Monthly Archives: February 2012

Lights Dancing over Pangnirtung

The northern community is a pretty small one.  Often once you meet someone it’s just a matter of time until you are in the same place at the same time again.  Sometimes it’s in the Iqaluit Airport, or a different community..but trust me you will at some point in time chances are you will run into them again.  A few weeks ago I got an email from Mark.  Mark is  someone I met the summer of 2009 here in Pang.  In 2009, we did 3 different hikes together…one up Mt. Duval, one at the end of the road-past the gravel pit and the last one was out past town towards Cumberland Sound! He’s part of the reason I did so much hiking..and got to see so much around Pang…often he, Kristen and Christine would come knocking on my door on a Saturday morning (not too early) but early enough I was still in my pjs… and sometimes they had woken me up.  But they would just say get ready…today we want to go here..and you are coming! Then they would wait while I got my hiking gear on, threw some food in a pack, and grabbed my camera.  For that I’m really grateful, I have a heap of memories from that summer instead of memories of ‘sleeping in’ or ‘watching tv’!

This week Pangnirtung had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) team in town and Mark was part of that team.   At some point in the future I will tell you more about the TRC and the public event that I attended..but tonight I’d like to share with you some photos I took with Mark out on the ice!

As with any night photography in the arctic… usually there’s a time that you start to get cold.  Normally you just keep your toes/fingers moving…and stay active and you are OK! In attempts to keep warm I randomly decided to run and flash my flashlight randomly through my long exposure.  The result I think is pretty darn cool…

Playing with light while the Northern Lights Dance!

The lights playing over town… I love that Orion’s Belt can be seen in this photo… One of the amazing thing to me is how different cultures have stories to explain the same star constellations.  I just recently came across the Inuit story to explain the stars in Orion’s Belt..(and a few others around Orion!) It is known as Ullaktut.

I’m going to include the story from “The Arctic Sky – Inuit Astronomy, Star Lore, and Legend” by: John MacDonald 


A legend relating to the constellation Ullakut – the three stars of Orion’s belt.

In the legend they are known as Ullaktut (the runners). There are three stars, slanted upwards and evenly separated. They are most visible. Directly in front of these stars is a big star with many smaller stars around it. The big star is called Nanurjuk (the polar bear); …the smaller stars are known as the Qimmiit (the dogs).

The three runners-the Ullaktut-came across a polar bear at night and are known to have climbed up to the sky; that is the legend. They are quite visible. They are used for navigational purposes because they are easy to identify. The Ullaktut legend has it that there were three runners…actually there were four of them. They were out hunting and, during the night, they came upon a polar bear. As they were chasing the bear, one of the runners got really hot and took off his mitts. As he ran he dropped his mitts. After a while, this runner noticed he didn’t have his mitts, so he went back for them and that is how he returned to Earth. He was the fourth person. Had he continued after the bear he would have been the fourth star. He was thus the only one of the runners that made it back to camp. That is the legend of the Ullaktut stars.

Lights over Pangnirtung

Mt. Duval.... and lights over my house!

Then I started to take some random photos shining my flashlight at my camera… I stood in the same spot for next two photos but only ‘parts’ of my body were captured in the photo….

What part of my body do you see in the top photo? in the bottom photo? 

I did take some other really fun photos.. with Mark using a flashlight to write messages for his wife! But since those aren’t my messages to pass along…I’ll leave them off the blog! So the last photo I’ll leave you with tonight a little star gazing over the Pang Pass… (probably one of the first ones I took last night!) Every day I can’t help but think I’m so damn lucky to live in such a beautiful place! 

Thanks Mark for an awesome night.  ‘Til the next time we meet… I’m guessing it will be in the Yukon…but you never know where our paths might cross again!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I decided to make some Valentine’s Day Cookies for friends and coworkers to help celebrate ‘luv day’! the process of making these sugar cookies got my kitchen a wee bit messy. It’s been awhile since I have made sugar cookies-I think it might have been with my Gramma when I was a kid!  I did a double take when my cookbook told me to put the dough into the fridge to harden-but then it was like a rock, and it wouldn’t roll out! Well I conquered that problem and then had the final crazy question… how was I going to ‘ice’ these awesome hearts…and with a bit of support from my friend Kara in the Yukon it turned out OK!  (hence my laptop logged onto FaceBook for the cry for help!) I think I need to work on making the final product LOOK like something that an adult made not a 3 year old child…but let me tell you–they TASTE amazing, and that’s what counts right?!

