02 Aug, 2015 Exploring Naujaat
Ice conditions are still holding tough – way too much out there to go into the park and no change in the immediate future. This is an unusual amount of ice for this time of year. Only now are locals finally able to get their boats in the water and go out hunting for narwhal. After 10 months of ice, there’s a sense of relief and elation in the community.
I’m land-bound for now, so I strategize to explore what can be found around Naujaat. Fortunately, I’ve been supplied access to a vehicle while here, which allows me to see so much more than I could on foot alone.
For the next 3 days, I explore each dirt road until it ends in tundra.
One leads to a view of massive bowhead whale bones. Hiking to them from down wind I catch a strong aroma that tells me an organic process is still in the works. I pull out my sketch book, hold my breath, and lay graphite to paper.
Another road brings me to a beautiful river-lined valley. There, I try to capture the scene with my oil paints. On the 20 minute drive back to town, I spot another great vantage point: a view looking over Hudson Bay with numerous points of land overlapping into the distance. That leads to another canvas a day later.
Though spending this much time here in Naujaat was not part of our original plan, it is productive and I’m fortunate that it is so pretty around here. I’m adding new paintings from the central Arctic to my collection from a region that I would never have really explored had it not been for the ice delay. Great as it is though, I still can’t wait to visit Ukkusiksalik National Park. We’ll see what the ice charts say tomorrow.