is set to claim the title of world’s highest tide from
the Bay of Fundy — even though the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans insists the race is too close to
declare an official winner.
The Nunavik Tourism
Association said it would issue a press release
confirming a 16.1-metre tidal measurement at Leaf Bay,
which lies just outside of Tasiujaq at the mouth of the
The measurement, taken on
March 31, 2002, is one centimeter taller than the
highest ever recorded at the Bay of Fundy. According to
the Guinness Book of World-Records, the world record
tide measured in at 16 metres at the Bay of Fundy in
But the Bay of Fundy coast,
shared by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, has long
claimed the title of the world’s highest tide and it
doesn’t look like the DFO will hand the title to Nunavik
any time soon.
Nunavik has been trying to
wrestle the title away from Nova Scotia for several
years. In 1998, Nunavik Tourism contracted an
oceanographer to perform tidal measurements in the area.
The scientist set up three submersible tidal gauges near
Tasiujaq, Leaf River and Radisson Island.
Though the tourism
association said it had a record-breaking reading after
the tests, nothing ever came of the announcement.
Though the DFO may not strip
the Bay of Fundy of its coveted title, the village of
Tasiujaq has no qualms about taking the crown.
“The government that
released the information on the Bay of Fundy spent too
much money — probably trying to protect their people,”
said Willie Cain, the mayor of Tasiujaq. “But our
Tasiujaq has a .1 higher measurement than the Bay of
Fundy. We’ll be able to say, ‘We hold the title for the
Cain said having the title
will help develop Tasiujaq’s economy, and the village is
already considering how to market the natural wonder.
“The Qallunaat have an appetite for visiting places of
significance so we can expect more tourism,” Cain said.
“It’s another attraction for
the region. It’s like having the world’s largest caribou
heard, or having Crater Lake, which is the world’s
clearest lake,” said a Nunavik Tourism official.
the old Port Harrison on the east coast of Hudson Bay,
is poised to become a geological hotspot after a
scientific team discovered the world’s oldest volcanic
rocks in a nearby cove.
Researchers from the
University of Montreal, the Quebec Ministry of Natural
Resources and Simon Fraser University in British
Columbia discovered the rocks - estimated to be more
than 3.82 billion years old - 20 miles outside Inukjuak
during routine mapping last year.
But it was not until this
spring, after geologists had conducted repeated tests of
the rock’s radioactive isotopes to discover their
precise age, that geologists recognized their find’s
significance. Most volcanic rocks in the Inukjuak area
are between 2.7 billion and three billion years old.The
world’s oldest known volcanic rocks, discovered in the
1980s in Isua, Greenland, date back 3.82 billion years.
The Inukjuak volcanic rocks
could give a little more shape to this immense puzzle.
They could help geologists learn more about the
formation of the Earth’s crust and mantle layers
billions of years ago and they could also help determine
when life on Earth started.
Before scientists discovered
the Isua rocks, geologists had no proof life existed on
earth 3.82 billion years ago. But the Isua rocks suggest
that bacteria may have been present when the rocks first
formed. If the Inukjuak rocks display similar evidence,
Dr. Stevenson said, the Isua finding would be supported.
estimate the Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Older
non-volcanic rocks have been discovered previously by
geologists in the Northwest Territories. They were
estimated to be 3.96 billion years old.
eco-tourism industry entered a new phase of
international recognition last month when one of its
leading operators opened a branch in France.The
Puvirnituq-based Nunavik Arctic Survival Training Centre
(NASTC) quietly started business at the beginning of
November in Limoges, France, four hours outside Paris.
The 100 per cent Inuit-owned
outfitting company started up in 2000 with only one
office in Nunavik. But foreign demand for the company’s
Arctic adventures has prompted the business to expand
“We were supposed to just be
a little survival centre. But we saw a lot of
opportunity for what we do. There’s a lot of Nunavik
tourism operators for hunters and fishers. But with
eco-tourism there’s not a lot going on here. We’ll cover
the French market for the whole Hudson Coast,” Mario
Aubin, one of the centre’s coordinators, said in an
The outfitter has made a
name for itself offering dog team and snowmobile
packages, helping smaller outfitters market their
services and demonstrating Arctic survival skills to
tourists, guides and Air Inuit pilots.
Its survival packages teach
everything from basic first aid to identifying different
snow textures, building igloos, recognizing the
psychological effects of disorientation and foraging and
hunting for food in the hostile Arctic environment.
They already have confirmed
eight packages for February and four for January. He is
also working on sending a group of 30 from the city of
La Rochelle sometime in the spring.
The French branch will not
limit itself to offering survival adventures, Tricard
said. Instead, it will recruit Nunavimmiut performers to
tour France and promote cultural exchanges between
artists in Nunavik and France.
The Nunavik Arctic Survival
Centre was founded by Air Inuit, the Puvirnituq Co-op
and the village of Puvirnituq. Each made an initial
investment of $5,000 for the outfitter’s development.
said the centre remains a non-profit organization for
now. The tourism packages it offers are good value but
costly. Six-day basic training courses are $3,900 for
the flight, food, board and guide. Any profit is used to
pay the centre’s 15 part-time Inuit guides, operating
and marketing costs. The centre is also planning to open
a branch in Korea by the end of 2003.
new study published in October by researchers from the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration predicts
the unthinkable: that year-round Arctic sea-ice may
vanish by the end of this century.
Their work, based on
satellite data gathered between 1978 and 2000, shows
that if current melt rates continue, there may be
year-round sea-ice in the Arctic by 2099.
They also found that
temperatures in the Arctic are rising at a rate of 1.2 C
per decade, and that sea-ice is now melting at a rate
that’s about nine per cent faster than shown by prior
"If the perennial ice cover,
which consists mainly of thick multi-year ice floes,
disappears, the entire Arctic Ocean climate and ecology
would become very different," Josefino Comiso, the
author of the study, told the Environmental News
The NASA study says that the
rate of sea-ice decline in the Arctic is expected to
accelerate because of interactions between the ice,
oceans and the atmosphere. As temperatures in the Arctic
rise, the summer ice cover retreats, more solar heat
gets absorbed by the ocean, and more ice gets melted by
a warmer upper water layer.
In turn, this will produce
more climate change in the Arctic, and around the globe.
Summer sea ice reflects sunlight out to space, cooling
the planet’s surface and warming the atmosphere. As the
ice cover shrinks, less sunlight will be reflected,
allowing the sun to warm more of the ocean.
NASA has also found more
recent data that shows that this year’s perennial ice
cover is the least extensive ever observed in the Arctic
during the era of satellite observation.
The NASA study was published
in the late October issue of the Journal Geophysical
Research Letters. It was funded by NASA’s Cryospheric
Sciences Program and the NASA Earth Science
Enterprise/Earth Observing System Project.
change is eroding the role Inuit elders play in their
communities because it makes their traditional knowledge
unreliable, elders told researchers at a recent workshop
on global warming in Kangiqsujuaq. The overall message
from Kangiqsujuaq, was the
same in Puvirnituq and
Ivujivik as it was in Nain, Labrador and Tuktoyaktuk:
the Arctic climate is changing and many unforeseen
aspects of Inuit life are changing with it.
and Inuit elders across the country reported many other
environmental changes at the ITK workshops.
Biting flies and robins have
migrated North and are now regularly seen in Kuujjuaq.
Geese once flew close enough to Ivujivik for hunters to
catch but now the birds’ fall migration is too far east
The sun is stronger and
there are heat waves and the water around the community,
once clear and good to drink, has become muddy and
Then there is the ice — the
gateway to seal hunting. Every year, he said, it seems
to form later in the winter and break earlier in the