Skip to comments.In Igloolik, You Smell the Walruses Before You See Them
Posted on 03/25/2012 11:14:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway
I am jogging across the thick sea ice as fast as my chunky rubber boots and oversize parka will allow, feeling like the Michelin Man version of the sleek, naked sprinter in the Inuit film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. Sloshing through pools of turquoise meltwater, I aim toward a massive, shiny black lump bobbing 300 metres away a bowhead whale in a hole it smashed open from beneath through 60 centimetres of ice with the distinctive bump on the top of its skull.
A closer look at the waters off Igloolik Blowing geysers of mist into the air, it is taking a breather from sift-feeding on zooplankton. Bounding closer, I realize there are actually two no, three! whales sharing the same hole. Each takes a breath and slips away; when I arrive, gasping for air myself, I am staring into a big black hole, swirling only with slush, in the Arctic Ocean.
Early that morning, we had left the Nunavut hamlet of Igloolik on a 24-foot powerboat with an interpretive guide, Derek Kyostia, from Frontiers North Adventures, the polar bear tundra buggy folks. In 2011, the Churchill, Man.-based company ran its first-ever bowhead whale and walrus-spotting expedition, a kind of Big-Two Arctic Safari. Its a rare event as this pair of hefty critters overlaps in the same waters only for about two weeks every July. Frontiers North runs just one weeklong trip.
Bowheads up to 20 metres long and weighing in at 75 to 100 tonnes are second in size only to blue whales. In spring, as Arctic ice breaks up, they migrate north from southern waters into Foxe Basin between Baffin Island and the Canadian mainland. But their route is blocked by the icy plug of Fury and Hecla Strait: Once that
(Excerpt) Read more at theglobeandmail.com ...
What an experience to be there. Sounds so interesting and must be somehwat dangerous with the polar bears wandering around.
what about the eggman?
Holy wow, Sea Parrot ~ what a pic!!!
I was working on the Alaska University research vessel and the scientist wanted some fresh walrus scat before the tide washed it out. He didn’t have the cajones to get it, so I got the samples.
What a good bud you must be. I mean, who can you ask to gather fresh walrus scat?
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