Monday, 31 January 2011

Sam Ford Fjord - out of this world

The majestic cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord
70.5°N 71.15°W

It's a little-known natural wonder along Baffin Island's rugged northeast coast, a spectacular, 110-km-long channel lined by towering cliffs.

Immense walls carved thousands of years ago by ancient glaciers make Sam Ford Fjord one of the most impressive sights in the world

The Polar Sun Spire (1438 m above sea level), a famous vertical climb:

The spire is notable for its spectacular north face and has been the scene of some amazing epic climbs. The first ascent was made in 1996 by Mark Synnott, Jeff Chapman and Warren Hollinger.

Sam Ford Fjord is located on the east coast of Baffin Island (Arctic Archipelago, Canada), between the inuit settlements of Pond Inlet and Clyde River.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Inuit Baskets

These beautiful baskets are the work of Inuit artists from the Arctic Archipelago, in the extreme north of Canada, in the region of Nunavut; islands like Baffin, Ellesmere, Cornwallis, Victoria, some of them among the largest on the planet.

Sparse and isolated inuit settlements of hunters and fishermen, just recently arrived to modern civilized patterns, are developping original artistic activities. Most of these baskets are hand made in Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung or the Nunavut region's capital Iqaluit.

Basket with Bird

Basket with Loon

Basket with seal

Basket with Bird

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Arctic Bay, Baffin Island - North Canada

Arctic Bay

Longitude: -85.15° Latitude: 73.03°

Arctic Bay (pop. 700) is an Inuit hamlet located on the northern shore of Adams Sound, on northern Baffin Island, in the region of Nunavut, Canada.

The Arctic Bay area has been occupied for nearly 5000 years by Inuit nomads migrating from the west. In 1872, a European whaling ship, the Arctic passed through and gave the area its English name. The Inuit name for Arctic Bay is "Ikpiarjuk" which means "the pocket" in English. This name describes the high hills (1300 m) that surround the almost landlocked bay.

The community is serviced by a school, Inuujaq School, that has an enrollment around 200 students. There is also an Arctic College host.

The All Saints Anglican church (1965)

Arctic Bayis home to some 700 people. Most of them are Inuit, half of them are children. The town was built in the 1960s, around an existing Hudson 's Bay Company store.

Besides fishing and hunting, there are some other activities, like carvers, selling fabrics and home made clothing. Skins are a decreasing business, but still the basic resource for clothing and boots.

Marble carvings, ivory sculptures and other arts and crafts are an increasingly popular among talented local artists.

Hunter in Qayaq - Caribou antler, Seal Skin & wood, by Jutanee Attagutaluk of Arctic Bay.

Baffin Island is quite large, the 5th largest island in the world, with magnificent landscapes, a National Park and several inuit settlements - a true New World to discover !
The coastlines are characterized by a multitude of long narrow fiords, inlets and bays:

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Húsavík, an Icelandic pearl

With a population of over 2500, Húsavík is the main town of Northeast Iceland. It has a picturesque harbour and snow capped peaks, and seeing whales during the season is almost certain.

Location : 66°03′ N, 17°19′ W

Being located near the Arctic Circle, the town of Húsavík enjoys 24 hours daylight in summer, and the midnight sun often gives the sky a unbelievably beautiful glow. In the winter when the nights are long the night sky is frequently decorated with the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and stars.

Whilst the main industries in Húsavík are fishing and fish processing, Húsavík has become a centre of whale watching in the north due to whales of different species that frequently enter the bay.

Húsavík is small but has almost all services including banks and a post office as well as a good choice of cafés and restaurants, set around the harbour.

Salka restaurant is located by the main street, housed in the renovated store building of Iceland's first coop founded in 1882 by farmers in the district.

Down by the harbor is Gamli Baukur restaurant, which is a replica of a 19th century house.

Gamli Baukur goes as far as 1843 when the original house was built, not far from where it is today. Back then it was built as a residence for the district magistrate.

The present Gamli Baukur was built in the years 1997-1999 by the harbour in Húsavík. The house is built of driftwood found on the coastline around the town.

It was built in the form of a cross with wood imported from Norway, and consecrated in 1907. The artist Freymodur Johannesson painted and decorated the church’s interior in 1924.

Sveinn Thorarinsson painted a depiction of Lazarus’ resurrection for the altar in 1930-31. The organ was consecrated on November 1964. Sculptor Johann Bjornsson from Húsavík carved the baptismal font and other wood carvings in the church.
Nearby Húsavík is the Jokulsargljufar National Park. Iceland's second largest river runs through the park and also flows through the massive Jokulsargljufur, a canyon which is 120 meters deep and 500 meters wide in places, forming several exceptional waterfalls and rock formations

Dettifoss waterfall in Jökulsárgljúfur