Iqaluit Dress Guide for n00bs

One of the hardest things to account for when we came up here was the weather. Suzanne had done tons of research but the weather in Iqaluit is something you have to experience in order to really know about it. We simply heard “arctic” and “-30°c” and went right to Le Baron and stocked up on gear that could be used up in Grise Fiord. We experienced -30°c a few times in Waterloo and did not like it in the least. You’ll hear the term “dry cold” all too often when speaking with people who live in the north. It’s a difficult concept to explain to those who have only known “humid cold” all their lives. There’ve been many times I’d post on Facebook delighting about certain sub zero temperatures to the chagrin of my parents and southern friends. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t suddenly developed frost armor since coming to Iqaluit. Being chilled to the bones is not a feeling I enjoy. There are days when it’s so miserably cold here that it makes you question your sanity for staying.

In the end though it all comes down to how you dress for the weather. Most homes are well suited for the northern temperatures so you only really have to concern yourself with how you dress outside more than anything else. You’ll encounter a thousand different tidbits of advice across the Net about how to dress for the cold up here. It’s all based on personal preferences, protection from the elements and duration outside. While it is wise to have gear for extreme weather conditions the truth is you really don’t have to dress much different than you would down south most of the time. If you’re not a fan of the cold in general (a) you should live here and (b) your personal arrangement of clothes will more than likely be increased.

To understand Iqaluit weather you have to be aware of two things:

  • It’s cold. Dry or humid, cold is cold nonetheless
  • Wind means EVERYTHING.

For me, I’m a person who has always preferred being cooler than warmer. I find it easier to make myself warm in cold conditions than it is to cool down with oppressive heat. The fact that I’m a big dude probably plays a big factor in that. I’m built like a young polar bear so it just figures that I’d be more acclimated to the north. The following gear guide is just a reference for how I dress any given day in this city. You’ll notice that wind conditions affect what I wear tremendously. I base my gear selections on the higher side of the numbers listed. People have different body types and tolerances for cold so keep that in mind as well. You also gain a bit of conditioning once you’ve been here for over a year. You’ll know it when you head down south and normally nice weather (like 20c) is unbearably warm for you. Anyway I hope it provides a better understanding of what to expect should you choose to come up here.

The Go To (Basic)-5°c to -14°c (no wind)
Description: Gorgeous day. Typically near the end of winter and end of Sall. Sall is what I call summer here. We really don’t get a hot summer (although as we slip further into a Maritime Climate that can change). I find them to be on the cool side of nice so we have a mix of summer and fall – Sall. Cold enough for no bugs but warm enough to frolic without much layering. The lower end of the spectrum you can wear far less. I can recall being out in just a t-shirt, football jersey and jeans on -5°c days last year. Of course as you get into the double digits I employ a bit more clothing.

Selected Gear: Jeans or thick cotton Khakis, wool or thick cotton sweat socks, t-shirt (long or short), spring jacket. Ball cap or beanie (optional), Runners or hiking boots


The Go To (Extended)-5°c to -14°c (light winds w/wind chill of -19°c or so)
Description: Still a nice day but the winds make the cold a bit more noticeable. It also affects your amount of time outside. For day long excursions you will want to dress in more layers so you can add or remove as your activity level goes up and down. If you’re just doing basic treks then it’s fine to dress lighter.

Selected Gear: Jeans or thick cotton Khakis, wool or thick cotton sweat socks, t-shirt (long or short), sweat shirt w/hood, spring or fall jacket, beanie, insulated gloves (optional), hiking or rain boots


The Go To (Deluxe)-15°c to -23°c (no wind)
Description: Very similar to the weather above but the lack of wind makes it very tolerable to be out for much longer. The air is crisp but doesn’t bite and you can feel a tingle in your thighs if you don’t have light pants on and are out for a long time. However if you layer too much you can certainly start overheating with minimal activity. You encounter days like this typically in October, November, early December and the tail end of winter.

