Monday, July 8, 2013

summer in the arctic

Summer is here in Cambridge Bay!  The whole world has transformed to a different landscape.  To demonstrate just how drastically the Arctic landscape changes with each season, compare the following photos, taken at the same location at different seasons:

The beached boat and shed at the end of my street:
winter: frozen sea, frozen road, perpetual sunset/sunrise

summer: melted Arctic Ocean, dusty road, eternal sunshine

The icebreaker ship, the Martin Bergmann:

winter: frozen into the harbour

The Anglican church:


Houses on the street:

Winter: Do not freeze, frozen

Summer: unfrozen

The Northern store:


My favourite view in town, with a bonus spring shot:



So what are Arctic summers like? For one thing, they're short. They say the best of the season lasts maybe only six weeks. The ocean only melted a little while ago, after all. But it's a glorious six weeks of intense transformation. The temperature these days range from 1°C to 20°C, while usually lingering around 11°C, and it seems to be sunny all the time - even at midnight. In this short amount of time, birds come out to mate, flowers bloom, and everyone heads out to their cabin to enjoy some peaceful fishing.  Unfortunately, during this time, the mosquitos also come out, swarming you like they've been starving all winter for your tasty tasty blood. The male mosquitos are huge, about the size of your palm. The best days are 13°C with a cool breeze, just enough wind to keep the bugs away.

The dusty, dusty roads of summer

beached sleds filled with fur hides, waiting for winter

My neighbour, a hunter, caught this grizzly bear and is drying its fur hide in the front yard. Impressive, eh?

Rob and I went for a walk along the beach shore one evening. Even though it was getting close to nine o'clock, the sun was still high in the sky.  The whole town seemed quiet and peaceful. Somebody had told me that crimes might go up in the summer, as kids and folks stay up all night with the permanent daylight. Others tell me the crimes go down; with people going out on the land, camping, hunting, fishing, and generally spending time in nature and far away from each other, they run into less conflict.  Everything seemed pretty calm that evening.

We dipped our hands into the ocean - still pretty cold, even for July. We weren't going for an Arctic Ocean swim anytime soon.

there's a little girl's bike at the bottom of the shore

this hot dog is just too hot to move. poor husky.

building inukshuks on the beach

Skipping stones into the ocean

There's still a bit of snow left in some places