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.