Iqaluit: August Ice
When I flew out to Ottawa on my culinary expedition almost two weeks ago, Koojoosee Inlet, the little harbor on which Iqaluit sits, was essentially ice free. From the air, I could see a good line of pack ice out in Frobisher Bay, as well as an icebreaker and a couple of waiting supply ships, but all looked good for the much needed delivery of supplies. All it takes up here, though, is a good wind to blow all the ice back in again and that is exactly what happened last week…
This view overlooking the town shows part of Koojoosee Inlet at high tide. In a few hours much of this ice will be grounded.
Throughout the year, fresh food and many other items arrive by airfreight. For three months or so, however, many dry goods, vehicles and construction supplies come on a succession of cargo vessels known collectively as the ‘Sealift’. Almost all households have what is known as a ‘sealift room’ and make a yearly order of those essentials that are frequently used and heavy enough to be very expensive when shipped by plane. In our case, kitty litter is a major expense and makes up over half a ton of our annual sealift purchase.
The ship you see in the distance arrived about a week ago and a few containers were successfully off-loaded by barge. Almost immediately, unfortunately, the ice returned and everything is on hold for the time being. It is too difficult and, I daresay somewhat dangerous, trying to navigate the ‘bergy-bits’ of ice and so now we must just sit and wait until things change. That is merely irritating for the average homeowner, of course, but also pretty darn expensive for the shippers and construction businesses that are trying to get work done during the brief summer months.
These are pretty tiny chunks as things go, but it is interesting to imagine the rum and coke big enough for the ice ‘cube’ in the foreground!
Some of the pieces of ice are quite pretty as you can see. Naturally, that is not much consolation to those losing money, of course, or those anxiously awaiting a new car, but… what can you do other than watch for a good wind?
How long will the situations last?
I asked for a best guess at the local store when I was shopping this morning and just received shrugs in reply. ‘Next week some time, we hope,” was all they could tell me…