Day 15, Monday, August 19, 1996
Today is the last day of our Canadian Arctic Adventure! After being somewhat exhausted by last night's invasion by the children of Kimmirut, we had gotten up early followed with a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal. It was time to pack our gear with some last minute visits to see and photograph some of the soapstone carvers at work.
A polar bear carving out of soapstone
Dan and Max dropped in on Ahnie Michael's family, which boasts three generations
of soapstone carvers. (Ahnie was the last of the children to leave last nite. He had
hidden behind the furnace until we found him. He stayed a little while longer and
helped us clean up a bit! He's a good kid!) Don and I later joined Dan and Max to
watch and record Ahnie's grandfather working on a large beautiful polar bear carving.
We were also shown other pieces of carvings, in particular, one with two bears in a
beautiful emerald jade colored soapstone. This soapstone, we were told was found above
the tide waters. The Michael family was quite generous is showing us their work.
At 10:00 we met up with Peter Tunnillie, a Katannilik Territorial Park warden, who was
taking us around to see if we could find some other carvers at work. After a brief
visit to the Northern Store (formerly, the Hudson Bay Company store) and deciding to
go to the Kimik Co-op for coffee, we did stop by another house on the way to see
two brothers working on their carvings. Unfortunately, most carvers did not work on
Sundays and this was pretty early in the day on Monday. However, we were fortunate
to witness some carvers creating their art using hand axes to rough out their
creations and using files and powertools for smoothing and detailing.
A Carver working on his creations
After tasting some more of the fresh-baked blueberry pie and some coffee at the Kimik
Co-op, we hurried back to pack up the rest of our gear. Well, we sort of hurried,
stopping to take some more pictures. Peter, returned with a trailer hitched to
the Honda ATV to haul our gear to the airport. By then, some of the children had gotten
up from their late nite follies and escorted us as we walked to the landing strip.
The First Air Twin Otter was due to be in at 11:30 but by the time it did arrive it
was well past noon.
Robert Jaffray and his young children (Bianna, Kyle and Alashua) was there to see us off.
It is amazing to see canoes being squeezed into these awesome flying machines. The last
Twin Otter made was nearly twelve years ago, but yet they have remained an integral cog
of the transportation up here. And then we were off after saying our goodbyes. The sky was
overcast but we could see as we headed north, that there were sunny skies over Iqaluit.
Part way into the flight, we noted that the fuel gauges indicated near empty. The pilot
had alluded before take off that he did not have excess fuel to play around. He certainly
wasn't kidding! The fuel situation as we were later to find out was the aftermath of the
F-18 crash at the Iqaluit airport a few days earlier.
Leaving Peter's with escorts
Our landing was smooth! And we did have enough fuel! After deplaning with our gear near the First Air warehouse, the First Air ground crew helped to haul our gear to the terminal building for check in. We were checked in by 2:00 and had managed not to exceed our weight limit! Paul Landry from North Winds Arctic Adventures stopped by to say goodbye. He was going to be heading over to Greenland, later in the week.
After passing security, we waited to board the First Air combi back to Ottawa via Montreal.
There we met with a couple of climbers who just spent two months climbing Mt. Asgard and
various other mountains in the Auyuittuq National Park Reserve. They noticed that we were
carrying an MSAT communicator and wondered what we were doing! After a brief explanation,
they responded with a Californian, "cool!". They mused if there was a term for adventurers
who took high tech gear with them. Hmm ... Maybe it's time to create one!
First Air Twin Otter
Soon we were boarded and on our way home. With a side trip to Kujjuquag to refuel which delayed our arrival home. It was somewhat sad that the adventure had come to an end. We certainly enjoyed our adventure in the Arctic and all the people we had met and all the interesting things we had discovered. A good night's sleep is in order!
We hope that you had enjoyed our adventure! And we would like to once again invite you to participate in the 1996 Internet World Exposition. Specifically, in our participatory events such as Discover This Land and the Canoe Pavilion Grand Challenge.