Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two Feet on the Davis Straight

I think that to re title this blog as "My mommy adventure" would be so terribly fitting at this stage in my life. I find it hard to explore my current place of residence with tots in tow, but I also find it hard to find time to write. When 8 o clock pm hits, the kids are in bed and my eyes are too weary for the computer screen, I don't want the background noise from the tv, and I'm usually too spent to want to expend the energy that showering takes. My choice past time before bed is losing myself in a book.

We go out walking with the kids, I amaq Brody in my amauti and Katie pulls Mekia in the sled she got for Christmas. Both kids usually fall asleep and we stay out until our cheeks cant take the cold any longer. I think  that I had seen the whole town within the first few days of being here. It has just recently hit me how small my surroundings are here. I was drawn by the magnetism of the sky high mountains, the vastness of the Davis Straight and the extraordinary ice burg views and didn't really see how small Qikiqtarjuaq itself was. I would love to spend a Spring and Summer here to experience the wildlife, the boating and run the water over my feet.

It is rumored within my family that we are the descendants of John Davis, the explorer who the Davis Straight was named for, he sailed this area in search of the Northwest passage. John discovered the Falkland Islands and was later killed by a Japanese Pirate whose vessel he and his crew had seized. We don't know much of his story, but his portrait lays in the bottom of my Grandmother's closet, an occasional reminder of a history I should really research further.

Needless to say I had always dreamed of seeing the Davis Straight, though I wish I could see its waters, I have had the opportunity to not only walk all over the Bay surrounding Qikiqtarjuaq but drive on it as well.

Katie has a coworker named William Iqaalik who has been the greatest link in allowing us to see this town and to learn some of its facts. He has been so kind to bring us country food and keep Katie happy, with reminders of home.

William took us out in his old RCMP truck, driving along the ice. I've been on Nunavut's ice by dog team, on foot and by skidoo, but this was my first chance to take a drive. William seems to have mastered the ice, driving like its just another road, though for him, it is. He took us on a tour, pointing out the land where the 'old store' was, and showed us the mountains that we cant see from the comfort of our living room. He pointed out seal holes in the ice, where the seals surface to breathe, and he took us to a cabin that is used locally for clam diving. William showed me the hole in the ice, and though I was fascinated, just the thought of dropping through that hole into the frigid water below caused me to shiver.

My baby and his new seal skin mitts

Seal hole

William showing me a cabin, where divers go

Clam diving hole

As there are in all places I visit, I have goals here. One is to summit the small mountain that seems to be the closest to town, and has a beautiful view from the top. The second one is to visit bubbling lake, which is a lake that William pointed us in the direction of, that sits up over a hill and never freezes. Katie has been told by others that they fetch fresh water from the Lake. It is not a hot spring, William has told me this much, so I am intrigued to find out more about it. My third goal was to reach the sign that says that 'you are above the arctic circle.' Katie has been told that the sign is not there right now and that for $5 the hamlet will issue us 'certificates' that state the same fact. The lazy mans opt out, where I am concerned, but without the sign to show for the journey, I think the certificate may suffice.

Ice burgs in the distance on the Davis Straight