Sunday, September 21, 2014

Latitude: 67˚30′ N      Longitude: 54˚30 ′ W
Speed 12.6 knots        Wind 12. 6 knots
Temperature: 3.3˚C (37.9˚F)

We anchor near Assasotaq, a coastal ghost town or village. Hardly a village or even a hamlet, just a sparse collection of small colourful wooden houses perched around a rocky little cove. It is reminiscent of many isolated maritime fishing villages on Canada’s east coast. The houses had large numbers painted on their roofs to identify them to airplanes during WWII. Although the hamlet was abandoned in the 1950s when people moved to nearby Sismiut, a few fisherman and students were there fishing as a learning experience of coastal life.111-IMG_3543

We spent part of the morning wandering about and peering through the broken windows at the dilapidated interiors. A number of sun bleached minky whale bones and a little gravesite added to the quaint but bleak isolation of the spot. Andrew and Susie had a feast on the dock, sharing food, muktuk and char, they had received as guests in Arctic Bay with the passengers and local folks. I missed this little feast, as I was investigating rocks along the waters’ edge and didn’t realize what was happening.

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Suddenly, the wind picked up and we had to skedaddle back to the ship.

Today was the autumn equinox when day and night are the same length of time. We have now crossed the Arctic Circle for the second time on the trip. It is the last night aboard ship, and folks take the opportunity at Recap to offer their talents or thoughts. Ian, a young actor from Toronto, who was onboard with his grandma, cautioned about investing in companies that were contributing to climate change, such as RBC, which invests in the oil sands. Elaine read the Cremation of Sam McGee, always a good Arctic tale. Carley read several limericks and poems she had written about the trip. Ree talked about the Greenland fisheries. Cathie spoke about the geophysicist, meteorologist and polar researcher Alfred Wegener who in 1912 proposed the idea of continental drift. Like all new brilliant ideas, it was pooh-poohed at the time. Wegener died on his way back from a meteorological station on the Greenland ice cap to get supplies. All in all, it was an interesting mix of voices and perspectives.

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After dinner, we saw John’s film, Nuliajuq, about shamans. Another though provoking movie.

Then Cathie and I pack up our bags. We have to have them out in the hall by 08:00 for them to be picked up by the crew to be zodaiced ashore. They are outside our door before we crawl into bed at 23:00.

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About Season Osborne

I am a writer with a passion for Arctic history. After finding a photo of Capt. Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, who claimed the Arctic for Canada in 1909, I was inspired to write my master’s thesis on Bernier’s contribution to Arctic sovereignty. This ultimately led to extensive research into Canadian and ‘foreign’ expeditions to the North, which morphed into my recent book, In the Shadow of the Pole: An Early History of Arctic Expeditions, 1871-1912.
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