Nunavut: Pangnirtung Again…

Whaling 1

Does anyone care to take a stab at identifying the purpose of those rusted metal receptacles pictured above?

The picture was taken early this morning up in the remote community of Pangnirtung, which I have already featured in a couple of posts this year. I was up there, as always, for the regular thrice-yearly Court sittings and, while I usually enjoy these trips, this one was a bit dismal…

I had a fairly major trial scheduled on this circuit and was booked to fly up a day earlier than usual so I could interview a potential witness. As it happened though, over a week earlier I came down with a nasty stomach bug that just got worse as the days progressed and, come the Friday of departure, I re-booked for the following day and went to the hospital instead. I was given some medications that slowed my galloping diarrhea, at least, but I was still far too exhausted and sick to fly so I re-booked again and went up late on Monday, missing the first day of court, and arriving in an unhappy frame of mind and body indeed. Fortunately, I was on the mend at that point and, by the week’s end I was feeling myself again and, I am happy to report, my trial went very well indeed.

As for the metal receptacles? They are actually vats that were once used for rendering the oil out of whale blubber. Whale oil is not used much used these days but, at one time, it had a variety of uses, especially for oil lamps.

Whaling 2

This picture shows an old whaling station that sits about a hundred yards from the hotel in Pangnirtung and you can just make out the rendering vats behind the buildings. There were a couple of whaling stations established not far from this site back in the 1850’s but this one was moved from it’s original location into the newly established hamlet of Pangnirtung back in 1925. I don’t know how long it continued to operate but it can’t have been for many years as the demand for whale oil would already have been almost dead at that point. In New Brunswick, where I grew up, many homes used oil lamps into the 1930’s but by the end of that decade, electric lighting was pretty much the norm.

Whaling 3

Here is one of the old whalers. It’s a pretty forlorn sight now, and it is a bit sad to see the workmanship of the long-forgotten boat-wright decaying into nothing, but I would say that things have gone a bit to far for restoration to be realistic at this point. Sadly, in these days of steel and fiberglass construction, you just don’t see beautiful work like this anymore…

Anyway… I made it back home from ‘Pang’ early this afternoon and I am just killing time until my wife returns from work. Here in Canada it is a holiday week-end (Monday is Victoria Day), and so I have three lazy days to do absolutely nothing except perhaps a bit of cooking. Any interesting experiments will be duly recorded and posted, of course…


5 thoughts on “Nunavut: Pangnirtung Again…”

  1. I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend, and perhaps it’s a good opportunity for you to get some rest after being so ill! I hope you are feeing much, much stronger. 🙂 The rusted metal receptacles are interesting, but I really enjoyed the beautiful red roofs in the snow. The colors are just wonderful! Enjoy your weekend!

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