The Northwest Passage Trip Log (21 Aug - 13 Sep 2017) - ​Sunday, Sep 3

The Northwest Passage Trip Log (21 Aug - 13 Sep 2017) - ​Sunday, Sep 3
January 2018
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Today ‘Le Boreal’ arrived at the Nunavut community of Gjoa Haven, nestled on the southeast coast of King William Island on the Northwest Passage. Gjoa Haven was named by early 20th Century Polar explorer Roald Amundsen after his ship Gjoa. To local residents, the community is called Uqsuaqtuuq “the place of plenty of fat” in reference to the fattened fish in the nearby waters. We were met at the shore of the community by members of the Inuit community who graciously welcomed us before guides took us on a tour of the community. It was readily apparent that the residents, members of the Netsilik Inuit Community, were very proud of their heritage and their community’s association with Roald Amundsen’s role in the first successful transit of the Northwest Passage between 1903-05. After a walking tour, we were welcomed to the Heritage Centre and then in the late morning, a cultural presentation and meal hosted in the community centre. The display of drum dancing, throat singing and square dancing reinforced the ongoing strength and development of the Canadian Inuit culture. Another highlight was the availability for viewing and purchase of the local carvings which demonstrated the extraordinary skill of the carvers. Upon returning to the ship at noon, it was time to head along Simpson Strait, named for Thomas Simpson who was on an expedition together with Peter Warren Dease by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1836 to complete the survey of the northern shores of the North American continent. Of course, this area was also traversed by Roald Amundesen in 1904 during his successful transit of the Northwest Passage. By early afternoon the enrichment lecture series was in full swing with lectures by fellow passenger Alex Bulazel of Mystic Seaport entitled “Bring Me the Fair Horizon.” Later in the afternoon, marine biologist Sean Todd continued his series on marine life entitled “Pinnipeds of the North.”

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