Day 14 |
Aug 20, 2013

Cape Dorset, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 64º14', W 076º33'
Weather: Sunny with scattered clouds
Air Temperature: 5ºC
Pressure: 1010 hPa
Wind: 10 knots

Without a doubt, Cape Dorset is the most famous Inuit art village in the Canadian north, and a place I had been wanting to visit for a long time. Silver Explorer sailed into its anchorage position, on the south-western tip of Baffin Island early this morning, and soon thereafter the expedition team was on its way ashore to Cape Dorset to meet the guides that would take our guests on a walking tour of the town this morning.

Once at the beach we were met by five guides that took us and our guests to various workshops and shops where we could admire the creative process of a very special form of art, plus it was a chance to support the local economy. We went to a printmakers workshop where local artists explained and elaborated on the techniques used to create their beautiful and colourful prints. We then went to a carving demonstration and to a community centre where we had a chance to meet various local artists and buy their products.

During the morning we also visited a couple of shops selling stunning stone carvings of bears, Inuit hunters, seals, walrus, musk oxen, reindeer, etc. The Inuit of Cape Dorset truly are masters of stone carving, and their art can be bought at very reasonable prices; given that we are buying directly from the artists. I saw many of our guests come back on board with many bags...happy after this morning’s retail therapy.

After lunch our guests got together in the Theatre for a wonderful demonstration of traditional Inuit throat singing. I unfortunately was not able to assist as I was busy scouting the afternoon's destination, but I heard from colleagues that had heard throat singing in different places in the arctic, that this was the best show they had ever seen.

By 1:30 PM we started disembarking our guests to Mallikjuaq Territorial Park, right across the bay from Cape Dorset. Accompanied and guided by local guides, we offered three different hikes around the park. I joined the long hike group. We saw some archaeological remains from the Thule and Dorset people, several hundred year-old tent rings, fox traps, Inuksuit, kayak stands and stone houses. Guided by a great Inuit guide Niviatsit and his son Chucheni, it was a very interesting trip back into the archaeological past of this fascinating culture.

By 4 PM we were all back on board and Silver Explorer set sail towards tomorrow’s destinations: Bencas and Walrus Islands. Just before dinner the expedition team hosted our daily Recap & Briefing, followed by a delicious dinner in The Restaurant. Cape Dorset fulfilled my expectations and I will go home happy with my dancing bear.