Selected Gear: Jeans or thick cotton Khakis, wool or thick cotton sweat socks, t-shirt (long or short), sweat shirt w/hood or fleece liner, fall jacket, beanie, insulated gloves, winter boots


The Light Rogue (Basic)-15°c to -23°c (medium winds w/wind chill of -30°c or so)
Description: A lot days in Iqaluit are like this during early and late winter. The wind chill is very noticeable. This is where gentlemen start experiencing Santa beards and moustachsicles and ladies can cut through glass (giggidy). You will have the uncontrollable runny nose no matter what you wear. Your length of time outside dictates how you should layer. Again you do run the possibility of overheating if you layer too much.

Selected Gear: Jeans or thick cotton Khakis (Thermal underwear underneath optional), wool socks, t-shirt (long or short), sweat shirt w/hood or fleece liner, winter jacket, beanie, insulated gloves, scarf (optional depending on blowing snow conditions), insulated winter boots


The Light Rogue (Extended)-24°c to -30°c (light or no winds)
Description: It’s cold but nice. Perfect example of the difference between dry and humid cold. Equivalent (in my opinion) of about -15° or so in the south. If the sun is out it’s gorgeous to just go trooping around or hop on a skidoo. Bear in mind that if you’re snowmobiling treat your wardrobe as if you’re dealing with a serious wind chill because going at moderate to high speeds will generate bitter conditions for exposed skin.

Selected Gear: Jeans or thick cotton Khakis (w/thermal underwear underneath optional) or snow pants, wool socks, t-shirt (long or short), sweat shirt w/hood or fleece liner (optional if wearing just a parka), winter jacket or light parka, beanie, insulated gloves, scarf (optional depending on blowing snow conditions), insulated winter boots


The Bear (Basic)-24°c to -30°c (medium to strong winds w/wind chill of -45°c or so)
Description: Okay. Here’s where you start respecting and fearing the cold. Once the wind kicks in at these base temperatures it totally changes the playful wardrobe choices. Now your start bundling to prevent as much wind from touching your skin as possible without turning yourself into an oven. Doesn’t matter if you’re making short treks or long, time to start dressing for the north.

Selected Gear: Snow pants (w/thermal underwear underneath optional), wool socks, t-shirt (long or short), fleece liner (optional if wearing just a light parka), light or heavy parka, beanie, insulated gloves, scarf, mask or balaclava, temperature rated insulated winter boots, goggles (optional)


The Bear (Basic)-30°c and higher (light winds w/wind chill of about -40°c or so)
Description: Once it’s past -30°c in base temperature it’s generally accompanied by SOME kind of wind. Even the slightest winds change the dynamics of the base so much. Not much change in what you should be wearing.

Selected Gear: Snow pants (w/thermal underwear underneath optional), wool socks, t-shirt (long or short), fleece liner (optional if wearing just a light parka), light or heavy parka, beanie, insulated gloves, scarf, mask or balaclava, temperature rated insulated winter boots, goggles (optional)


The Bear (Ho-Lee-Shit)-30°c and higher (strong winds w/wind chill of holy shit)
Description: No. Seriously. No. Unless you’re stuck outside already there’s no reason you should be on foot for any long periods of time in weather like this. When the wind chill is so cold that Fahrenheit and Celsius don’t matter anymore it’s brutal. People can and have died in weather like this so don’t play around with fate too much. If you have to go out, dress as if you might get lost. Better safe than sorry. These are very real temperature you might encounter on a skidoo so be very prepared.

Selected Gear: Snow pants w/thermal underwear underneath, wool socks (possibly doubled based on footwear), t-shirt (long or short), fleece liner, heavy parka, beanie, polar mitts, scarf, mask or balaclava, temperature rated insulated winter boots, goggles.


The moral of this post is, yes buying artic clothing and gear is highly advisable but no you probably won’t have to use it ALL the time. As you adapt up here you will develop your own style of layering. To each his (or her) own.

It’s hilarious waking down the street on those brutally cold and windy days and not recognizing your closest friends. Everyone is super bundled and looks the same. We’re all united in the freezing cold. I’m sure it’s a neat analogy on life up here if I chose to dig deeper into it.

Maybe another post…

Advertisements

Water and Wind

It’s been an exciting couple of days for Iqaluit.

And by exciting, I mean, no…not really.

