The arctic life (part 2)

One evening, after a three day blizzard, the sky opened up and we decided to go for a walk. The bay is a fun place to go. It is close to town and fully iced up, safe enough, even though there is deep cracks everywhere. We met a guy digging a whole on the ice. It was about 5ft deep and still there was no sign of water. We thought he was there attempting to fish, but turns out he was trying to clean his polar bear hide using sea water. It was very nice and reassuring to actually see the tick ice below our feet.

Here, everyone goes around town and the land on a snowmobile or a quad, sometimes with a few children in the back. They have a sleigh to carry more people or any other stuff they need on big trips; extra gas and such. It takes them four hours on a snowmobile to reach Gjoa Haven the closest town. Beware: apparently the ride in a sleigh behind a snowmobile is very painful for your back, not recommended, but that’s  how locals do it!

Also everyone seem to have a dog, but they do not use them for transportation, I think it is mostly for security against other animals when they go on the land. By the way, they are the nicest dogs. Every time we go for our walk we found one or two who will follow us, they love to have attention.

Housing up here is very different. The houses are built on stilts as the ground is frozen all year round. Because of that there is no water or sewage integrated system. So all week, every day, many different trucks go around town to provide different services to the population. There is trucks to collect sewage (just follow the smell and you will find that truck pretty fast), and to distribute water from the lake outside of town, and to distribute heating oil for the furnace. Therefore, every house is limited to the content of the tank until the next delivery.

This system made us more conscious of water usage if you don’t want to run out before the next delivery, which is never at the same schedule. Also, if you fill up the sewage tank too much the water pump disengage by precaution. We spent a few min trying to figure out why we couldn’t use the water in the tank. 

Groceries, as expected is expensive. Although there is a government subsidiary on certain, let’s say healthy items. For example a 2L of milk we pay about 5$, but the government program pays about the same on it, so the real value is about 10$. A can of pop is around 5$, each. Cereals are about 10$ a box. Bananas and apples goes for a little above 1$ each. What I find the most difficult to deal with is there is no fresh meat. Everything is frozen. 5 chicken breast frozen go for 16$ at one place and 30$ at the other. I still don’t understand why the big difference.


Life here is for sure very different than down south. I’m now very curious to experience another season. Apparently June is beautiful with the tundra all flowered up. And the dark winter is magical with northern lights and shining white snow on the ground. Maybe one day I will get another chance to come up here, who knows.


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