Saturday, July 30, 2011

The fish was this big...

Yes the fish I caught was a good size one, an 8lb lake trout.  I wouldn't have caught this fish without Rudi and Todd.  She gave me a good fight and I thought at times that I might loose it. I kinda started at the end of this fishing story so let's begin at the beginning.  Last Sunday, Marg, Wayne and I decided to head out to Greiner Lake while Craig and Jim tested Jim's boat and motor on the bay.  "Greiner Lake (15 m above sea level) is in an area that has risen from the sea within the last 1,300 years. It has a maximum depth of 11m and a maximum summer temperature of approximately 8 °C."  Great temps for Arctic char and lake trout.  So off we went on our quads to Greiner Lake, thank you Marg and Wayne for taking it easy as I am still not 100% on my quad.  On flat surfaces I am fine but when out on the tundra I like to still take it slow and steady.  Anyway back to the fishing story.  So here we are fishing from the shore and I use the word fishing very loosely.  From a distance we see a boat approaching us, it is our friends Rudi and Todd, who work for First Air.  Had a short talk with them before they headed back onto the lake but within a few minutes they returned and told us to get into the boat.  Don't have to ask us twice.  So the 5 of us had a great day of fishing, laughing and telling stories.  We all caught fish and yes some got away and I think we only lost one hook.  I was known to the First Air boys as the Fish Goddess because of my job but now I have another name, Momma D.  Long story...Thanks again guys that was one of my favorite days so far living here in Cambridge Bay.

Craig and I have been taking the dogs out for tundra runs alot this past week as the weather has been good, beside the monster mosquitoes and a day or two of rain.  We found a good spot for them as the land is pretty flat and there are many small ponds for my water dogs.  Blitz is loving chasing the birds and digging at the holes that the lemmings make.  Molly does her own thing which is usually hunting when we are not throwing the ball for her.  Hannah joins in on the fun when she thinks the Shorthairs have found something interesting.  I am lucky so far as they haven't found any nests or babies, remember there are no trees up here so the birds nest on rocks or the ground.  The tundra does a number on their feet, some of the rocks look like someone sliced it which makes the edges very sharp.  My friend Petra gave me a name of some great booties which we may have to purchase.

The Arctic skies are beautiful this time of year as the sun is starting to set.  Well not really sets as it doesn't get dark yet,  rises about 2:30am and sets about 11:30pm.  You heard of the golden hour for photography well it is pretty much the golden hour all of the time right now.  Love the lighting at this time of year for pictures.  There hasn't been ice on the bay for a while but this week the winds picked up and some amazing chunks of blue ice floated into the bay.  Another excited thing that is happening on the bay this week is that the seals showed up.  I could sit on a chair and watch these sea characters fishing all day long.  Very hard to photograph but I included one picture in tonights post.

Wednesday evening of this past week Craig and I headed towards Mt. Pelly, the road had been washed out from the spring run off and they have finally made it driveable.  Far from being a good road but at least you can now get to the other side of the river.  During our ride we found a pair of sand cranes and I did get some pics of them but will include them in another posting.  Marg and Wayne invited us for dessert that evening so after 9pm we headed from the land to have dessert.  Wayne brought up some fresh picked Saskatoon berries from their farm in yes you guess it Saskatchewan.  Being from the prairies there are some things that remind me of 'home' and Saskatoon berries are one and I prefer them over blueberries any day.  Thanks for inviting us over for a little piece of heaven. 

From their deck we seen a boat in the distance so we took the long way home.  The sail boat was actually coming into Cambridge Bay so we waited patiently for her arrival.  Of course I had my camera with me and the skies were amazing that night which made for a perfect backdrop for this grand boat.  Found out it was Mike Horn's Pangaea Expedition, what a great boat for my first sighting.  He was only here for one day and I missed him sailing off, could only see him from a distance with full sails blowing in the wind.  Amazing!  For more information about this expedition check out his site at  Trust me it is worth the look.

Tomorrow we head to Starvation Cove, about a 2 hours quad ride past Long Point.  We will meet up with Marg & Wayne and who knows who else will join in on a day of fishing and fun.  Wish that Sheila was back from her medical leave but we will SEE her soon and I am sure that she will SEE us more clearly when she returns.  I just may have another post this weekend but for now enjoy the pics from this past week.

