Cape Dorset, NU Apr 12 - 29, 2004


During my time in Cape Dorset (Kinngait in Inuktitut), we had maybe two really nice days, where you could actually see blue sky, without strong winds, and with lots of sun.  One of those days I had a meeting scheduled, and so could not get out on the ice.  The other was the second last day, when I had interviews scheduled and was trying to wrap things up around Dorset.

It has snowed a lot, and is cloudy and windy almost every other day.  Every day I find beautiful here, but missed the endless vistas that I so enjoy in the Arctic.  It also limited our trips out of town to 2, but really only 1 full one.  

Luckily, that one trip was an amazing experience of both riding on a kamotik (dog sled) behind a team of 8 dogs, and riding/driving a skidoo.  I learned a bit about getting on the sled as they take off (hang on tight, and BE READY!!), getting on and off the sled to run beside it, pushing or pulling the kamotik to steer it, and a live experience of dogs avoiding a crack in the ice.  The snowmobile was also neat, as I got to drive one a little, which was a first for me and good to know up here.  It certainly shatters the natural sounds all around, but is another important perspective of sea ice travel.  Snowmobiles by far outweigh the use of dog teams in this community – as in most.  We stopped for tea, bannock, and other snacks right on the ice, and I got to try my hand at using the (very) long dog team whip.  After whipping myself several times, or having it land in a heap at my feet, I managed to be able to get it fully forwards and backwards in one “snap”.  On our way back we stopped at the floe edge (the close proximity of the ice edge is a unique reality for this community), and were able to walk within three feet of it – apparently still on three feet of ice thickness. read more visit the online journal archive.


Adventures in Cape Dorset (Research Trip #1)

G. J. Laidler