Thursday, April 25th, 1985 (Log Day 8)

In the morning after breakfast, some members of the group wandered through the village on their own. After talking to Cecil about the possibility of sightseeing trips for the afternoon, I took several members of the group on a guided tour of the village. Otto Sverdrup, the Norwegian who explored much of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, in 1901-2 named the fiord; it was settled in 1953 by Inuit from Hudson Bay and Baffin Island. Grise Fiord, with a population of about 100 people, is Canada's northern-most community and the main occupation is subsistence hunting. After looking over the two small igloos that had been built behind the village as part of a contest held recently, we returned to the lodge for lunch. At 1:00 PM the Co-op store opened and everyone went shopping for souvenirs. At 2:00 PM, four skidoos with komatiks (sleds) pulled up in front of the lodge. We were going on a 5 mile-ride across the fiord to the place where the first two Inuit families to come to Grise Fiord had settled.

It was a chilly and bumpy ride but most people enjoyed it on the sleds; a couple of people rode behind the drivers on the back of the skidoos. When we arrived at the location, we left the skidoos and sleds on the sea ice and walked to the site where two abandoned wooden buildings stood, and where nearby there were several Thule house depressions from a much earlier occupation of the site. We looked around and photographed the various features before heading back to the skidoos for a "mug-up" which consisted of hot tea made from snow boiled on Coleman stoves, and bannock, a type of fried bread. We lingered for a while; it was a beautiful day with sunshine and relatively mild temperatures (about 15 degrees below zero Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit)). When we arrived back at the village it was time for dinner. There was one other guest in the lodge at this point, a nurse by the name of Nada Peknick, a Canadian living in upstate New York. She had also been on a tour of the North Pole and had stayed on in Grise Fiord to go on a dog sled trip to the floe edge east of Grise. That evening, two of the sled drivers, Elijah and Tookillkee, built us an igloo about halfway between the village and the airstrip. We all went down about 7:00 PM to the place where they had found suitable snow and had cut the blocks. It took about an hour and a quarter to build. Frances counted as they worked and she said they used 63 blocks for an igloo that would comfortably accommodate 4 to 5 people. The igloo floor was covered with caribou skins and Bob Antol, Bob Kaller, and Van carried foam mattresses and sleeping bags from the lodge to place inside. About 11:00 PM they headed off to the igloo with enough brandy to stave off the cold. Everyone else had decided to forego the experience of "a night in an igloo" for the comfort of their beds in the lodge. About 1:00 AM, the Twin Otter with John and Matt and three government people arrived in Grise. Tomorrow morning they would fly out again with a load of school kids on their way to Barry, Ontario on an educational exchange, before coming back to pick us up and take us to Resolute.

copyright (c) 1985 Patricia Sutherland

For more information, contact Bob Antol
URL: file - logDay8.html