Tuesday, June 4, 2013

spring in the Arctic

Spring has sprung! It's not the kind of spring that people down south are used to - the Bay is still frozen and people are still driving their snowmobiles over it - but it's considerably warmer now, hovering around zero degrees, which means the air doesn't have that cold bite anymore.

Cambridge Bay from afar. You can also see Mount Pelly behind the town.


The snow is slowly thawing, which means so is the dog poop and scraps of meat that people leave on the ground for their dogs to gnaw on. There's this one strip of town that I call Hunter Alley, because you can't walk down it without passing random half-eaten hooves, caribou heads, and other mysterious animal body parts lying on the side of the roads.

 an impressive collection of antlers

 don't look at this picture too closely if you get grossed out easily by butchered meat

Thawing body parts aside, Cambridge Bay really is a beautiful place in the spring time. Right now, the sun is spinning in this crazy loop around the sky, running laps like the Circle Dog, and never going down.   With the sun shining 24 hours a day, you get breathtaking sights like this: a midnight rainbow shooting into the frozen Arctic Ocean, in the middle of the night, during a sunshower.  Nunavut, land of magic!

 rainbow! midnight sun! sunshowers! magic!

With the Arctic Ocean ice getting thinner, the Bay has taken on a particularly beautiful shade of blue-green.  I can't wait for it all to melt so I can sit at the beach and watch the ocean, which is such a brilliant colour that it resembles the Caribbean. Except that if you try to swim in it, you might freeze to death.
you can start to see the colour of the water under the ice

so pretty

the good old Martin Bergmann icebreaker, still frozen in the harbour

For now, the ice is still thick enough to walk on, and even drive on, most parts of it. Snowmobiles race through the puddles on the ice, resembling jetskis.  They call it water skipping.

however, I would be nervous about driving out into this melting ice road.

As for the land, the roads have turned into mud and potholes.  It's a never-ending battle against the dirt. I stomp my boots, I beat the rugs, and yet the next day somebody's tracked mud and dirt all over the place inside. Hopefully it will become fashionable soon to wear mud on the back of your jeans.

The snow over the tundra has begun to melt, revealing the many small lakes that surround Cambridge Bay that you would never know of in the winter time.  With all the bodies of water around is, it's no wonder mosquitoes love it here in the summer. That's right. We get mosquitoes in the summer. Really really big ones too. You just can't get no relief. On the other hand, with 24 hours of daylight, our summers are relatively free of vampires (winter is another story though). Also, the Slender Man can't get you here, because there are no forests where he can hide.

I didn't know this pond existed, because it was all frozen tundra in the winter.
You can see the Distant Early Warning station in the background, watching out for Russians.

"You like my ride?"