Friday, April 10, 2009

On The Land

Increasingly, the rhythm of life here begins to change. Families head out on the land with the arrival of long daylight hours and warmer temperatures. I was able to take a trip down to Ikpikittuarjuk (72.12N 84.35W), a popular fishing lake in the springtime during my first spring here. The trip took about 6-7 hours by skidoo. You can make it there faster than this but at the time I was pulling a very heavy qamutiq with my skidoo and traveling with a large group. At any rate, it was easily the furthest distance I've ever traveled by skidoo. At the risk at over-romanticizing, I should add that there were times I was cold, thirsty or generally confused over exactly where I was in this vast expanse of frozen ice and snow. However, I look back on it with a sense of pride and accomplishment and it was one of the highlights of living here in Arctic Bay.

First stop at Iqalulik (72.65N 85.70W, Eqalulik in English), a river mouth feeding into Admiralty Inlet.

The first large ice crack we had to pass over. This isn't the greatest picture and it wasn't the largest crack I had to cross on the trip but it was my FIRST. I may or may not have taken a spill off my skidoo while crossing it.

A stop along the way. I think this was still in the vicinity of Iqalulik.

Views of Ikpikittuarjuk.

The qamutiq I was towing.

The second morning a couple of hunters arrived with 3 caribou they had harvested. You get a pretty nice fur off the animal once it is dried and cleaned up a little.

You also get kummaq (spelling?) These are small grubs about the size of the top joint of your thumb. They start out as flies, warble flies, which burrow into the animal and lay their eggs underneath their coat. These eggs eventually turn into small grubs which can be picked off the carcass once the hide is removed. They can then be picked off and eaten. I have to say that they tasted really good. Once you get over the crunchy outer skin, your mouth is filled with a wonderfully sweet liquid, not unlike the taste of honey. Originally, I ate this little guy on a dare but ended up eating 5 more. They became my breakfast for the morning along with my coffee.


That is the chicken said...

Fascinating information! The photo's tell a great story. You've obviously made the most of your time way up.

Meandering Michael said...

I can't believe you ate the warble fly larvae and posted about it - not because you ate them (I'd try them too) but because now you're going to have the Warble Fly Shepherd Society coming after you for your inhumane treatment of warble flies!

jen said...

eww Darcy. Fly larva. Ewww. Although I guess arctic flies should be some of the cleanest. Still.

Way Way Up said...

Best breakfast dishes to wash up!

Jennith said...

Blackflies taste like blueberries - at least in Northern Ontario - they are delicious and considering how often they bit me... I figured it was only fair I bite back.. if they were dumb enough to fly into my mouth.