First there was the major water main break on Thursday evening near Inuksuk High School.  It caused such a disruption that the city shut down on Friday in an effort to conserve the little water that was left in the reservoirs.  We made national news.  Apparently someone even heard about it in New York City.  Wow!

Water was back to utilidor users by Friday evening, but there’s been a boil advisory since then (which has been lifted as of 1:00 PM EST today).  And those who have their water trucked to their homes are lucky if they still have any – though I’m reading of many people who have run out.  Word was that the water was being tested and the trucks would be out to deliver it to homes that needed it today.

Then…this happened…

Yup…sustained winds of 60 km/hr with gusts up to 80.  The building’s shaking and the ravens are in a tizzy.  On the bright side, at least the temperature’s gone up to -23° C!

So…perhaps it has been an exciting few days in Iqaluit…but nobody said that was a good thing.

What I Miss About the South (& A Few Things I Don’t)

Unless you’ve been under a rock, or maybe just don’t read this blog regularly, you’ll know that Ian and I have won a round trip ticket for two on First Air from Iqaluit to Ottawa.  So we’re coming down for a vacation in August to visit all our friends and family in Ontario.  It’s made me start to think a lot about the things I want to do when I get there.

It’s also made me really start to consider what exactly I’ve missed since we’ve moved up here.  Obviously I miss my family and friends, so none of you are on the list.  😉  But you’re always thought of, so don’t feel left out.  But I thought I’d give it a go, and see how matched up to other bloggers from the North I am in regards to what they miss about where they came from.

What I Miss

1)     Cheap anything – The cost of living in Iqaluit takes some getting used to.  Despite the fact that I already know a couple of small bags of groceries is going to cost me around $50, and I likely need to save half a week’s pay cheque if I need to buy toilet paper and laundry detergent, I will still never get over the fact that I remember how much things used to cost when I lived in the south.

2)     Trees – Another obvious one perhaps?  But, I don’t miss them as much as I thought I would.  Iqaluit has its own brand of beauty, even in the winter when everything is covered in ice and snow.  Still, it will be nice to see a thick stand of trees when we visit Ontario.

3)     Southern Internet – I don’t even have a problem with the speeds…honest!  Yes, it can be annoying to have to wait for uploads and downloads, but what’s more frustrating are the horrible caps in place and the outrageous pricing.  We pay more money a month for 10 GBs of data than I’d like to admit, and there aren’t many options available.

4)     Choice – Don’t get me wrong!  There’s a lot of choice up here, you just need to know where to look.  But it’s limited.  Let’s just say that when we visit Walmart…or Zehrs…or anywhere down south, we’re probably going to have a brain malfunction with all the stuff we have to choose from.  Restaurants too!  I mean, really, all I want more than anything in the world right now is Mr. Sub!

5)     Public Transit – I never thought I’d miss the bus…especially after my experiences in Kitchener.  But I do.  Sometimes it’d be nice to have the option to get across town in bad weather without having to pay $6 per cab ride.  But at least there are cabs.

6)     Recycling – We came to Iqaluit just as the recycling test project was coming to an end, so now we have to either throw all of our recyclable goods out, or stockpile some of them and carry them down with us by plane to dispose of when we get south.

7)     Darkness in the summer – Oh my lord, if I don’t get some normal sleep soon, I’m going to go completely bonkers.

What I Don’t Miss

1)     Traffic – I can’t tell you all how much I hated having to drive the 401 every day.  That highway is a nightmare.  And Kitchener Waterloo traffic at rush hour is no picnic either.  Up here, rush hour is literally about ten minutes, and it’s due to the four-way stop at Four Corners.  I can handle everything about traffic in this city.  Well, maybe not construction delays.  😉  But even they’re not so bad.

2)     Isolation – I’m living in one of the more isolated cities in Canada, but I’ve never felt more connected.  This city is incredible for bringing a person out of their shell.  Between work, volunteering and just getting out there, we’ve made a huge number of friends and acquaintances.  It’s just something that doesn’t happen so naturally down south.  You really need to work at becoming someone’s friend in the south…whereas here, it just happens.  It’s a great feeling running into everyone you know at Ventures or Northmart.

