Sunday, 14 August 2016

One Ocean Expeditions Baffin Island: Days Seven and Eight: Life in the Arctic Ashore at Pond Inlet

#expeditioncruising #ExploreCanada

Location:
Icy Arm, Baffin Island - 71 deg 41.457' N, 75 deg 18.462' W
Pond Inlet, Nunavut – 72.7 N, 78.3 W (www.pondinlet.ca)

The massive cliffs of Icy Arm embrace Akademik Ioffe as we steam cautiously toward the end of Icy Arm, a deep majestic fjord that penetrates into the interior of Baffin Island from the east. Much of this region of mighty Baffin Island is characterised by these stunning formations, now just dusted with a light snow atop what must have been once a solid icecap. Glaciers bleed down from the plateau, most now stopping well before the waterline.

After collecting our kayak explorers from the water, our expedition continues northward for a rendezvous with residents of Pond Inlet, an Inuit outpost at the very northern tip of Baffin Island and regularly visited by One Ocean Expeditions' vessels during their summer season. Not a lot has changed since I visited in 2012, except that the kids in the cultural troupe have grown up. It's heart-warming to see them continue this tradition year after year.

The big talk around town is the relatively huge Crystal Cruises ship that will almost double the town's population next month when it brings more than 1000 visitors to the little hamlet. It will be an interesting test, but perhaps not as much as the nearby Mary River open-cut iron ore mine that is set to begin operations any day now. Receding ice and less severe winters have made access to natural resources a more viable proposition.

After the performance at the visitors' centre where we see demonstrations of Arctic games and songs, we're left to our own devices to wander town and visit places like the supermarket where a modest slice of watermelon can be snapped up for a mere $7.99 and Navel oranges sell for $10 a piece. I'll not complain about the cost of living in Sydney for a while.

Images:

  • Akademik Ioffe exits Icy Arm (R Eime)
  • Zodiacs ferry us to shore at Pond Inlet (R Eime)
  • Local Inuit performers pose for photographs (R Eime)
  • This curious joust is used to settle minor disputes among men. (R Eime)

Expeditioncruising.com is travelling as a guest of One Ocean Expeditions with support from Destination Canada



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