Monday, March 28, 2016

Nanisivik & Towards The Floe Edge

My next land trip occurred the very next day: March 26.  My destinations were the Nanisivik port facility and the frozen ice to the north of Victor Bay.  I wanted to explore a portion of the trail the locals take when driving to the floe edge.  I immediately knew this trip would require more gas, so I packed an extra 5-gallon (20-litre) gas can.  I also carried an extra bottle of oil in my backpack.  I followed the same preparations I made the day before.  I double checked to make sure I had my shotgun, and SPOT & GPS devices.  I was packed for adventure.
I left in the morning, driving down to the ice, and all the way to the airport.  I passed the iceberg and the beach where the cadets pick up garbage every September.  I followed the Road to Nanisivik after passing the town's water pump station.  I drove alongside the road because it was covered with rocks.  I was surprised to see the road had been plowed up until the liquor restriction signs.  It was easier to drive on the road after passing the signs because the road was covered in snow.
The section of the road that slopes down a hill towards the Second Bridge was completely snowed over.  I was forced to drive very carefully and slowly so that my skidoo wouldn't tip over.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I cleared the section.
I stopped at Terry Fox Pass to photograph the direction sign and the flag monument.  (There were no flags flying).  There was quite a lot of snow as you can see from the attached photograph.  But, as always, the skies were clear blue.

Tailings Pond
I turned left and followed the road down to the tailings pond.  The tailings pond looked pretty much the same when I saw it in August 2014.  The only difference was that it was covered in snow.  The GN garage was still in place and the empty area that housed the town of Nanisivik was still . . . empty.  (Sorry if you were expecting something else).              

My skidoo in front of the GN Garage at Nanisivik.
The Nanisivik port facility looked a little different than the last time I saw it.  It appeared that the gravel crushers, construction vehicles, and sealift containers were spread out across the facility.  I was expecting to see large gas silos but unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found.  I got the feeling the project might be behind schedule.  (Don't quote me that.  It was just a feeling).  The barracks were still intact with their windows boarded up.  I stopped my skidoo in front of the frozen dock and turned off the engine.  I was enveloped by silence.  I took my helmet off and put on a pair of sunglasses.  I retrieved some snacks from my backpack and ate for several minutes.  I kept my eyes open for curious polar bears.

I drove out onto the ice, stopped, and quickly took a picture of the port facility.  I continued driving northwest, carving my own skidoo trail in the snow.  I was hoping to drive at a brisk 50mph (80kmh) like I did the day before, but there were too many small ice formations.  I think they're called flower formations?  I felt like I was navigating through an arctic minefield.
Refueling & Cooling.
I finally reached the point across from Victor Bay at 12:15pm.  It was lunch time and I had yet to meet anyone out here.  I stopped and refueled my skidoo with gas & 2-stroke oil.  I photographed the mountain crown in front of me and the entrance to Victor Bay.  I ate some more snacks before continuing my journey north.
Skidoo trail/highway to the floe edge.
Helmet selfie!
It didn't take long to find the main skidoo trail people take to reach the floe edge.  The trail looked more like a highway because there were so many skidoo tracks overlapping each other.  The trail stretched across flat ice; an added bonus.  I accelerated my skidoo to 50mph (80kmh).  The wind was also blowing north which was fine for now.  I would have to deal with the cold, arctic wind when I would head back to Arctic Bay.  I thanked myself for choosing to wear my helmet.
A line of jagged mountains.
A line of tall, jagged mountains appeared to my right.  I stopped my skidoo and snapped a photograph.  This would be the first of many.  The further I drove north, the more majestic these mountains became.  They reminded me of that large castle in the third Lord of the Rings film, the one that was build into a mountain.  I briefly crossed paths with an elder who was driving back from the floe edge.  He gave me some useful tips on which trails to follow and areas to avoid. 

I continued driving close to the mountains, eventually entering a large area of ice that was being shaded by the mountains.  The lack of sunlight made it a challenge to follow the previously made skidoo trails.  I made my own skidoo trail, driving over several snow drifts, and arrived at Ship Point, about 41km to the north of Arctic Bay.  A small inlet snaked its way down to the southeast on my right side.  I took some photos of the point before deciding what to do next.  I could explore the inlet, continue onward to the floe edge, or turn around and head home.  I had the gas to reach the floe edge but I was unsure if I had enough to make it home.  I decided to play it safe and headed home.  Next time I'll bring two 5-gallon gas cans.

Entrance to Victor Bay.
The cold wind was still blowing as I drove back the way I came.  I avoided the shaded area and drove in the sun, hoping that would be keep me warm.  The handle bar muffs I bought off the Skidoo website provided extra protection for my gloved hands.  The wind died down when I reached inlet that leads to Nanisivik.  I saw a few people seal hunting in this area.
I drove through Victor Bay, got off the ice, and followed the road to Arctic Bay.  I stopped at the top of a hill and photographed the Uptown neighbourhood.  The time was 2:45pm when I arrived home.  I spent the next hour or editing the photos I collected.

Arctic Bay - Uptown neighbourhood.


No comments:

Post a Comment