3)     The heat – I HATE southern Ontario heat.  The humidity is probably going to destroy me during our vacation.  Don’t be surprised if you see me sweating into a pile of my own goo over the course of the visit.  I’ve been getting very accustomed to the temperatures up here, and I start getting very warm even around 15 °C.

4)     The pace – Things are very laid back up here.  Life isn’t all about “go go go”.  It’s important to not only stop to smell the roses (or perhaps saxifrage), but to really smell them.  Things get done…usually on what’s known as “northern time”, but they do get done.  There’s a lot of really good productive people up here, but the pace of life is relaxed.  It’s wonderful to live in a place where people don’t expect miracles, but just reasonable responses.

5)     Blackberries.  Yeah, that’s all.

Hope to see you all in August!  🙂

Alianait Festival 2011 – Day Two & Canada Day in Iqaluit

We were back volunteering at Alianait for Canada Day.  Bought some tickets for the Duck Race that’s going to be taking place in support of the firefighters – yes…a duck race!  First prize?  Tickets on First Air from Ottawa to Iqaluit – round trip.  Fingers are crossed for another winning ticket!

We were tired out by the end of the day, so we didn’t get a chance to get out to the concert that night, but we had lots of fun during the Canada Day festivities.  Here’s some pictures from our beautiful day!

Arriving at the festivities...you might not be able to see it, but there's a LOT of people there...

Line up for the fry truck...and we waited the WHOLE time...

Bouncy castles...and lots of people mingling

So many kids...everywhere!

The Alianait Big Top!

Mission: Destroy Canada Day cake. Mission: Accomplished.

Fry truck Canada Day/Alianait weekend prices. They were cheaper last weekend...honest!

Contrast...

Kids painting the murals...

Square dance in the Big Top!

Dusting off the cobwebs

I’d like to apologize on behalf of the both of us treating this blog like an old VCR. That was certainly not our intention and it’s absolutely unfair to the family and friends who have been waiting to hear about things going on up here. We have uploaded lots of pictures in our absence so check them out if you haven’t already. There’s an unwritten blogging etiquette that is shown when you share a blog – at least with us. While Suzanne and I are super competitive with one another it also serves as a motivational tool for the other to write. Unfortunately we both hit the brick wall at the same time and have been stuck in writing limbo for this blog for some time now. I had agreed to let her write the wrap up for Toonik Tyme and Easter but it’s been on her drawing board for weeks now. I’m not trying to use her as an excuse or anything (yes I am…hehe) but I didn’t want to jump in front of her and start posting about stuff she’s drafting and force her to do even more rewriting.

Am I not the poster child of courtesy? ;p

So that’s what brings me to this dancing-around-the-past-month-faux-update-apology-post. Unlike our personal blogs where we have the propensity to rant, ramble and babble on a whim neither of us can bring ourselves to just do “random thought” posts here. It’s not our style. Who wants to hear Seinfeld-ish stories about daily activities? I know some could tolerate it but I know how I feel when I come across other people’s mindless daily dribble and I get turned off immediately. Who knows. I’m probably screaming hypocrisy right now by rambling on… but at least it has a point.

Sort of.

2 weeks from now will mark our 6th month up here (give or take a day or two). Time really has flashed by. I really hadn’t even contemplated it until Suzanne brought it up the other day. Doesn’t seem like that long but then again I’ve been away from family and friends most of my adult life so it’s an easy transition for me. I imagine it must be a totally different story for Suzanne. I know this is by far the longest she’s been without physical contact with her immediate family – ever. I can’t speak for her but she’s appears to be handling it well for the most part. Thank goodness for Skype.

We’ve found ourselves far more – what’s the term … oh yeah  socially active – up here than we ever were down south. Not that we were recluses or anything (well me maybe but not Suzanne) but we simply didn’t interact with people that much back in Kitchener. Sure we made the rounds, hung out when invited but I’ll be damned if I could remember the last time we hosted a get-together. If I recall correctly we invited our former landlord’s real estate agent over for a barbecue mean like 2 or 3 years ago. How pathetic is that? Not that he was bad company or anything. In fact he’s a great guy but it just went to show you that being socially active down there wasn’t high on the priority ladder.

Different story up here.