Talk soon!

Friday, July 29, 2011

 Captain Rudi manning the boat
Todd our tour guide
 The view from the shore of Greiner Lake
 The view from the boat, diamonds in the water
Wayne fishing with Mt. Pelly in the background
Marg enjoying the ride

An 8lb lake trout that I caught
Depending which way the wind blows we sometimes get these amazing blue coloured chunks of ice on the bay.
The old house and boat is what I see every morning on my way to work, just at the end of our street.
Unbelievable Arctic skies
A wide view of Water Lake, the place where we get our drinking water from, at 12:30am
View of the bay a little after midnight
Molly on a point, the little black dots in the picture are mosquitoes
Blitz, inukshuk, Molly & Hannah
My first boat sighting, Mike Horn's Pangaea
The bow of Mike Horn's Pangaea
One of the many seals in the bay this week

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fishing 101

Whew!  That's all I have to say regarding the Surrey River harvest for 2011.  It started on July 10 and ended the morning of July 19th and I was so happy when this weekend came as this is my time off.  Department of Fisheries and Oceans (ironically from Winnipeg) sets our quotas and for Surrey River is was set at 20,000 lbs of Arctic char.  Needless to say we met the quota.  We also take the left pectoral fin from the first 100 fish for the biologist from DFO.  Les, from Fisheries and Oceans and his team will be up mid-August until mid-September as they do research on Arctic char.  The Arctic char from this harvest were all big and healthy looking fish which is a good sign.  A little lesson on char, the females are always brighter than the males (sorry boys) and they are better for eating. 

We shipped about 1,500 lbs of fresh char to Clean Fish in the United States, from the time we receive the fish it arrives about 3 days later in Boston.  During our fall harvest we will be shipping to L.A. and San Francisco.  We also shipped some fresh char to Ocean Odyssey in Edmonton, many locations in Yellowknife and the remaining of the char will be processed into hot & cold smoked, jerky, steaks, fillets and whole dressed.   We have completed our spring harvest and it will start again mid-August when we do 3 more river systems.  I am hoping to get up on the plane when it picks up some fish, it would be an experience of a lifetime.

Last weekend Sheila ordered some lobster from Ocean Odyssey and Craig, Marg, Jane and I were invited for the feast.  We felt kinda bad as Jim was out of town working and missed the lobster, so we thought...(that's all I have to say about that.  ha ha) We had some lobster left over so I made some char/lobster chowder and I must say it was good.  First time I made chowder and I think I may have to do it again. 

Even though I had been working alot I still made time to head out onto the land either by truck or Honda, not only to take pictures but to enjoy the beauty of this grand land.  It is hard to explain what the tundra is, you really have to experience it.  There is something new very time you go out.  We invited Marg to join us for a ride on the quads, we headed towards Augustus Hills and then to Long Point.  I had been to Augustus Hills last fall but the scenery looked different this time.  It was my first time to Long Point and all I have to say is unbelievable.  It was low tide so I picked some shells in the sandy beach, yes sea shells.  We seen some icebergs, seals and tons of sea birds.  I could of spent all night there.

The dogs are enjoying the Arctic summer too and in between us working, eating, sleeping and quading we find time to take them out for swims in some of the small ponds that are scattered on the land.  Blitz decided to take a run for some birds, I don't mind him being free and chasing birds I worry about what is behind the hills that he runs over, it could be a big ole muskox and I am not sure what Blitz or the muskox would do. 

I have posted a few pictures of the fish harvest from Surrey River and of Long Point.
Johnny guiding the char filled plane to the dock
Our pilot, Stephane and Jordan taking the char off the plane
Even Craig was helping bring in the char
Donna with one very large Arctic char
My partner in crime, Stephane and Little Annie
 The sisters, Cassandra and Michelle cleaning char
Alva and Donna doing the final cleaning and hanging of the char
 The always smiling Jordan
Irvin showing off a great looking Arctic char
Large Arctic char from Surrey River
This is our blast freezer which keeps the char very fresh
My first ride on my Honda with Mt. Pelly in the background
Molly enjoying the Arctic summer
Marg taking it all in

Our friend Marg and Craig at Long Point

 One of the many icebergs that we seen at Long Point
 The tide was very low that evening
 Large chunks of ice washed up
 Cool sand formations
 More from Long Point
Large boulders and ice
 You could see forever

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Since I arrived back home my weeks have been filled with celebrations of many kinds.  First on the list was July 1st, Canada Day.  The weather didn't co-operate that day as it was cold & raining, actually the weather was crappy that whole week leading up to Canada Day.   Craig did play baseball and his team took first place and each member took home a gift card for the Northern Store.  Great prize! 

