Sunday, 2 June 2013

Getting Around the Frozen Bay

Sofia Jain

We’ve only found 5 more species since we last posted. It seems it will get trickier as we try to find the less common plants and the plants that do not keep previous years of growth. On Friday we took a break from searching amongst last year’s plant growth for signs of life and went on a skidoo ride with some new friends from the Nunavut Research Institute. We were 5 people, 3 skidoos and a komatik, which is a sled pulled behind a skidoo that we packed with food and emergency supplies.

We then went speeding along the frozen Frobisher Bay. We passed by some groups of sled dogs curled up in the snow. They live out on the ice all winter long. I was told that most of the people who still use sled dogs are Southerners now that do it for fun, because skidoos are so much more time efficient when it comes to moving across the land for hunting.

There was never a dull moment in the 7 hours we spent upon the skidoos. There is nothing quite like wiping along the ice at frightening speed surrounded by stunning rocky hills and cliff faces. Around the edges of the land were vertical walls of ice, where the ice freezes to the rock for the season. These can only be seen at low tide when all the ice over the bay sinks, leaving the walls of ice above. The guys who took us out brought along hunting guns with the hopes of getting seal, ptarmigan or goose, all of which are often eaten up here. Other than many Canadian geese, we saw wolf tracks where we stopped for lunch and a seal hole.  They explained that the seals maintain holes in the ice to come up and breathe or bask in the sun during the winter.
Vertical ice wall (top), seal hole (bottom left) and wolf prints (bottom right, taken by Zoe)

                    The plant hunters…

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