Notes from the North

Day 3 — Gjoa Haven to Cambridge Bay

Sunrise at around 3:40, Sunset around 9:10

Prior to our departure for Cambridge Bay InMER had a very busy day here. The community was very welcoming.

We had an important discussion with and George Washington Porter about the community of Gjoa Haven and the importance of good jobs fro the community. We met with Louis Kamookak a local expert on John Franklin and Roald Amundsen. Louis, as a former member of the Hunters and Trappers associating shared some key observations concerning global warming. Louis told us how the snow condition on the ice in the channel Northwest of King William Island had changed and become harder. This was preventing the polar bear from being able to hunt their primary prey, seal. The elders felt that this was the reason the polar bears had moved out of this area.

He shared his concern that if, as predicted the sea ice continued to disappear the devastation it would have for the animals that depend on it and the traditional way of life for the Inuit that is so connected to the land.

We had the great fortune of meeting with Uriash Pukingnak on the beach of Gjoa. Uriash has been very active in the Government of the territory and in setting up the new province of Nunavut. Uriash should an insightful understanding on the need to act to address climate change for the sake of our children. How could we not, he stated. Even if the problem seems beyond our ability we must act.

As we left Gjoa Haven and headed west toward Cambridge Bay the words of the Mayor and Louis were echoing in my mind. Franklin sought and died seeking the Northwest Passage, Amundsen, adopted the way of the Inuit and learned to live with patience and sense of connection to the land, a profound respect. The passage was open below, as we flew across Victoria Strait and Larson Sound we saw our first sea ice. Beautiful and striking against the blue sea we could see that it was only small broken pieces. The passage was open even here.