Day 6 - August 30, 2013 - Cape Dorset, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
By Karolina Karas, General Naturalist/Polar Bear Guard
Co-ordinates: N 64º14’, W 076º33’
Temperature: 2ºC, 35ºF
Wind: 30-35 knots
Early this morning Silver Explorer sailed into her anchorage position just one and a half miles out from Cape Dorset. This little town calls itself the “Capital of Inuit Art” and indeed it is. Since the 1950’s Cape Dorset has been the center of art in the Inuit community producing drawings, printmaking and my favorite: carvings.
After breakfast the Expedition team made its way to the beach to meet with five local guides that would take the guests on a guided tour to various shops and workshops. Here we could admire the process of creating this special form of art, and at the same time give us the opportunity to support local artists and the community by purchasing some of the pieces.
Making our way to the printmaker’s workshop, the guides explained as well as demonstrated how they make these beautiful prints. One thing that stood out was the wear marks on the spoon they used to press the paper onto the carved template transferring the paint to paper.
Leaving the workshop, we made our way to the community center where we were able to meet various local artists whose work was being displayed. Each piece, so beautifully made, was for sale. One artist even put on a carving demonstration. How incredible it was to watch from one simple piece of stone, with a bit of imagination, someone can create a dancing bear, owl, hunter or even a dancing Walrus among many other creatures.
After spending the morning admiring all of the amazing works of art around me I could not just walk away having seen them, I had to buy one. But with so many choices how does one make a decision? With that thought in mind, I left Cape Dorset with not one, but FOUR carvings! Judging from all of the shopping bags being carried by some of the guests, I could see that I was not the only one who had gotten lost in the magic of Inuit Art. Like me they had to take some home.
Gathering in the Theatre, four locals who had joined us for lunch, put on an amazing show of traditional Inuit throat singing. Having never seen this before I was excited for the experience. I wasn’t disappointed.
For our afternoon’s activity, a landing and walks of different lengths were planned in the Mallikjuak Territorial Park, which is found right across the bay from Cape Dorset. Our guests could choose between three different lengths of walks (long, medium and short) around the park that were guided by three local guides. I joined our onboard Archeologist Coleen and the short walkers. Our guide was dressed in all black and had a rifle with a scope on his right shoulder.
With the wind blowing and snow falling from the sky, our guide took us first along the beach and then up a small hill straight to the remains of a village that originally was settled by the Thule People about 1,500 years ago. You can only imagine how excited Coleen was. With a small camera in her hand and a big smile on her face she started taking pictures of the sight. I think you may guess together with me what her recap tonight will be about?
By 5:30 pm we were all back and Silver Explorer was ready to set sail to tomorrow’s destination of Douglas Harbor. I wonder what tomorrow’s weather will bring?
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