Saturday 25 August 2012

One Ocean Expeditions - Northwest Passage - Cambridge Bay

Ship: M/V Akademik Ioffe
Operator: One Ocean Expeditions
Itinerary: Northwest Passage 12-26 August 2012

Date: Friday 24 August 2012. Temp: 7°C
Location: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada.
68deg 50.1'N, 105deg 05.2'W
Distance travelled: 2112NM

The last landfall before our final destination, Cambridge Bay (pop. 1500) in the Kitikmeot region is another one of Nunavut's remote outposts that serves to remind those who would question Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic.

Before we reached shore in our familiar Zodiac convoy, there was time to inspect the wreck of The Maud, Roald Amundsen's last exploration vessel sitting ignominiously, for the last 82 years, in a few metres of water in front of 'the old town site'. The story of The Maud is a book in itself and now the Norwegians want her back, regardless of her lamentable state. If all goes to plan, The Maud should be back in Oslo this time next year.

Ashore in the new town centre, we see a lively little hamlet sporting a big new school/library/community centre adjacent other government and service buildings. There's time for a final fix of retail, postcards and some museum gazing before tummy rumbles signify another hearty lunch is waiting back aboard Ioffe.

Cambridge Bay also became a strategic outpost when the Distant Early Warning (DEW) installation became operational in the 1950s as a kind of intruder alarm against possible ballistic missile attack from you-know-who.

Image: A beaver floatplane comes in to land on the inlet in front of the new town site.

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