I’m totally out of my element. We’ve hosted more parties and pop-overs the past 6 months than we have collectively as a couple – and that’s spanning 13 some odd years. It’s weird for me with the whole “not liking people in general” chip I have on my shoulder but it’s very, very, very difficult to be anti-social in Iqaluit. It’s not as tiny as some of the other cities and communities up here but small enough where you can’t not know people. It happens. People will literally just start talking to you out of the blue as if you’ve been buddies for ages. It’s kinda cool actually. Yeah, I know, that’s a bombshell coming from I-hate-everyone Ian but it’s true. It takes the edge off knowing people are very forthcoming around here. I’m not trying to paint a picture of a happy elfy paradise where everyone gets along and we all dance around the boulder made of sweet sweet candy. No. There are douches and ***holes up here just like anywhere else. The difference is they tend to keep to themselves and don’t infect the rest of the community with their bad vibes.

We’re into some community organizations now. As mentioned before we’re both doing work with the Iqaluit Humane Society. I’ve even got a few shifts under my belt at the shelter now in addition to being in the final stages of building the website. I even managed to drag Suzanne down there and introduce her to some of the pups currently there. Needless to say she fell in love with a few (if not all) of them. We’re also hooked up with the Iqaluit Greenhouse Society. She’s even a member of the board with them. Yup. That’s how things work up here. Doesn’t matter if you’re here for 6 months or 6 years. If you are proactive there’s always a need and always opportunity. I won’t steal too much of her thunder there though. I’m sure she’ll want to delve a bit more into her new position in a later post.

They’re starting to play the “get off the stage music” for me so I guess I should wrap this up. It’s May 11th and we’ve had only 2 days where the temperature has been above 1c (but not higher than 3c). That’s not a bad thing. It beats the bone chilling cold that we endured over the latter half of the winter. Like I’ve said so many times before, the temperature is vastly different up here. I don’t know if it’s because we’re becoming acclimatized or what but -1 here feels like 10c down south. I went to the post office the other day with my spring jacket wide open, no gloves and a ball cap and felt overly warm. It was weird because snow flakes were dancing down at the time as well just adding to the puzzlement.  Regardless as beautiful as Iqaluit is in the winter and what I’ve heard it’s like in the summer what the brochures (are there brochures?) don’t tell you is what a sloppy mud bowl it is in the spring.

Should have listened to Missy and got rain boots…

Bye for now!

Frostbite & Flippin’ Snowmobiles

Okay so this title is a little misleading. Neither of us have long-term frostbite nor did we flip a snowmobile… entirely. It is an interesting story nonetheless. I was kind of waiting for Suzanne to tell the story since she did all the driving… or is it piloting(?)… who knows. Anyways, she’s being somewhat blog anti-social at the moment so I am here to tell the very short yet utterly enjoyable tale of our second snow mobile excursion.

For those unfamiliar with our first outing on a snow mobile you can delve back into our short history and check it out for yourself. Back then I was relatively new to the whole Arctic cold thing. The deceptively warm weather up here had us dressing very light for the first couple of months. I really didn’t anticipate how cold it could get on a snow mobile during a relatively balmy arctic afternoon. I had my Light Recon outfit with a scarf and thought that would do the trick (…I’ll explain what exactly my Light Recon Outfit is along with other outfits in a future Dressing in Iqaluit post). Let’s just say an hour into our ride in -40c wind chill I got shown how wrong that outfit was. Chilled to the bone, a faucet for a nose and nursing some minor facial frostbite I quickly learned that if I intended to get on a snow mobile again, I’d need to rethink my strategy and take the weather more seriously.

I mean heck, we got that expensive gear for reason right?

My opportunity at redemption came two weeks ago when Suzanne’s manager once again invited us out for a snowmobile outing. Several people were supposed it be in attendance this time and we were to travel across the sea ice to Katannilik Territorial Park.

