Cape Dorset, 2012, early melt

We arrived in Cape Dorset this year the week before the May long weekend, almost exactly one year since we came last year. In 2011 we had a great set of collections. We would travel each day across the bay in front of town to the islands beyond where the eiders would fly over head.  In the picture below you can see an inukshuk on the hill (marked by a *) and the arrow points to the ice edge, way out from town.

But, in 2012 we have arrived in Cape Dorset and found a very different set of ice conditions.  People in both in Iqaluit and Cape Dorset have commented on the very quick melt that is occurring with the snow turning soft very quickly.  And here is Cape Dorset where I expected to find a frozen bay and travel by snow mobile to hunt eiders there is open water right in front of town. In the picture below the * marks the same hill top, and you can see the wide open water way out in the bay, but you can also see that the ice is broken right up to the shoreline into town.  And the solid ice edge is so far towards town that it is out of the picture.

And forgive my picture splicing techniques, but the ice edge is all the way right in front of town.

And so we are practicing the number one rule of field work, being flexible and adaptive. We will try to hunt for a few days by snowmobile, but we are also getting ready to hunt by boat as soon as the ice clears out of the way, which it is expected to do with the first strong wind. And just a few days later, one year after the top picture was taken, the ice in the bay is almost completely cleared out and you can even see the intertidal zone emerging from the little bit of landfast ice that is still hanging on.

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