Thursday, December 28, 2006

Aklavik dog sled race

I had the pleasure of seeing a dog sled race in Aklavik on December 26, during the brief hour-or-so of reflected sunlight which arrives at mid-day.

It was quite exciting, and it's clear those dogs born to run. They have to be restrained so they don't leap out of the trucks and start racing!

To my surprise (though I suppose it should have been expected) I found the dogs to be very hyped up and aggressive; they fought with each other, barked constantly, and seemed to struggle against their chains. However, once the musher gave the signal, they all ran in unison, with 32 legs scrambling against the ice road.

On boxing day, about 40-50 people came out to watch the races, and I was not the only person who made the two-hour drive via ice road from Inuvik.

One last note: As you can also see from the last picture, it's pretty clear one dog sustained an eye injury. Was this caused by a fight? A cold chain whipping during the race? Is it an eye infection? I don't know. Hopefully he's doing okay!

[NOTE: Some pics removed temporarily. They will be back.]

Inuvik drinking establishments, pt.1

Frosty's Arctic Pub opens at 11am and closes at 2am. It's about 20 metres from the office and 80 metres from my house, so it's a pretty convenient place to get a beer.

It also wins the award for "seediest parking lot."

Arctic cat

There is no pet store in Inuvik, but I have seen cats, fish, birds and even a lizard.

How do people get them up here? By plane, I suppose.

You forgot my prefecture!

Here's a strange fact: The gigantic website, which is used by milions of people, does not recognize the NWT though it recognizes Nunavut and the Yukon.

It's blockbuster season!

Here's an example of prices here, and a funny anecdote about movies. Since there's no movie theatre in Inuvik, everyone is looking to rent Pirates of the Carribean 2, and all those big summer pictures people down south have been talking about.

As you can see, it's expensive to buy movies though rentals are $5 or less.

Tsiigehtchic's "home store"

Tsiigehtchic is a small hamlet of about 150 people. The only store there is "Num-Nums," which is a dry-goods store run out of someone's living room. The only sign is a computer-printed piece of paper on the door.

Since the closest grocery store is about an hour away, in Fort McPherson -- and since Tsiigehtchic is isolated for about 4-6 weeks twice a year, as the ice road freezes or melts --- it's really an invaluable service.

You can even rent videos!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Road to Aklavik

Here's the truck on the ice road to Aklavik, which is a 2-hour drive away from Inuvik. This photo was taken shortly before noon, and I've increased the brightness in Photoshop so you can see something.

A quiet drive, to be sure.

Merry Christmas, pt,2

Everyone check out this beautiful lamp from Northmart. It was a gift.

Thanks to Lindsay for knowing my tastes so well, and Merry Christmas to everyone one last time!

Inuvik's Epcot centre

This is a dome building owned by New North Networks, which is the internet/cable/satellite company in Inuvik.

It's a round white structure which is visible from almost anywhere in the community.

Strange, but practical!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Another sunset picture

What can I say! This is the colour pallette these days.

Saturday afternoon caribou beans

Thanks to the community feast and grocery store, we have:
1. Caribou meat, fresh harvested
2. Quebec style maple syrup beans.
Franco-northern beans. Voila!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays, from the Holiday bar

All I want for Christmas this year? A bar in my own house.

Thanks to Simon for the coconut glasses, which were kept since last year's Beach Party in Ottawa.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Surprize! It's not shoe polish!

I got this Christmas box from my family, check it out!
Merry Christmas to everyone!
(p.s. -- by the time you read this, the chocolate almonds will have long dissapeared.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ice road to Tuktoyaktuk

I got a ride to Tuktoyaktuk today, on the 130km ice road. It's a 2-hour drive on the frozen Mackenzie River, followed by a short stint on the frozen ocean.
Overall, a very smooth ride! It's fun to look at the shore 200 metres away and think you're driving on water.
Interestingly enough, it's also possible to see cracks and light green patches in the ice. But the road is supposed to be open until March or April, and it's guaranteed safe.

A duck wearing a parka

There was some northern art on display Aurora College. Isn't it interesting? Materials include antler, fur, soapstone, fabric, and ivory.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Quicker healthcare up north? Whaaaat?

I recently got sick and had to visit the Inuvik Regional Hospital. I was there prescribed antibiotics for a rather serious cough/throat infection you don't want to hear about.

I am now feeling better, and since Inuvik's population is so low, I was able to see a doctor almost immediately.

That's right! I saw a doctor within 30 minutes of an unsheduled arrival, just breezing in on a Tuesday morning.

The north continues to amaze me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What a cool idea!

There's an interesting kids' show called "Raven Tales" on the Aboriginal People's Television Network (APTN).

It deals with the adventures of Raven and Eagle, who are key figures in traditional tales. The stories also seem to be re-tellings of aboriginal stories, with comedy.

I love the character design, which makes them resemble totem-pole sculptures!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why don't more people move here?

It always surprises me to think only 44,000 people live in the Northwest Territories.

Thus, with a population of about 3,500 -- if we include travelling workers ---Inuvik is the 3rd biggest town in the whole territory.

Here's the list for 2001. (The numbers seem low, but it should give you an idea.)

Hay River
Fort Smith
Fort Simpson
Fort McPherson
Fort Providence
Norman Wells

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Igloo Church

This is Inuvik's most famous landmark, the so-called "Igloo" Catholic church! It has very nice stained glass on the top spire.

Truth in advertising!

Feels like I'm playing MYST

I took apart my fish-eye lens to clean the inside, and now I can't put it back together! This is a frustrating but interesting little puzzle game. I forgot how the four lenses interact.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sunrise at noon

This is the sun as it appeared in Inuvik, during my lunch break at 12:44pm.

So, to people reading this: Send me loud Hawaiian shirts for Christmas. :)

Views from Fort McPherson

Not much explanation needed...this was taken outside the local arena on Sunday. Looks like a fun way to drag your groceries around.

Emergency kit

The Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik ice roads are now open, which means I'll be traveling at least once a week.

I've outfitted the car with the following stuff, to be safe:

1.Portable spotlight (for signaling other cars, finding my keys, etc.)
2.Blankets, and lots of them.
3.Spare hat
4.Water bottles
5.Some dry food (basically granola bars)
6.Reflective tape
7. Warm clothing
8.Candles/lighters in waterproof box
9.Jerry Can (pending)

I am thinking back to a Reader's Digest article from several years ago, where the guy's truck rolled into a ditch and he survived for a week eating melted snow and one chocolate bar.

That's not going to happen to me! If my truck rolls over on the Dempster Highway, or the engine breaks down when it's -40 and dark and I'm an hour away from Inuvik, I will be FINE.

(Maybe I should pack some books, just in case.)

The only traffic light in Inuvik!

Well, here it is! This photo was taken around 3pm. (With a fancy lens filter.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My apologies + post deletions

I have received notice to remove all copyrighted photos from this website, since images that I've taken for the paper are the property of News/North.

This being said, many previous posts have been deleted.

Though I will continue to update, I will no longer be posting images taken through work.

For those who are interested, you can browse News/North at, or perhaps buy a subscription.

My apologies to NNSL as well!

Friday, December 01, 2006

All night, all the time!

Hey, it looks like the sun is finally dissapearing! The good news is, after 30 days of complete darkness, the days will start getting longer again.