The following week the skies opened and it has been beautiful ever since, even today it was cloudy and a bit raining but the temperature was good.  So all last week we were in and out of the house enjoying the sunshine.  I never thought that I would ever see shorts again until I head down south but alot of people have been wearing them including me.  I think I am even getting a tan up here.  Last week Jim, Sheila, Marg, Cat, Craig and myself headed out on to the land with our ATVs and I was the passenger in the Tom Car while Sheila drove.  It was a great evening.  We didn't get home until 10pm but it felt like 8pm as the sun was shining high in the sky.

On July 9th it was Nunavut Day and the weather couldn't of been better.  There were many different games for the kids, a free barbque that included a hot dog, a bag of chips and a juice, prizes, and the list goes on.  Most of the town was shut down today as Nunavut Day fell on Saturday so most businesses were closed today.  We, Kitikmeot Foods Ltd. on the other hand was not closed as we started the annual Arctic char harvest yesterday and the fish do not take holidays.  I will do a separate post on the fish harvest at a later date.

Yesterday Craig and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversay.  I can't believe it has been 18 years, I still remember our first date when Craig took me to the BDI (Bridge Drive-In) for the best ice cream treat in his mom and dad's old station wagon. You know the one with the wood panels, how cool was he?  No wonder I fell for him.  We spent most of our anniversay day on the land with Craig driving and me taking pictures.  We seen three small herds of muskox and many birds and flowers.  The day ended with a great dinner of steak, mussels and wine.

The dogs have been happy as we have been taking them out on these beautiful days for runs...finally.  Blitz being 2 years old and a great little hunter is put on a 30 foot lead for about an hour and then he is free to run.  He usually does well as we throw the ball for him and he brings it back.  Well into this game a little birdie flew right in front of him just above the ground heading towards the icey cold waters.  Shorthair + bird + water can not equal a good thing. Off Blitz goes, over the hill towards the water in hot pursuit of this little bird.  Before Craig reached the hill Blitz was heading back towards us, I guess the bird flew over the water and the water is just too cold to swim in.  We took Molly out with us one evening and we found the perfect spot with no birds or wildlife in sight, so we thought.  She jumped out of the truck and headed straight to a long-tailed jaeger's nest.  You could say that the birds were not happy with her, dive bombing her left and right.  She finally heard our whistles and headed back to the truck with the jaegers following close behind.  She made it to the truck without injury.  Being 9 years old she can still run like the wind.

The mosquitos have been celebrating too.  Coming from Manitoba you are used to the little blood suckers but the ones up are relentless. We made the mistake one day of going out with the dogs without any protection on, you could say we fed them well that day.  The people in town tell me that this is just the beginning of the season, it gets worse!  Taking pictures is a bit of a challenge and then once you get the shot you have to spend the rest of the day editing the mosquitos out of the picture. Can't wait until black fly season.....

I have taken many pictures of the flowers in and around Cambridge Bay but since I have about 20 pictures to share with you today I will keep those for another day.

Talk soon!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Craig playing baseball on Canada Day in the cold, rain and mud.
Our friend Darrell celebrated Canada Day playing baseball in the mud
One proud Canadian!
Celebrating Nunavut Day in style, wearing our flag where everyone can see.
LABRADOR = water & retrieving
What more does Blitz want in life but two hockey balls and water?
One happy Shorthair - finally sunshine and water.  Yeah the water is only up to Molly's ankles but she is lovin' it.
The sign before you enter where some of the rock houses are - historical site.
Looking down at one of the many remnants of Copper Inuit homes/food caches that you can find on the tundra.
After talking to some of the locals they have never seen a spring run off like this before.  Usually this is just a very small stream that you can drive across without using this bridge...alot of water this year.
This is our road to Mt. Pelly, or should I say our only road to Mt. Pelly.  A little washed out from the spring run-off.