A Visit to Sanikiluaq, Nunavut

Earlier this month I had a trip to Sanikiluaq.  It was my last work trip for 2014.  (While on the trip I was crazy, busy so didn’t have time to blog…then jumped into holiday mode and visited with friends and family like one should do when they are on holidays so I didn’t get around to blogging.  However, I do want to share my photos from my trip to Sanikiluaq so here it goes!

My trip started with me getting to Iqaluit…I was a bit delayed because of weather and flights, but did make it in time to see Santa as he visited Iqaluit for their parade! (Yes, it was -23C with the wind, and people still lined the streets to see Santa and get candy canes!)

Santa Parade

I guess I should first explain how one gets to Sanikiluaq…it is located in Hudson’s Bay close to Quebec.  There are no direct flights from Iqaluit to Sanikiluaq–unless there’s a charter flight.  But to get there on scheduled flights you have to route via Montreal, then fly back north via Kuujjuarapik. Below is the map of Nunavut so you can see where Sanikiluaq (or Sani for short) is located.



Ahh the joy of airports…luggage and travel!  Seems like a theme from my fall of 2014… montrealHere are a few maps of Nunavik (northern Quebec) which show where Kuujjuarapik and Sani are located! This was my 2nd visit to Nunavik—because I visited Kuujjuaq in October. 

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Can you see a bit better where Sanikiluaq is located? (Latitude 56° 32’ N,  Longitude 79° 15’ W)

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Flights are always unpredictable…I had an hour flight from Montreal, only to turn back because the GPS wasn’t working on the plane–so we had to change planes and re-try.  Yahoo for delays eh? Then we had to stop in La Grande River to refuel before we went on to Kuujjuarapik…yahoo for more delays.

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Sanikiluaq Trip004Sanikiluaq Trip005After a brief stop in Kuujjuarapik…we continued on to Sanikiluaq…only a few hours behind schedule.

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Flying over ice on Hudson’s Bay… Sanikiluaq Trip009


Yahoo we arrived…I breathed a sigh of relief.  (The week before Sani had 2 blizzard days…the wind was pretty steady when we arrived as well, but we landed safe and sound!) Sanikiluaq Trip010


You could see evidence of the snow and blizzard days the community had the week before.  SNOW EVERYWHERE! I couldn’t believe it…they had so much snow…compared to Pang… Sanikiluaq Trip016


Sanikiluaq – ᓂᑭᓗᐊᖅ – ‘Home of Sandy Kiluaq’

Sanikiluaq is Nunavut’s southernmost community, located in the Belcher Islands of southeastern Hudson Bay about 150 kilometres (93 miles) off the coast of Québec. It is the only permanent settlement in this entire archipelago, which is a group of 1,500 islands spread over 3,000 square kilometres (1,158 square miles). Many of the smaller islands provide special breeding grounds for numerous species of migratory seabirds, ducks and geese. The coastal waters contain an abundance of seals, walruses and beluga whales. Expert hunting and fishing is a traditional lifestyle here, as is sea kayaking and soapstone carving. Sanikiluaq is famous for the incredible, unique handicrafts made by its women, including dolls made of fish skin and parkas made of eider ducks. The hamlet is named after a legendary Inuk person who once lived here named Sandy Kiluaq. He was an adopted little boy who lived in hard times, but he grew up to become the best hunter and best provider in the region, a hero to his community, so they named it after him. {Source}

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This was a little bridge I walked over on my way from the hotel to the spots I had to visit in town.  And the other shows a fence…I’m pretty sure it’s a snow fence and it’s crazy blocked by snow already–doing it’s job stopping some of it from coming into town. Sanikiluaq Trip014


The second day I was there…the wind started to pick up.  Sanikiluaq Trip017

The morning of the third day—it was quite windy! Sanikiluaq Trip019

Which made walking fun—I was glad for my warm winter gear! I almost didn’t bring my snow pants—but so glad that I did bring them… Sanikiluaq Trip020

I was really worried that my flight might not land… especially when I saw the winds were 43Km/hr… Sanikiluaq Trip023

The community didn’t shut down because of the winds though…everyone kept working, since it wasn’t a ‘blizzard’ with whiteouts yet. Sanikiluaq Trip024


The airport called to let us know we had to go earlier to catch our flight.  Then started the great waiting game.  Our flight did land, and take off for Kuujjuarapik.  While we were sitting on the plane waiting for the fuel bill to be signed by the pilots…the WHOLE plane was ROCKING.  Made me wish I had gravol–because it was making me queasy.  (I get motion sickness–but normally only in cars or boats!) Don’t worry I was fine. Sanikiluaq Trip021We we landed in Kuujjuarapik…all of our bags are taken off the aircraft….so they can go through a security screening so we can con’t on to Montreal.  (When you fly in the Arctic you only go through security if you fly SOUTH…not if you fly from Community to Community.)

While waiting in the secured area…we found out that weather was developing in most of eastern Canada—including Montreal.  We were going to make a stop for extra fuel in Val-dor we continued on our way.  We did manage to land in Montreal…but were delayed with the crazy amounts of snow everywhere…it took about 45mins to get into the gate.  Then our bags were delayed…and I missed the cut-off to check in for my air Canada flight to Ottawa.  So after sorting out everything about when I’d be re-booked, finding a hotel room… I left the airport around midnight for a hotel.  Then headed back to the airport for 6:30am to catch my flight to Ottawa.

It was a bit of drama–but really in the grand scheme of things, it was good drama to experience!





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