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Published: October 17th 2016
Cape of God's Mercy
Cumberland Peninsula,Baffin Island
“The hardest part of being a Canadian kid is having to color in Nunavut with a crayon in school, hell on earth.” Rebecca McNutt, Super 8: The Sequel to Smog City.
We re-entered Canada at the small community of Qikiqtarjuaq on Broughton Island, a small island just off the Baffin Island coast. Baffin Island is Canada's largest island and the fifth largest Island in the world, about two-and-a-half times the size of Great Britain but with a population of about 11,000 - essentially empty. The entire east coast of Baffin is a spectacular tangle of gnarly fjords and islands, many unnamed and uncharted. This is one of the few regions on the planet that is void of depth soundings on charts... It is an amazing part of this country that gets very few visitors due to its remote location.
There was some activity in these parts during the Cold War, when the government of the time decided that spending billions of dollars on an early warning system was a good idea. However, all these DEW Line facilities (Distant Early Warning) now lie abandoned hundreds of miles apart across thousands of miles of arctic coastline - they stand as memorials to a once paranoid era - The Cold War...
We saw many of these military structures, but most of Baffin Island is a giant wilderness with towering cliffs,
Auyuittuq National Park
glaciers and icebergs. We spent quality time in some of these remarkable areas before ending the trip in Iqaluit.
About 8000 hardy folk call Iqaluit home! It is the only community of any size in the entire Canadian Arctic and is the capital of Nunavut Territory. It is a happening place with bars and restaurants, traffic-jams and high rise buildings. Nunavut is expensive with an inflated economy, and Iqaluit is not exempt from these bloated prices. Almost $40 for two cans of beer and a G&T! Fruit and Veggies were outrageous and my terrified wallet curled in a ball in fear in the depths of my pockets whenever I walked past the dairy section in the store... Rent is insane!
Despite the huge costs and my hemorrhaging cash-flow, I really enjoyed the quirky little city in the Canadian Arctic... And to top it off I stayed with a very good friend of mine for a few nights.
This was my final voyage of the season and it was full of wild places and familiar creatures, we had bears at the Lower savage Islands, foxes at Sunneshine Fiord and the thickest of fog in Butterfly Bay. Walrus, seals
and bowhead whales, frolicked in the water, and a mighty landscape unfolded throughout the trip... It was amazing. However, I think my fondest moment was chasing the kids...
Chasing the kids in the community of Pangnirtung, especially the boy with the radio was exhilarating! The kids loved being chased, and we loved chasing them. We'd carry them to the water and threaten to throw then in head first - they loved it. I have not chased anyone in many years but I still remember the thrill of the chase. The boy with the walkie-talkie was especially difficult to catch - he was a sneaky one... But I did catch him!
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