…travel across sea ice…

This troubled me at first. After all I am the man who fears open water so why not drive heavy machinery over frozen water, right? Despite this blinding fear I was jazzed at the prospect of doing something I could never have predicted I’d ever do. Let’s just say Suzanne’s enthusiasm put mine to shame. While we were extremely excited about doing it, some very serious concerns put doubt in our minds. Besides the whole n00bish fear of falling through the ice we had some really grounded concerns about things like out lack of proper equipment (i.e. wind resistant pants) and Suzanne’s insulin pump. The trip was going to be an all day adventure slated for a 9am departure with us returning around sundown (which would be around 5pm). When we first went out on a snow mobile months ago the weather was unseasonably warm but since then it’s been on average -27c daily with some nasty wind chills on some days. Driving into those wind chills at 30 – 40km makes for a very serious situation if you’re not properly dressed. Layering is all well and fine but if you don’t have something to cut that wind it’s pointless.

Then there was the insulin pump. We’ve seen the effect of the bitter cold on electronics. Batteries get killed in minutes in the extreme cold not to mention she has an exposed tubing for the pump. Even though she intended to bring her insulin pen along, even that wasn’t a guarantee. At these temperatures it would  freeze as well. The night before we were scheduled to go we pretty much talked ourselves into not going. Better to be safe than sorry was our reasoning. We figured there would be plenty of opportunities to do such things in the future.

Image source: Google Maps

The next day we find out that everyone else (except for her manager) dropped out and it was only him still heading out. Cue crisis of conscience. We felt rotten that everyone bailed and that he’d be going out all alone. It’s not that he can’t handle himself. He’s been out here doing this for years. We felt bad that everyone ditched the trip so at zero hour we decided to take our chances and go with him. We layered up, donned the bears (aka the Resolutes) and psyched ourselves up for the journey. Armed with a pair of snow mobiles, supplies, a rifle and a qamutik we set out towards Katannilik.

I have to say driving across sea ice is an experience that’s extremely hard to describe with just words. The day was cold but it was clear and sunny. You could see for miles. It’s kinda mind boggling thinking about it – driving across the inlet with about 25ft of ice between you and the water below. I have yet to drive an actual snow mobile. I’ve always been the passenger. Suzanne figures the guy nicknamed “Mr. Bump” shouldn’t be at the helm until our medical coverage is straight. It’s all good though. Sitting back and enjoying the scenery is a treat I wouldn’t pass up for anything. It’s amazingly quiet out there when the engines aren’t roaring. I’m talking pin-drop quiet.

Yeah, that's frozen eyelashes, moustache and nose stuff. It's THAT cold.

By the time we reached Cabin One the cold was starting to get to me. Suzanne and Mark seemed fine but my hands and toes were feeling quite numb. I didn’t understand why. I was dressed as well as I could. I had 2 pairs of wool sockets on in addition to my -60c rated Sorels but as we sat there in the cold little hut, I could feel my toes taking a nap. We sipped some hot tea Mark brought along and munched on some granola bars while he explained to us why I was feeling the way I was.  We’d been riding for quite a while; something like an hour or so. When you’re not moving as much your heart rate drops and therefore your circulation slows. He told me I needed to get up and run around a bit to get the blood flowing and I’d be fine.

Naturally I doubted this because I’m ignorant to logic sometimes but I followed suit and went outside and ran around for a bit. Sure enough once my heart rate got up my fingers and toes warmed up immediately. It was magic. Suzanne discovered that her pump had frozen during the trip despite being inside her parka. I should clarify and say that her tubing froze, much like my iPod buds do whenever I go out. Basically the insulin froze in the tubing. So rather than risk any further damage to the pump, she shut it down. Unfortunately he pen insulin was frozen as well. While this didn’t pose any immediate danger, we couldn’t be out gallivanting for hours on end. Besides, I had tweaked my knee when I got off the snow mobile earlier so I wasn’t against packing it in a little earlier anyway. Nevertheless we stowed our gear back into the qamutik pressed forward towards Cabin Two.

That’s when disaster struck.

Mark acknowledging our christening flip...

Okay so it wasn’t disaster but it was a fail nonetheless. While trying to ascend the mountain Suzanne couldn’t quite hit the angle she wanted and we veered a bit off course. The rig we were on was very top-heavy so naturally once we got parallel to the mountain we started to tip. No amount of leaning we did could have saved us. It felt like we crashed in slow motion but once the back of my head smashed into the icy snow I realized it was a legit fall. Thankfully the snow mobile didn’t roll. It kind of keeled over like a lame horse. Both Suzanne and I pushed off from it when we felt it tipping so we fell a few feet away from it. We were on the side of a mountain though so momentum times gravity made the fall feel worse than it was. According to Suzanne she was yelling at me for a few seconds trying to find out if I was okay. I honestly don’t even recall it. My bell was rung and I had that nasty salty taste of blood in my mouth. After a few minutes of waging war with the evil forces of gravity we managed to get our bearings. No serious damage done.

