scary event of the evening.

When arriving at the shore we were met by several others to wait with anticipation for the appearance of the whale. Across the Inlet a rippling in the water and the dark, sleek back of the whale breaks the surface of the water with a spray of exhaled air. The surprise and shouts of wonder came next as a second smaller version broke the surface beside the first. A mother whale with her calf.

The whales sank down and everyone was speculating on where they would surface again. One older Inuk said they would be circling and heading back out of the Inlet. Sure enough both showed again just down the shore from us. The boats gave a nice contrast on how big the whales are. The same Inuk told me to be patient they always surface at least three times before going under for a long period of time. He was correct rewarding us with more photo opportunities.

Some were speculating the reason they came into the Inlet was to escape the harassment of a pod of Orcas (Killer Whales). Even though the mother whale is too big for them the baby would be fair game. They would tire the couple out and when the calf could go no further they would use their bodies to force the calf down to drown it. There may be truth to this theory because the two whales were staying very close to shore and were following the line of the island on their way back to the Davis Straight before going on to the Fox Basin. Lets hope the Orcas didn't catch them. I kind of hoped they were just chasing food.

After the whales went under everyone returned to what they were doing before the word went out. Michele and I figured if they were going back out then they have to go by the Park to exit. Back in the vehicle in a tear to get to the park. The whales don't seem to move very fast but after watching them circle the Inlet we knew they would be at the park soon. It was at the park in our ankle breaking pace down the rocks to get closer to the shore that we viewed them on the surface again. This is were I also got the photos of the mother whale with her tail above the water. This was the only time they did it and Michele and I were alone to witness it.

The next time the two surfaced was right in front of us. I had to wait for them to swim off a bit before I could take clear photos. They were so close that I couldn't get my telephoto lens focused on them. What an experience to hear the snorting whoosh of the exhaled breath and the splashing of the water as they surfaced and dove. I even manged to get a photo of the calf blowing air. Not easy given how dark it was getting by now.

Our screams of delight must have been heard back in the Hamlet because soon after a couple of trucks showed up disgorging people everywhere. They arrived just in time to see the whales just as they came across the island still following the shore. It was the last time they surfaced within sight. I certainly hope to have this opportunity again.

What a wonderful evening.