Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life goes on...

Haven’t signed in for a while but lots of changes since March. Not in Ikaluktutiak at the moment but one never knows when one will be back there. Updates to follow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Landmark Berg

Some pix of the big overhanging berg. This one is about a km out from shore and about halfway along from the direct path that I take that leads south from Cam Bay to the Gulf and the cut off that takes you to the Gulf from the edge of the west arm of the Bay. It makes a great landmark for navigating. The pic of me with my skis shows how flat everywhere else is. The bergs and anything else more than a metre high are plainly obvious from well distant.

This is the one that developed the huge split after climbing on it – right next to the big roof . On this trip I was wearing by neoprene over-boots over top of my climbing boots as my crampons, of course, only fit stiff shanked boots.

In these shots I’m also wearing my wolf mitts that came from Bay Chimo. They were made by the mother of the culture and languages teacher at Kulllik School – the elementary school ( Kullik means “school” so the elementary school is called “school school”). My Cariboo mitts have started to shed quite a bit so I got these as a replacement.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Table top ice

More pix of the NW passage due south of the town. For this trip I headed over the peninsula but followed a lake /stream system that led to the Gulf just west of where the overland route goes. There actually is some small topography along this route and for a good portion of it you can’t see any of the usual landmarks such as the tower or North Warning site – makes it feel somewhat more remote. Some interesting table top bergs here. 40 below as usual – the same temp it has been since November. Nice to have the sun back though.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Arctic Wanderer in 2008

Here’s a couple of images of the Arctic Wander – frozen in at the North Warning aka Dew Line dock –otherwise known as a grounded barge. This is at least the third season the boat has been here in Cam Bay. This pix are from about a month ago and I noticed yesterday that the boat has an even greater list to it as it has been heaved by the ice

Out in the passage

Just some more shots in and around the bergs. These trips are usually a 4 to 7 hour day. This day was hovering around 42 or 43 and not too much wind, the forecast was for wind-chill in the low fifties but I don’t think that the wind picked up enough for that. Facemask frosts up pretty good – cold or not. I skied up the back side and let my tips hang over the edge - nice to get some vertical relief for a change.

I ended up going back to this berg with the big overhang as it was good to climb on – except for the aforementioned splitting

more bergs in the passage

A few more pix of the big berg out by the gravel pit, on the way to long point. The pressure cracks around its base were easily 2 metres deep and there was some soggy snow along the leeward side indicating that seawater was being forced up as the movement of the berg and the tide opened and closed the cracks – almost like a crevasse back home in the mountains! Lots of animal tracks around – mostly fox and hare.

Been busy for a while with work and some other projects but I have been getting out on the weekends. The weather has been nice – low 30s to 40 but not much wind at times so travel on the ice of the Queen Maude Gulf and NW passage has been quite nice. Here some pix of some of the longer skis I’ve been doing.

Generally I head south over the peninsula and then travel along the coast. West, near the “gravel pit” there are several larger grounded bergs. The creaks and groans that they makes as the fast ice shifts can be pretty interesting as it watching some of the tension cracks open up with an associated very sharp retort or two. . It is an interesting reminder that you are skiing over deep water

One nice trip was going south onto the passage then heading east along the shipping lane and then heading back to town via the bay entrance. Along the way you end up passing numerous navigation markers – which stick up predominantly in the flat terrain. Interesting enough the North Warning site is very prominent as well and very noticeable from well out on the sea ice.

Went ice climbing on the big overhanging berg and put a very, very big split into it. The large overhanging section on the left almost cracked completely off.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Aurora

It was clear and relatively calm a while ago on a moonless night, so I was able to get these aurora shots. The aurora in Cambridge Bay seems to form mainly as highly active curtains that tend to fold in on themselves. They can exhibit hints of red but, of course, are mainly green. They don’t last long and form generally in the NW quadrant of the sky – in the direction of the magnetic pole – which at one point not too long ago was east of here, on King William Island, and probably transited Victoria Island on its way out of Canadian territory.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sunday the 20th – tried to ski out on the bay with my 3 pin set up but a stiff north wind had the temp down to about -58 again. So had to retreat to the house add some layers and change to my alpine touring rig with neoprene overboots. Since the wind was blowing from the NW I had no choice but to head in that direction – at least if one is skiing into the wind you always know that you can get home – wind will be at your back. Went out past the “Dew Live road and then veered back along it until the travel became too difficult – due mainly to the snow scallops. Anyways very cold day and I was pleased to note that the new dual battery system kept the camera working. Had to stay completely covered so looking through the viewfinder was a bit problematic though.

Saturday's Ski

Went skiing on the weekend towards Mount Pelly via the bay. I was passing by the graveyard on the way up the creek and took these shots of the sunrise. Coincidentally the moon is still doing a nice circle in the sky and was low in the Northern sky as the sun was rising – about 11 AM.

Effects of the Blizzard

Here are some images of the blizzard’s aftermath. The Dodge truck was almost buried as was the house– it’s just down the block from my place. Several streets on the north side of the hamlet were completely blocked with 2 -3 m drifts - those are the shots of the single pass of the Cat track down the centre of the image - before they could start to clear the road.

Blizzard, again.

Friday January 18, 2008

The skies finally cleared and Cambridge Bay was finally aglow with the noontime sun for the first time since we had a brief glimpse of a refracted sun last Friday. The sun is now fully clearing the horizon and is a welcome sight – especially after the last several days that had the community weathering blizzard conditions. Temps were around-35 with gusts up to 80 kph.

Yesterdays the gusts were strong enough that they woke mw up. The bed, quality furniture that it is, was oscillating like an inertial balance as the base vibrated with the housing unit as it moved in response to the wind blasts. Well I suppose it shows that the space frame that supports the whole structure is flexible. The heavy snow and wind cancelled school and all town services.

The drifts that built up on the road during the storm are / were impressive. The hamlet workers needed to use a D7 cat to plough through them and even then the cat was actually supported by some of the drifts and unable to dig down to the road bed – but that could be operator induced as well.

Went for a nice hike on the tundra in the evening - during the height of the storm. The moon was shiny thinly through the cloud and blowing snow and gave a unique illumination to the landscape. Gusts would drive a snow band that would obscure everything for a brief period of time and the light from the town would disappear and you’d be alone on the tundra. Not a big deal – I was dressed for it – but that included making sure that there was no exposed skin whatsoever as the -59 wind-chill would find even the smallest opening. So down suit, sorrels, balaclava, face mask, toque, goggles, liner gloves and caribou mitts were the attire. Interestingly enough the wind pressure was enough to actually feel through my lighter sorrels - no discomfort but you could feel it cool off during the heavier gusts.

Here’s some pix from during the storm – mostly for something to do but they convey a little of the conditions.