Mark swung around and made sure we were okay. After flipping the beast right side up once again we decided that was the monkey that broke the camel’s back (or however that saying goes) and started to head back home. Suzanne’s confidence was a bit rocked but Mark and I kept reassuring her it’s what happens. Everyone flips a snowmobile at some point. That didn’t stop daredevil Suzanne from catching some air off of about a 10 foot hill with me clinging for dear life behind her. As we started to reach the choppy shoreline Mark got his snow mobile wedged in a gully so we had to spend some time trying to jimmy it free. Suzanne was still a little leery about tackling some of the hilly crests that we had to cross in order to get to the flatter open water so she let Mark go at it.

He too managed to flip the snow mobile as well which brought some semblance of comfort to Suzanne knowing that even a pro like him can fall victim to it. That provided a prime opportunity to take some pictures of course. Bear in mind Suzanne’s camera has a cracked LCD screen so there’s no way of gauging what you’re shooting or how it’ll turn out. I have to say these pictures turned out quite well if I do say so myself…

Suzanne walking on water...

Throwing up gang signs at the ice (?)

My wicked cool blind shot at the path we just took and the mountain...

Looking out towards the other coastline past the waves...

We had a blisteringly cold ride back to Iqaluit and got home roughly around 4:30pm. We had spent a whopping 6hrs out in the boonies. Not bad for people who weren’t completely prepared. We bore the war wounds of a nice day of activity. Our fingers were somewhat frostbitten and we were achy like a first day at the gym but after a couple of days of taking it easy we were back to full speed… for the most part. In the end it was an experience that’ll last a lifetime. I’m sure locals and long time residents may not see it that way but for two n00bs from the south it was awesome. Can’t wait till the next road trip.

Note to self… next time get the heat packs going before you leave not while you’re out there. ;p

Stuck in a Washing Machine

Today was a first – Ian and I experienced our first Iqaluit blizzard.  When I woke up this morning, I looked out the window to see this…

An hour or so later, we couldn’t see the large apartment building across from us. A short while after that, even the small blue building beside us was hard to see save for a light over its door. It feels like being in a washing machine full of flour. I went down the hall to the garbage chute and it sounded like something a couple floors down was rattling up a storm – likely in the garbage room on the main floor. Whenever we’re in the bathroom, the sounds from the vent are of an oncoming freight train…okay, it’s not really that bad.  But it is quite noisy from in there.  And if we sit still, you can feel the building moving on its stilts in the strong winds.

It’s a little different from the blizzards I’ve experienced in the south.  I think that’s primarily because of the sustained winds.  In southern Ontario, blizzards also don’t tend to last for days at a time – though it’s not unheard of (a la 1977).  Regardless, I’ve been told that blizzards can last for many days up here and to make sure that we have lots of things to occupy our time – books, movies, games, and so on.  We were lucky that the power did not go out, and that we still had internet and satellite – especially since it was championship football weekend!  We managed to watch both games and I baked some Cheesy Onion bagels today…so keep an eye on my other blog for how those turned out.  Now we’ve got two weeks to round up some people to come by for a Superbowl party!  Bagels and football!  What more can you ask for?

So we survived our first blizzard…so far.  It hasn’t been too crazy, though it’s crazy enough for the store across the plaza to be closed, and I only saw a cab or two on the roads.  It’s expected to last through the night and may pick up again throughout the day tomorrow.  We have yet to see if offices are closed in the morning again.

We’ve got a few blog posts cooking up…our new favourite grocer (which you’d be able to see in the picture above if the wind and snow wasn’t hiding it)…our first trip to the Astro Theatre…and Ian is working on something about how his layering techniques have carried him far into this winter.  Until then…here’s a video clip of the start of the blizzard from around noon today…enjoy!