Cape Dorset, NU Jan 10 - Feb 1, 2005

 
 

January up north was not nearly as frigid as I had imagined. And in fact, for about a week of my trip it was actually colder in Toronto! The weather was beautiful for much longer periods than I had expected in Cape Dorset, where the nearby open water tends to cause overcast conditions. It was clear, cool, and calm for nearly the whole trip (although a major blizzard hit right after I left).


On my first day in Cape Dorset I was excited to get my new parka, made by Eliyah Mangitak, Mangitak Kellypalik’s wife, both of whom we have interviewed on past trips.  On the second day of the trip, as we were at their house visiting and having tea, it was so worrisome to see Mangitak come home unexpectedly early from a hunting trip. His snowmobile had gone through the ice, and he into the water! Luckily he had help soon after, and was pulled from the frigid waters and driven straight home, his clothes already beginning to freeze solid. I was there with Black, who was helping us to visit (my Inuktitut still coming along very slowly!!), and in this case he was able to interpret the scary story as Mangitak was trying to warm up. It was quite a glimpse of the dangerous reality of any sea ice travel, no matter how experienced and knowledgeable you are. Luckily he was ok, but he lost all his hunting equipment, including his snowmobile (which had been tied to the ice because the other hunters planned to go back the next day when the ice was thick enough to pull it out of the water - but it ended up being knocked away by a polar bear overnight).


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Adventures in Cape Dorset (Research Trip #3)

G. J. Laidler