Cape Dorset Day 1
Monday evening I flew out of New York City headed for Ottawa. Immediately upon entering Canada I began to notice that everyone was incredibly welcoming and friendly, which made me very glad to be on my adventure. That evening I spent the night in a nearby airport hotel and left early Tuesday morning for Cape Dorset with a connecting flight through Iqaluit. The plane to Iqaluit had about 40 passengers or more with the front of the cabin moved so as to create the largest cargo area possible between the captain and the passengers. To board or exit the plane one must walk outside and catch a bus back to the terminal.
For some reason, since Iqaluit is the capital of the area, I assumed the airport would be much larger. The Iqaluit airport was smaller than that of Klamath Falls and quite packed with people arriving, waiting, and working. There were several women with the most beautiful jackets on with a baby snuggled into the hood. I definitely looked out of place; first of all I was one of the only people with out a Canadian flag emblem on my jacket, and secondly, even though I would not consider myself a thin person, my padding was lacking compared to everyone else. This is most likely a disadvantage on my part, but not something I can readily fix.
I people watched for an hour while I waited for my connecting flight to Cape Dorset. When it was time to board I handed the flight attendant my ticket and was told that depending upon how the weather went we might fly to our destination, find the weather does not make for proper landing conditions, and return to Iqaluit. This frightened me because I had seen the size of the capital during our approach in from Ottawa and it was not a big town. I was not sure where I would be staying if the weather did not cooperate. Luckily after a very noisy and somewhat frightening ride in a plane that too closely resembled a tin can we arrived in Cape Dorset. The landing path was a strip of snow that had been dyed blue, a bit troubling, but then again I am sure this wasn't their first time using it.
The woman running Huit Huit Tours, Kristiina, met me at the tiny, tiny Cape Dorset airport, bundled me into her truck and off we went for a quick tour of the town on the way to the hotel. I got to the hotel, put my bags down and off we went to meet everyone at the Artist's Co-Op. I was introduced to everyone, although I cannot remember any names at the moment, and was given a wonderful tour of the print making facilities by Bill Ritchie the studio manager of the Co-op. Everyone was so wonderful and I was able to see, in person, the most amazing pieces of art in process.
When the tour was complete I wandered back to my hotel feeling, that after much stress, I had sufficiently equipped myself for the arctic temperatures. I lay down for a few minutes, utterly worn out from the trip thus far, and woke up 20 minutes later to prepare for dinner. I was invited to dine on caribou with the tour guide and her family just up the road. Her daughter and son in law were visiting with their two children and the house was full and warm.
Kristiina's husband grew up in the area and the woman is from various European areas including Helsinki, but grew up in Canada. The husband was very interested in my clothes; he checked out my jacket (I don't think it was thick enough for his taste) and inspected my socks, which was very funny from my end. He was in the other room, for a good 30 minutes after I arrived, watching "his show." The show turned out to be Coronation Street and I immediately knew I was among great people. Throughout the evening the family told the most amazing stories of adventures and close encounters including a story of a polar bear pulling a Goldie Locks in their cabin. The meal was amazing, it tasted very much like elk in a good way, and I walked home after dinner feeling worn out, but excited about tomorrow!