Posted in Nunavut

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…



I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

22 thoughts on “Iqaluit: August Ice

  1. Wow. If possible, we’d gladly take some of that pack ice off your hands to clear up the bay. We could use it; the weather was hot and humid yesterday where I live. It cools me off just looking at your pictures. 😉

    1. 5 cats makes for a huge requirement… I keep telling my wife that it is all a matter of interconnectivity… if we save on cat food, we’d save on the litter too… she just doesn’t see the humour in it 😉

  2. I really enjoy your posts about your world further north. Our friends in Florida think that we are crazy to live in New Hampshire with our snowy winters. They should see your lovely area in summer.

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