Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Coral Harbour (Salliq), on Southampton Island, close to the Kerchoffer Falls

Coral Harbour, also known as Salliq by the Inuit, is a community in Southampton Island, north of Hudson Bay. It's part of the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, which includes other native settlements like Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Rankin Inlet or Repulse Bay.

Southampton Island is flat terrain characterized by coastal marine barrens, inlets, rocky flats, sedge and tundra.

The first recorded European person to ever visit this island was the Welsh explorer Thomas Button in 1613, when he was trying to find the Northwest Passage. Button named this island after his sponsor, Earl of Southampton.

From the earliest Inuit hunters - the Sallirmiut people, the last of the Thule people - to the Scottish whalers, and then the Hudson's Bay Company fur traders, Coral Harbour has long served as a strategic point on the northern rim of Hudson Bay.

Coral Harbour  /  Salliq

Coordinates: 64° 08′ N, 83° 10′ W
Population: ~ 840

The modest community appears like a rather poor and desolate settlement; in this case, that is not quite true - in fact, Coral Harbour enjoys most modern facilities and ammenities, and life standards are higher then you could expect for such a remote and isolated location.

Main Street.

Kivalliq region's  Sakku School.

Coral Harbour has become populated by a blend of many Inuit peoples who have migrated from Baffin Island.

People in this community can enjoy the traditional as well as modern livelihoods. The island's resources (caribou, fox, ringed seal, walrus, arctic char) and local services create businesses and attract visitors. Arts and crafts are also added values.

Airport lounge.

There are two companies operating flights from Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital, throughout the week.

The Northern store

The anglican church.

Docked for winter.

Drum dancer, during a festival in Sakku school.

Salliq elder lighting Quiliq (or Kudlik, oil lamp)

To visitors, Coral Harbour offers excellent conditions for cross-country skiing, dog sledding, or several excellent spots to fish for arctic char nearby, at the Kerchoffer river.

Fishers at sunset, Coral Harbour.

Kerchoffer Falls

The Kerchoffer Falls are located about 24 km  from Coral Harbour, off the airport road. They are well known for the 25 foot fall and the beautiful scenery.

Kerchoffer falls frequently freeze in winter.

Artists from Coral Harbour

Coral Harbour is home to many artisans who work in ivory, soapstone, seal skin and print.

Man with drum, serpentine, Daniel Shimout

Polar bear, Johnny Kataluk

The well konown Pudlo Pudlat (1916-1992) was born near Coral Harbour.

Pudlo started his life in Coral Harbour, but he began drawing in the early 1960s after he abandoned the semi-nomadic way of life and settled in Cape Dorset. He experienced the radical transformation of life in the Arctic that occurred in the 20th Century and reached its peak in the 1950s.

Pudlat working. 

His work - more then 4000 drawings and 200 prints - has been shown at exhibitions in the National Gallery of Canada, but also in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and New York; and published in the 1978 Cape Dorset's annual catalogue.


With humour and a fascination with the trappings of technology - airplanes in particular - Pudlat expresses the paradoxes of the encounter between traditional Inuit culture and modern life.

Iceberg lookout.


Throughout Winter, blizzards are common in Coral Harbour.

Temperatures occasionally drop to -50°C, the sea ice freezes in November and only breaks up in early July.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Yule Time in the Arctic

As last year, a small Ultima Thule collection of Arctic Christmas images in northern locations from East to West.

Christmas lights in Kotzebue, 66º 53' N, Alaska.

Iqaluit, 66º 44' N, Canada.

Sisimiut, 66º 56´ N, West Greenland - Christmas gathering.

Nuuk, 64º 10' N, the capital of Greenland.

Shop window in Longyearbyen, at 78º 22' N, today's northermost, in Svalbard Island. 

Røros, 62º 34' N, Norway.

Trondheim, 63º 25' N, Norway - Yuletime market.

It's difficult to tell the stars from the Christmas lights in Tórshavn, 62º N, Faröe Islands.

Kirovsk, 67º 37' N, Western Arctic Russia - Lenine looking at the Tree.

Novy Urengoy, 66º 05' N, Arctic Siberia.

And now, time for wishing a happy New Year !

Monday, 26 December 2016

A Christmas favourite, by good Queen Judy Collins

One of those unforgetable voices. Hope she has a merry Yule, like you all brave Thuleans.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Floe Edge - exhibition with Inuit Art from Nunavut

This is my Christmas gift for all who come to visit Ultima Thule in this Yule Season. And, also to celebrate the magical number of 500 000  views recently reached.

The Canada House at Trafalgar Square, London, was hosting a small exhibition of Inuit Art from Nunavut, mostly from the Cap Dorset Fine Arts studio in Baffin Island.

Names like Ningeokuluk Teevee, Quavavau Manumie, Shuvinai Ashoona, Tim Pitsiulak were already familiar to me; at Ultima Thule I published a post some time ago about their art, among others. But Lavinia van Heuvelen was a new name I had never heard, and I loved her work.

Nunavut is a rather unique place: it is one of the most remote and sparsely populated territories in the world, with a population of just 32 000 spread out over an area the size of Western Europe, living in a harsh land under extreme weather, and yet it is one of Canada’s creative regions.

In Nunavut there are over 4 000 practicing artists - the arts are promoted alongside other economic activities like mining, hunting or tourism.

Some of the items exhibited:

The small Ivory Sedna Container is a precious work by Lavinia van Heuvelen, from Iqaluit (2013).

Jamasie Pitseolak, from the Cape Dorset Art school, made this ring from soapstone and glass:

Proposal (2007)

This 2014 printed drawing is the work of Quavavau Manumie (or Kavavaow Mannomee), a famous inuit artist also from Cape Dorset:

Cape Dorset is a small village on the large Baffin Island, Northeastern Canada, where Native Arts have been flourishing since 1957.

Cape Dorset's 'Kinngait' studios, where the best art from Nunavut is teached and produced.

Tim Pitsiulak and Shuvinai Ashoona drawing at the Kinngait Studio.

Qavavau Manumie is one of my favourite Nunavut artists.

And as this is the season of Greetings...

Christmas Tree, 2007, by Qavavau Manumie.