Arctic Notes

Another blog post from Isla and crew that got partially lost in the satellite phone ether, now recovered!

Arctic Notes: a few short notes about some memorable experiences from our time in the Arctic so far…

Sunday 26 June 2016 – Bowheads breaching
We were out setting up a plot on what is now known as Bowhead Ridge and were looking out towards the North across the water and we saw Bowhead whales breaching!  Jumping in the air as high as they could go and falling back on the water in a splash.  We also saw them hitting the water with their tail flukes.  We had to share around the binoculars – two breaches per person and then we switched. We also saw lots of beluga whales from a far up on the hill with the binoculars.  Three were even swimming past camp – sigh – if only we were on the beach at the time to get a closer view.  It was all pretty magical.

Sunday 26 June 2016 – Thunder storms
It was a mostly sunny day, but with towering cumulous thunder clouds over the British mountains.  There were some particularly large clouds that made their way out towards the island.  Imposing skies were to be seen all day and it was quite warm for the Arctic.  In the evening the storms arrived on the Island and there were strikes of lightning, thunder and heavy rain.  There aren’t usually thunderstorms here, so it was quite something to see.

Monday 27 June 2016 – A bear on the horizon
It was wet and grey, but we went to set up another plot and on the way back I saw a black dot on the horizon.  It looked like Mansa the camp dog, but he doesn’t go out on his own.  So we took a look with binos and low and behold it was a dark chocolatey brown grizzly bear.  He/she surveyed us for a while as we did she/he, and then lumbered off in the other direction.  We have named her/him Brunhilde – because she/he was brown.

Friday 1 July 2016 – Sweet memories of Cebu
One of our favourite island snacks – so addictive – is Philippine Brand dried mango.  It is just like eating mangoes fresh off of the tree – well as close as we can get here in the Arctic, now that the freshies – all the fresh veggies and fruit – are almost gone apart from the root vegetables, apples and oranges.  Goodbye lettuce, cucumber, non-UHT dairy products, and all those fresh items that we will have to live without until the Kluane Crew arrives in the end of July to resupply us!

Monday 4 July 2016 – Aivikamik tautuktunga – “I saw a walrus” in Inuvialuktun! (or something similar to that – we had to piece that together with the dictionary, app from the iPhone and some guessing and checking with the rangers)

We woke up to the news to a radio message from Edward the ranger that there was a walrus in the cove and we all jumped out of bed and headed outside to see a walrus swimming by to the boat dock.  It checked us out for a while and then swam around the point and then beached it’s self on the other side of the point.  I saw it a bit later out there and we tried to sneak up on it to get a bit of a closer look, but I think we scared it back into the ocean and it swam off to the East. Maybe it will come back to visit?  I hope so…

By Isla

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