Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ms. Lerenman in the Arctic Day 6

What looks like sand on the horizon of the beach is really the frozen over Hudson Bay.

An example of a native Inuit stone sculpture in town.
Tourist trap souvenirs in a sled.
Exploded rocket from the Cold War.
Forest Tundra spruce tree experiment site.
Shhhh...we're hunting needle bags!

Today was our free morning, which meant that we got to go into town and explore. First we were dropped off at the Eskimo Museum, which houses the most Inuit artifacts in the North. I may have made that up, but it sounds right. After learning a lot about Inuit culture and their soapstone carvings (one carver used his teeth to make all of his miniature statues!) and buying some souvenirs, we ventured out on our own to the beach behind the Town Centre. Along the Hudson Bay, we could see rocks spilling out towards sand and then to water that had melted from the cracking ice ahead. You can still see just miles and miles of ice.

We had lunch at the famous Gypsy's in town with Pete and Steve and the group of middle school students that stole our Beluga Whale watching tour time slot that was supposed to have been today as well. Boo!

Afterward, we split up into two teams. One did GPR action (Ground-penetrating radar) with Pete while the other collected spruce needle bags from under frozen ground in the Forest Tundra area for Steve, so that he could desiccate them and then weigh them to observe changes in nutrient loss in times of climate change. At the site, we saw an exploded rocket (seen above) that had been launched and tested by the military during the Cold War. It had sufficiently exploded, as they had expected. We had to use our boot to dig up the bags at times since the ground was that frozen, much to Steve's chagrin. After wards, we tried various arctic tundra berries that were in the ground...really tart and tasty!

After dinner, we went back to the Black Spruce Forest site to excavate some more spruce needles from under ground and then took a leisurely ecology field lesson tour with Steve on our way to meet the other GPR team at their site. We now know how to distinguish between white and black spruce trees! On our way back to the center, Pete took us to Twin Lakes, and Will tried to walk across the ice and had a major booter, that's what Canadians call getting water fully into your boots. You can see him trying to prevent this accident in the photo above...FAIL!

1 comment:

Matt K said...

Sounds like you are having a blast! I'll be in the Arctic in a few days myself.
Take care,