Monday, September 15, 2014

Latitude, 73˚15′ N      Longitude: 80˚50′ W
Speed: 11 knots          Wind: 0.6 knots
Temp. 0˚C (32˚F)
Time change: one hour ahead

We entered Lancaster Sound and once again met choppy, rolling seas.  Lying in bed it felt like I was being rocked in a cradle. I’m glad the ship rolls from headboard to foot board, though. If it had rolled the opposite way, I’d be rolled out of bed and there is no guard rail on the bunks to keep sleepers in their beds.  At any rate, the waves subsided greatly once we entered Navy Board Inlet, passing to the west of Bylot Island.


I wanted to see Canada Point as we passed it. That was where Capt. Bernier claimed Bylot Island for Canada in 1906, the first of the Arctic Islands he claimed. At Canada Point is a rock that one of his crewmen carved ‘Arctic’ (the name of the ship) into. At any rate, we were to pass Canada Point at about 05:30, so I didn’t get up in time to see it. I’d be too far away to see the ‘Arctic’ rock anyhow.


Capt. J-E Bernier (second from left) claims Bylot Island for Canada in 1906 at Canada Point.

As we were to land in Pond Inlet that afternoon, it seemed totally appropriate to give my “In the Shadow of the Pole” presentation to tell passengers about the Captain and the Canadian government expeditions to claim the Arctic.

My talk was cut short as a tabular iceberg – our first big iceberg – was sighted and all went on deck, cameras in hand, including myself. 1-IMG_1853

Michelle’s late morning “Photography 201- ISO,” Shutter and Aperture presentation was valuable to those who wanted to try using their camera’s manual settings. I eventually reverted to automatic, cause it’s easier to let the camera figure it out.


We anchored at Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik, the place where Mittima is buried), taking in the glorious mountains of Bylot Island across the bay from the hamlet. The passengers were welcomed on the beach by local guides.054-IMG_1876

We divided into five groups for a walking tour of the town, and headed up a steep, snowy street.

The Visitor’s Centre, the usual place for cultural demonstrations, was unavailable because the court was in session there. Instead, passengers were treated to demonstrations of high kick, throat singing, and other Inuit games at the library.

055-IMG_1877 Many passengers enjoyed the opportunity of using the library’s computers and free Internet to check home email. (It was $30 to use the shipboard email system.)


057-P1120980I wandered up to the Co-op and Northern Store with a few people who wanted to mail letters. It was interesting to check out the goods for sale. Prices were astronomical. Tide laundry detergent was $45.99, and a box of Mini Wheats was $9.99.

Some folks wanted to head back to the ship early and I was on gangway, so went back on the first zodiac.  Being on gangway duty means just check people off a list as they come aboard, so that we know for sure that everyone is on the ship before we leave. However, I missed the Adventure Canada-Pond Inlet challenge in the basketball court outside the Co-op. We ACers were confident that our contingent of six-foot tall players gave us a competitive advantage against the local shorter team. However, the Pond Inlet kids had skill on their side and Adventure Canada lost 12 to five.


We convened in the lounge for Recap as the Vavilov charted a course through Eclipse Sound to Lancaster Sound. The AC team opened Recap with Stan Rogers’ Northwest Passage song. Cathie talked about the gneiss rock we had seen, and the difference between a channel and a strait. Michelle also showed a photo of the rare arachnidkinberg that we were to keep our eyes open for (a spider with Stefan’s head on it).


About Season Osborne

I am a writer with a love of 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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