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High Winds but High Spirits

The Northwest Passage Day 7

“We know little of winds, despite the powers of science. The substance of wind is too thin for human eyes, their written language is too difficult for human minds, their spoken language is mostly too faint for the ears.” John Muir

We deviated from the historic Northwest Passge by sailing through Bellot Strait. This helped us avoid sea ice that we would have encountered on the northerly trajectory. It also placed us on a direct route to Fort Ross. The plan for the day was to land via Zodiac at Fort Ross. But due to high winds, the Fort Ross disembarkation was cancelled.

Sailing Through Bellot Strait

Fort Ross was the last trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company. Founded in 1937, the fort is strategically located at the eastern end of Bellot Strait and at the southeastern end of Somerset Island. Severe ice conditions made the post economically unfeasible becuase it was difficult to reach. It was operational for only eleven years. The former store was recently refurbished and is now used as a shelter by Inuit caribou hunters from Taloyoak and an occasional refuge for researchers. We stood on deck to see Fort Ross as we passed it. Then went inside for a day of shipboard activiites that included:

  • A lecture on polar bearsA talk on the HMCS Labrador, a Canadian Icebreaker on which the fater of one of our geologists served

  • The rescheduled water color workshop with Andrew Sookrah

  • A drum dancing workshop with Joe and Susie

  • Afternoon tea

  • A demonstation of Inuit games by Jason (and a chance to try them)

  • An opportunity to taste country food (caribou, narwhal, whale,and seal—all raw)

  • A spectacular sunset

  • A concert with Marshall Dane

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