Day 6, Monday, August 19, 2013: POND INLET
Swarms of Seabirds and Wayfaring Whales in Baffin Bay
Early in the day we were greeted with the rounded head of the Long-Finned Pilot Whale. It’s an extremely rare sighting this far north, and we were lucky enough to see a pod of about 20-30 females with young calves in tow.
Dovekies (or Little Auks as they are known in Europe) are the most common seabirds and auks in this part of the world. An estimated 10 million pairs breed in northwest Greenland. They usually leave their breeding colonies in August before heading into the North Atlantic, off the south coast of Greenland and off Labrador and Newfoundland, for the winter. We saw over 5000 of them when we left the coastal waters of Greenland before entering Canadian Waters. They barely measure 20 cm. from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail and weigh only 200g.
TODAY IN POND INLET… we were greeted with a very professional and cultural celebration including Arctic games, throat singing, drumming by seniors, middle generation young men, and very young children ALL IN COSTUME! It was absolutely heart warming, brought tears to my eyes!
One of the beautiful young Inuit mothers, with her child snuggled in her special hooded dress, sang “Oh Canada”, in Inuktitut, French, and English; it sent chills through my body, it was so rich, patriotic, and sincere. I later asked her,”Have you ever sung for national T.V.?” She responded by telling me, “I have sung for HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA!” Everyone should here this young girl’s (young mother’s) version of “Oh Canada”.
Then one of the elders sang as she lighted her special fire, while two generations of young men and children danced playing the drums… she had received the “Order of Canada Medal” in 2011.