Monthly Archives: May 2014

Iceberg- Straight Ahead!

I’m have just finished up two weeks of travel for work.  Last week I was in Arctic Bay and Iqaluit and then this week I visited Clyde River and Pond Inlet.  Tonight was the first time in 2 weeks that I downloaded the photos off my camera…this is almost unheard for me!  While I was walking on the ice taking photos of the iceberg tonight it was the first time that I had felt the need that I wanted to blog and that I felt like I had a story to share.  So I have decided to share photos from my last two days in Pond Inlet then work backwards with stories and photos from my time in Clyde River and Pond Inlet. (because they are also important to share–but icebergs are pretty awesome!)

When I arrived in town on Wednesday night was cloudy with white skies…it’s stayed like that for the past couple of days, even snowing off and on at times…but tonight it finally cleared up.  I was able to get to the Nattinak Visitor Centre on Thursday night.  I slipped in about 5 minutes to 5:00pm.  They close at 5pm, but the awesome worker (sorry I forget his name) took the time to show me around. He shared so much awesome information with lots of passion and excitement.  It was really nice for him to let me see the displays even though he didn’t close up until 5:10pm! May 20, 2014(SMcMahon)004

There’s a real-life model of a narwhal that hangs from the ceiling…and out of the windows you can see the iceberg that I wanted to walk out to visit. (Those little specks of black are dog teams and closer to shore are snowmobiles and/or komotiqs.)

After showing me around all the awesome displays…giving me heaps of information, some new some not so new…the guy who was working at the visitor centre did a live demo of the seal kick game. This top photo shows him kicking from a standing position.
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Here you can see the sequence of him doing the Alaska style…starting out sitting, with one hand holding the non-kicking foot….and stretching up and kicking to hit the tiny seal!  Pretty awesome feat! May 20, 2014(SMcMahon)002

Some of the awesome displays in the Visitor Centre. May 20, 2014(SMcMahon)003

Friday night after dinner I asked a friend that has been living in Pangnirtung this year…(but here in Pond for work for 3 weeks) if she’d like to join me on a walk out to the iceberg that has been frozen into the ice.  She agreed so off we went exploring!

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The weather is so nice…the sun is shining here in Pond Inlet 24 hours a day.  Kids are out playing even as I type this post…I can hear them and it’s 1:30am!  It’s fun to see kids being kids…playing in the dirt, mud and puddles as the melt is starting. May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)002

We walked through the oldest part of Pond Inlet on our way out to the iceberg…lots of older boarded up buildings, but also new homes as well!
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These little guys were too cute!

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Shy at first but these girl did talk to us…and they were enjoying a game of hopscotch!
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I thought this abandoned building was pretty neat…the sign on the end was interesting, can’t honestly tell you more than that about it though!

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Here’s the sign… May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)006

Looking across the ice to Bylot Island…the clouds tonight kind of hovered at the peaks of the mountains. May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)007

Looking towards the iceberg…about a 15-20minute walk off shore. May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)008 May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)009

My friend getting closer…sticking to the snowmobile trails…as it was easier to walk, and we didn’t sink into the soft snow! May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)010

We did walk around the iceberg…sorry for the photo over-load!  It seamed that every angle it looked different and often had different lighting.
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There was two more people out too look at the iceberg!  They were getting some chunks of ice to make tea…apparently iceberg water is some of the best.  (I didn’t get close enough to touch it…it’s melting, and chunks are falling off it…didn’t want to get bonked on the head and die. So no iceberg tea for me.) I had been warned by a few people not to get to close, because of the cracks and the ‘berg is melting. May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)012

Everyone needs to take a selfie with a iceberg! May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)013

The last time I saw icebergs was in April of 2009.  I got to visit some on a day trip out to Cumberland Sound…there were 4 that were fairly close together and ice-locked.  I blogged about that trip over on my ‘newbie in the north’ blog- iceberg#1, iceberg#2,  iceberg#3 and iceberg#4.  (it was 4 separate posts…and looking back on those blogs makes me smile a bit to see how my blogging has changed!) May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)014

A close-up of the top…
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Me in front of the massive ‘berg…with my friend’s shadow in the corner.  Thanks for snapping this shot for me! May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)017

…selfie at the ‘berg! May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)018

From the back side… or is it the front side? May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)019

…in the corner of this shot you can see the houses from town on the hill!
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…those are small people standing beside the iceberg. May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)021 May 23, 2014(SMcMahon)022

…one last shot, before walking back to the hotel.
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It was the perfect evening to go for the walk. It was awesome to have a friend here that wanted to do the walk with me, thanks Rae!

It’s almost 2am…I can still hear kids playing and the sun is shining through my window! I have a long day tomorrow…starting off at being at the airport for 7am.  So I best find my sleep mask and try to get some sleep.  I’m totally lucky that I can sleep easily on a plane!

Happy 6th Birthday Benjamin

Screaming from the top of my lungs from the High Arctic in Pond Inlet, Nunavut!
Happy 6th Birthday to my handsome nephew,
I hope you have super duper fun on your special day.

Benjamin and I

Enjoy your birthday ice cream,
enjoy your birthday cake and,
most importantly, enjoy every minute of your birthday!
Happy birthday to a super-duper six year old!

