The Northwest Passage Trip Log (21 Aug - 13 Sep 2017) - ​Saturday, Sep 9

Saturday, September 9
January 2018

It was a rainy morning as ‘Le Boreal’ anchored off Quikiqtaruk (meaning island) or Herschel Island located in the northwest quadrant of Mackenzie Bay located off the coast of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Now a Yukon Territorial Park, Quikiqtaruk, has always been a gathering place. Inuvialuit have used the site for thousands of years and remnants of old dwellings are still visible. In the late 1800s, American whalers established a winter station at Pauline cove where ships were protected from storms and ice. Since then, the Anglican Church, the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals and the RCMP were all present on Herschel Island. Our expedition to Herschel Island began on board with an orientation to the Park from its Inuvialuit rangers. Then it was into the zodiacs for a tour of the heritage park. Besides the excellent displays in the Community Hall and the Bone House, the adventurers walked the shoreline and the landscape to gain a feel for its natural and cultural history. A highlight was a chance to view and photograph a large Muskoxen grazing beside one of the buildings. It reinforced the earlier opportunity to witness these Arctic animals on Victoria Island. 

Back on ‘Le Boreal,’ we made our way toward Point Barrow, our first port of call in the USA. Highlights of the afternoon included Brent Houston’s illuminating lecture on Arctic sea ice as wildlife habitat followed by, musician Mike Stevens engaging the audience in a discussion of his work and organization’s initiatives in Indigenous communities. It was an inspiring exchange. The day was completed by a classical musical recital with Roman Basiuk.

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