The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SUMMER 2003

PAGE 6

OUTFIT 113
 

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Canoesworthy

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Canoelit I

Canoelit II

Discovering Eden

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A North Pole Web cam started up in April 2002 – and it’s online again. The North Pole Web Cam project is part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, a joint effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation that involves an international team of researchers. The images from the cameras track the North Pole snow cover and weather conditions. The North Pole web cameras are at: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov.

 

Igloolik and Hall Beach residents see new hope in a group of companies hunting diamonds within a huge area of the Melville Peninsula. Representatives of the group of companies, who call themselves the “Aviat Joint Venture Project,” held public meetings in Igloolik and Hall Beach in June to explain themselves to Amittuq residents.

For many Inuit in the two communities, it was a long overdue consultation. People in the community were beginning to wonder after seeing a helicopter coming in and out wondering, who the people onboard were. But now that they have more information, Igloolik residents generally support the work of the exploration companies.

Almost overnight, the Aviat project has become one of Canada’s largest diamond exploration projects. In 2003, the partners will spend between $4.5 million and $5 million on exploration activities near Igloolik and Hall Beach. They’ll employ 16 people, eight from each village.

Meanwhile, the upstart coalition of junior mining firms that beat out mining giant BHP in a claim-staking battle over diamond exploration rights in the Melville Peninsula is now joining forces with its former rival.

BHP, the mining multinational that developed Ekati, Canada’s first diamond mine, is paying $7.1 million to buy a 20 per cent interest in the Aviat Project, which takes in 2.8 million hectares of land adjacent to Igloolik and Hall Beach.

The Aviat project was born after prospectors from the Hunter group conducted a fruitless search across the Melville Peninsula in 2001, looking for signs of nickel, copper and gold, but finding nothing.

Using the last of their limited budget, they tested some till samples – or piles of dirt and rock – at a laboratory. The lab told them their samples contained large amounts of what are called “kimberlitic indicator minerals” – the kinds of rocks that occur where diamonds are usually found.

 

Air Labrador is fueling up for a second weekly flight between Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital city, and the airline's home base of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Recently, the city of Iqaluit voted unanimously to enter into an agreement to twin with the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, adding political strength to a blossoming entrepreneurial relationship.

The addition of a weekly flight is only the beginning, come September, the airline plans to add a second aircraft.

The plane currently serving Iqaluit is a 19-seater Beech 1900D, the second aircraft will be the 37-seater Dash 8. The company also plans to replace the existing Beech 1900D with a second Dash 8, bringing the total number of available seats from its current 19 to 74.

Not only will seat capacity increase, but freight service will as well.

 

This summer, Makivik, Nunavik's Inuit birthright organization, began a search for an Inuit beneficiary to join a University of Ottawa research team and make a historic trek to Mt. Everest's base camp in 2005.

If the participant successfully climbs to the mountain's base camp, he or she will then have a chance to return to the Himalayas and try for the summit. The feat would make the person the first Inuk to do so.

Sammy Kudluk, the associate editor of Makivik Magazine who is publicizing the challenge, said Makivik's involvement is an opportunity to inspire Nunavimmiut.

"Anything to do with Mount Everest is always interesting. It will be a challenge for an Inuk to do that. Also, it's a role model for young people and Inuit. It would be something for Inuit to gain recognition to say they've gone there. It does motivate people even if they themselves are not going to go there," he said.

So far, they have received applications from 18 interested participants across Canada. Makivik is the only Inuit group to agree to pay the participant's $10,000 fee. But though Makivik may give the participant a free ride, it's not going to be an easy one.

Everest is 8,850 metres high. By comparison, the highest mountain in Quebec, Mount D'Iberville in the Torngat Mountain range, is only 1,646 metres high.

 

Norway rats have invaded a huge seabird colony on an Aleutian island, consuming countless auklets that nest at the base of a volcano on Kiska Island, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

The rats will just go from one nest to the next - thousands and thousands and thousands of adults and chicks getting their brains and eyeballs eaten from their heads. Since the rats could cause ecological damage on the scale of a major oil spill, biologists are now trying to figure out whether the rats can be eliminated with poison.

Auklets spend most of their lives on the ocean, subsisting on tiny crustaceans called copepods. They only come ashore to nest, seeking protection from predators during the four weeks before hatchlings can fly.

Carried on ships and aircraft, dumped by cargo and shipwrecks, rats have reached more than 80 per cent of the world's islands and driven hundreds of species to local extinction. They arrived in Kiska during World War II.

 

 Summer 2003         Outfit 113 

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