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Published: August 4th 2017
The ice-age beasts
Most consequential choices involve shades of grey, and some fog is often useful in getting things done. Timothy Geithner
It has been an unusually damp and foggy summer up here at latitude 74, but that has not hindered our ability to find adventures…
Google in the Gloom
I have become very fond of Google Canyon, a very narrow and fairly small canyon on a nondescript region of plateau not too far from camp. I go there occasionally, when I have some time in the evenings. Even if it’s gloomy, it’s still a very nice place…
It was one degree Celsius, foggy and drizzling when I left camp for a hike. At first I decided I’d stay in camp, but I knew deep down that I had to go. I left alone, nobody else wanted to accompany me on this chilly, damp evening.
The rain was pouring down and the usually dry, gravelly terrain had turned to a soft mud, the black outline of the hills had vanished into the dark clouds that smothered the landscape. The canyon rim appeared before me as a shattered silhouette on the edge of the fog.
Cascades were everywhere.
The rain had brought life to this otherwise motionless canyon.
It was stunning… Finding Bones
On a solo ATV trip along the shore of the Northwest Passage, I saw a skull on the bank of a flooded creek. I stopped. As I approached, a large canine faced me, it was the skull of a polar bear. I held it to the sky for a better look. Magnificent!
It was time for a treasure hunt - for polar bear parts.
I hiked up the creek bed and found the scattered bones this once proud animal that roamed these parts…
I somewhat assembled the bones on the ground to get a sense of the size of the bear. It was medium sized, and judging by the good condition of its teeth, it was likely a young bear. The Whales
We had a rare opportunity to watch Bowhead Whales from the shore near Cape Marie, on the north coast of Somerset Island. A small group of three of these massive whales were migrating westward through the Barrow Strait (Parry Sound). They were only about 400 metres off-shore, the air was still and their huge breaths could be heard across the ice choked waterway.
There are only
a few thousand of these peaceful giants of the arctic seas, and they are seldom seen due to the remoteness of their habitat. In all of these years in the polar regions, this was the first time I had seen them whilst standing on land. I have glimpsed them from ships and from the low-flying Twin-Otters that have transported me through the vast Canadian Arctic Archipelago. But to watch these majestic marine mammals for an hour or so as they gracefully moved through the water was pure brilliance! It was magic, awesome, silent, incredible!
It was an honour. I took no pictures - I didn’t even think to do so. I just watched and listened…
The lucky group of guests who witnessed this quickly realized that this was the sighting of the decade! An amazing chance encounter in a remarkable part of the world…
We also saw a pod of about 30 or so narwhal, the unicorns of the sea. A truly sensational, masterpiece of nature. They were in among the sea-ice with belugas - they were being watched by the cunning eyes of a polar bear…
This is why I love the arctic! The Oddest Moment
This moment had to be ‘Dinner with Cliff Burnstein’. It’s not often you get to have prime rib and a fine red wine with Metallica’s manager… He’s a super cool guy!
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