It’s hard to believe you are SIX already!!! Seems like yesterday I was driving to the hospital to meet you for the first time. Hope you have a fantastic Birthday…

Luv, Aunt Sarah

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold;
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER,” A word that means the world to me. El Salvador0005

 

Happy Mother's Day

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El Salvador0011

Dear Mum,

Thanks for being you and the best mum a gal could ever want! Hope you have a fantastic day today. This past year has been awesome…spending a bit more time with you.  Our trip to El Salvador was awesome..thanks for joining me!

Enjoy your dinner with everyone tonight…wish I could be there!

luv you,

Sarah

Who let the dogs out?

When I was about 7 or 8 I went to this lady’s house after school until my mum was done work. She lived down the street from us.  One day mum picked us up and we got home and she realized we hadn’t paid her.  So mum asked me to take the money back to her house.  I didn’t want to go–I didn’t tell my mum why. (The lady had a big dog in her backyard…when we were there it was always tied up, but it barked and was mean sounding…so I didn’t want to go back into her yard to give her the money because of the dog.) Mum didn’t listen to me not wanting to go back, but sent me back to her house!  I went into the back yard… knocked on the back door and I remember the dog coming up from behind me and biting me.  The lady answered, I was crying I think I threw her the money said, “your dog bit me” and ran home. Once there I stomped into the house and yelled at my mum, “…are you happy now? her stupid dog bit me.” (it didn’t break the skin and the lady followed me home to make sure I was ok.  In the end it was ok, except for the fact that dogs freaked me out!)

What’s the point of this little story? well experiences shape our thoughts and beliefs about things…so that experience has made me really nervous and freaked out around big, hyper dogs.  Little dogs are ok… but big dogs…not really my cup of tea.

Nunavut is a place with lots and lots of dogs.  Over the years of living here…I’ve been working on overcoming that childhood fear. I’ve become friends with some awesome people that have big dogs…and have joined them on walks.  I’m ok as long as they don’t jump up on me! Today I faced that fear…and went on a dog sled trip! It was a fabulous day…and not once was I scared.  Perhaps my new experiences have wiped out that fear of dogs from my childhood. Dog Sledding025 I contacted Louis-Philip (owner/head guide) from Inukpak Outtfitting who is based in Iqaluit.  We figured out a day he was free and it would work for me and I took a day off work and flew to Iqaluit to go dog sledding! That day was today… Dog Sledding002 I met Louis-Philip at his house…and made sure I had warm enough gear.  I didn’t bring my Sorels, but had my rubber boots + 2 pairs of wool socks…my feet probably would have been ok, but Louis-Phillip had a selection of all the gear you’d ever need to go outside and have a fun day in the Arctic.  So I grabbed a pair of his Baffin Boots and a neck warmer (I forgot mine)…and off we went! (But that’s one of the thing that’s awesome about this outfitter…is you don’t need to have all the warm boots, parka, snow pants, mittens etc… he has all these for your use as part of the tour!) Dog Sledding006 I hung back and watched Louis-Philip get all the harnesses ready.  Before he hitched up the dogs we walked up and down the lines and he presented each dog and told me their name and a bit about them.  Honestly, there’s only a few dogs names I remember but they were a lively bunch! As Louis-Philip hitched the dogs I stayed close to the qamotiq and got on just before the alpha male was hitched (he’s the last dog to be hitched)! Then it was time to go!  Dog Sledding007 Off we went… the dogs were eager to get running! (Don’t worry about the dog on the right…she’s one of the pups, and is still learning ropes on the team. To start off she is harnessed but not clipped in with the other dogs, because she’s a slow starter and the rest of the team start off fast…eventually once we are on the sea ice she would get clipped in.  Today she managed to get out of her harness and ran with the rest of the team until our snack.  Then was put back into the harness and clipped in to join the team and be a sled dog!) Dog Sledding009

It was a super nice day to be out on the ice… a wee bit windy…but it was at our back on our way out of town! Dog Sledding010

Sitting and enjoying the ride…but also talking up a storm.

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We passed a few other teams that were chained on the ice.  Sometimes the dogs wanted to get closer to “visit” the other dogs but all visits were avoided!
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Going around some of the pack ice….a wee bit bumpy!  (Pack ice is in the tidal zone and is created by the tides.)
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Just before we stopped for our snack and break…the dogs decided they wanted a break, and stopped running… so Louis-Philip got up to run with the dogs.
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When we stopped for lunch…the break was put on the qamotiq. Louis-Philip grabbed his whip and cracked it in the air (the whip didn’t touch any of the dogs).  This is a signal for the dogs to lay down and rest… Then it was time for us to enjoy some hot chocolate and tea with some awesome snacks.  Dog Sledding019

Just hanging out before it’s time to get back on the trail! Dog Sledding020

Before heading back on the trail Louis-Philip sorted out all the dog’s ropes…to make sure they weren’t all tangled.  The girl puppy I was talking about earlier…decided to start a play fight with her brother which started some playful bites! Dog Sledding024

Back into town…with the wind at our faces! At times with a little encouragement required to get the dogs moving! Dog Sledding027

At the end of the ride…I was asked if I wanted to take the dogs out of the harness and put them back on their chains.  I took a deep breath and said yes.  So was showed how to get the dogs out of the harness.. and then walked them to their spot and hooked them on their chain. . I did about 4 dogs as Louis-Philip did the other 9!  (I was given the out if they jumped up or scared me to just let go but it wasn’t needed they all behaved!)

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If you ever want to go on a dog sledding Iqaluit is the place to do it!  Thanks again Louis-Philip for an awesome day…it was great to meet you and your dogs!

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