Saturday, December 2, 2006
Arctic Time Machine
We had snow today. Not lots, but the driving wind sent the flakes howling past horizontally making it an ideal day to work on one of my pet projects. I have hundred's of slide format photographs taken in the 1960's and 1970's of the life I led in Canada's arctic. The project involves slowly scanning them into digital format so I can have a second copy, but also to try and preserve a record of a way of life which no longer exists. When I'm done, I'll burn them onto a CD and send them to the Igloolik Research Station library for all to see.
The man in this picture is Kamanik. The picture was taken in Igloolik just about this time of year. It's noon and light enough to be outside doing things. It's probably about -35°C or so. Not too cold for someone used to it. He's getting his dogs ready to harness to his sled so he can head out to a meat cache we had buried during a hunting trip the previous summer. The meat will serve both dogs and family for a few weeks until he heads out once again. He'll be gone for two or three days depending on the weather. He'd never take me out in the winter as I didn't have a full double suit of caribou skin clothing. Without such a suit of clothes to keep me warm regardless of the weather, I'd just be a burden to him on the trail.
Today, Kamanik still lives in Igloolik. The last time I saw him, he drove a taxi van around town. His dog sled days are gone, probably for good. I tried to get him out in my kayak, but he declined. He has a big 30 foot fishing boat with an inboard diesel engine which serves his purposes far better.