Day 10 - August 16, 2013 - Iqaluit, Nunavut Canada
By By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist/Polar Bear Guard
Co-ordinates: 63˚42’09 N, 68˚28’53 W
Weather: Scattered Clouds
After two wonderfully calm days crossing from Greenland, Silver Explorer dropped anchor this morning at our port of entry into Canada, Iqaluit.
Founded as an American airbase in 1942, it was then known as Frobisher Bay; not until 1987 was its name changed to Iqaluit, meaning ‘many fish’ in Inuktitut. Now, the capital city of Canada’s newest territory, it currently has a population of approximately six thousand people.
Awakening this morning with a slight grin on my face, glad to be back within the borders of my own country, I dawned my zodiac gear and headed to shore to pick up the Canadian Customs Officers. Setting up their operations in the lecture theatre, the customs officers would have each passenger and crew member pass by them for a face-to-face passport check.
With all formalities behind us Silver Explorer was cleared and operations for our afternoons activities in Iqaluit were ready to begin.
As zodiacs began to drop, winds started to blow upwards of 35 knots, putting us in danger of having to cancel our plans. With a decision made, imminent winds subsided enough to allow us to continue, but not without a long and choppy ride to shore ahead of us.
Doing their best to keep dry, the zodiac drivers headed to shore where Expedition Leader Robin West, along with the rest of the Expedition Team and our local guides were waiting. Time during disembarkation was of the essence as Iqaluit boasts an 11 to 12 meter tide. With everyone ashore, the tour began.
Heading off in different directions, visits were made to the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, which houses an incredible collection of Inuit artwork as well as a city tour.
Continuing we arrived in Apex town to inspect buildings from Hudson’s Bay Company. These particular buildings, having been built in the early 1900s, were part of a much grander history involving the Company and its expansion and exploits in the fur trade throughout the Canadian wilderness, dating back to the late 1600s and early 1700s.
Before returning to the low tide jetty and Silver Explorer, a stop was made at the Sylvia Grinnell Park for a walk amongst the ponds and tundra in search of wildlife and flora.
Returning to the vessel all were pleased to be going with the swell, it was to be a dry ride.
With another day behind us, our first of many in Canada, all were excited to have arrived. It seemed as though many good adventures were to come. Foremost, all onboard were hoping for another stunning show this evening by the Northern Lights! Fingers crossed…
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