Cape Dorset, 2012, ice free bay

It is early July and we are back in Cape Dorset, Nunavut for breeding bird surveys. The last time we were here it was May, the land was covered in snow, and the bay was full of ice. And for the most part the bay was full of ice until relatively recently, but when we landed today the skies were blew, the sun was shining bright and the bay was full of open water and bobbing boats. The red star in the photo below marks the same hilltop in the winter scenes for reference.

Just a week ago this bay was covered in ice, blocking all access to getting out by boat.  Now that the water is open almost every boat in the bay is out, mostly clam digging as we learned today on our walk from a few eager people jumping in to boats laden with buckets and shovels.

But not all the boats have made it to the water yet. My friend Jon has come to help out with the surveys this year.  Besides being a  all-around-coastal-handyman he is also a wooden boat builder. He wasted no time today checking out the local boats, including these two wooden hulled ones used for hunting.

I am not sure if the above wooden boats are going to get into the water this year, but we did see some other boats getting ready to go. The boat below was being moved by fork-lift off the beach. And you can see another one in the background on the right being towed down the beach by a truck and a team of people. In the north once the ice is out you move boats around with whatever you can, no railways or boat launches around here!

There is some ice around, burgy bits still hanging out in the intertidal. You can tell the ice that has been sitting in the bay for months rubbing along the bottom with the tides.  It is dirty and brown with rocks and algae that it has picked up along the way. The clean white ice that is around as well is most likely pack ice that has spent the winter out away from the land, but has blown into the bay during breakup.

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