So here’s a Valentine’s Day Card for you…in the words of Pooh Bear*

I want to take the a moment to say Happy Valentine’s Day to all my family, friends and readers.

I hope you have an amazing day today, with the knowledge that  you are loved, today..

and more importantly all the other 364 days of the year!

Take time today to reach out and share that love…

luv, Sarah

*…because we all know how much I LOVE Pooh and Tigger and the whole gang! (In all truth I do still have a soft spot for Tigger, but in all honesty that phase ended in my early to mid 20s.  Even though I live with quite a few Pooh and Tigger related items on a daily basis…)

Igloo in Igloolik

On Thursday night during dinner I found out that there was an Igloo beside the high school.  I was pretty excited…because I had never seen on up-close, only in photos and in books! I didn’t go that night–because it was dark, but decided to head over in the morning before my flight left. There is a bit of irony I think that I saw my first Igloo while visiting Igloolik, but I like it!

Friday morning as I left the hotel..the sun was just starting to rise over town.  I think the sun rising and setting are so breathtaking in the Arctic!

I arrived at the Igloo…and took a shot of me outside!  I’m not 100% sure why it was built…but I think it was built to help celebrate the return of the sun festival a few weeks earlier.  Someone did tell me that elders have been going and having tea and making bannock inside.  It was too early in the morning and no one was there when I visited…A look back towards town… the sun still coming up over the town.  Igloolik is lucky because there are no mountains…the sun returns a lot sooner! 

Here you can see the ‘window’ that was made for the living part of the igloo…and also the smoke stack.  Here’s me climbing through the door from the living portion of the Igloo into the porch area.  The porch area had a bench on either side. One side had a bag of seal oil for the qulliq and on the other side were some extra furs.

The middle photo shows the ‘roof’ in the living area of the igloo–this is the 2nd dome.  This Igloo had a canvas lining that was against the snow blocks on the ceiling–they were held up by wooden plugs that were pushed through the snow and then frozen over with water… (you can see these ‘wooden’ place holders on the outside of the igloo in the photo with me standing beside it).  The living portion of the Igloo in the 2nd dome was pretty awesome… you can see the raised sleeping area(back 1/2 of the Igloo)…there was a pile of furs on top of the snow shelf to make it really comfy!  To the left and right of the sleeping area it was set up for cooking… It really was a nice cozy home!

I regretted cleaning out my camera bag before my trip…because I took out my wide angle lens (10-22mm) and well it would have photographed the interior of the igloo so much better!  Isn’t that always life though? When you don’t have something you really wish you had it and when you have it…you never use it?
Here’s the view looking outside from the porch (1st Igloo dome)…Another view from outside… (aren’t self portraits and timers awesome!).  I felt very lucky to to and be able to visit this Igloo–as it was set up like a home, not just a survival shelter! After the quick morning visit at the igloo we returned to the hotel.  On our drive out to the airport we drove past the Inuksuit (the plural of Inuksuk) that stand on the hill overlooking Igloolik…I grabbed a photo of them in the rising sun.  Even though they were waiting for us at the airport, I asked to stop so I could jump out of the van and took these two photos.  It took 30seconds…and I’m so glad I did…because the colours in the sky are amazing and now I have a photo to go along with my memories of Igloolik!

Chill’n in Igloolik

When I lived in Nunavut in 2009 my job required me to do a lot of travel to many communities.  One of the places I visited that year was Igloolik!  I blogged about my visits on “Newbie in the North” if you want to see the Igloolik posts you can click  HERE and HERE.

Today on our way back to have lunch I went on a quick walk with my travel companions to the water’s edge.  It was a quick walk, because it was DARN cold!  It was -32C with a windchill of -41C or so.  Yep, definitely colder than Pang.  I arrived yesterday here in Igloolik for work.

Despite the crazy cold temperatures…I took a few photos.  (Even with double mitts my fingers were cold at the end…however my parka, Pang hat and kamiks kept me toasty warm!) So without further ado… here’s the shots I took on my walk! I’m going to leave my photos to do the talking…

Looking forward to another awesome day here in Igloolik…hope you have a great day as well!

Wordless Wednesday XVIII: Hello Moon…you do know it’s 2pm right?

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