BROUGHTON ISLAND IN THE HIGH ARCTIC – 2011

Equipment Test & Research 

Rosie was ‘lent’ Kimick, the Inuit dog, by Billy whose family she and accompanying photographer Martin Hartley perched with before embarking on the sea ice off the remote arctic island of Broughton (north of Baffin) on a short expedition to sharpen up her ice skills, test out kit, equipment, and above all, test out her back after a double discectomy operation.

Both Martin and Rosie were also keen to spend some time with the local Inuit community.  “I don’t think I’ve ever stayed with a family who owns less and yet giggles, smile and holds hands more.”  The grandfather, whose age was apparently lost count of once he was 80, was still diving in the icy waters for clams and mussels.  “What a lesson in where true happiness lies”

Broughton offers up the perfect training, testing equipment and sledge hauling on a with open sea ice, giant icebergs – and bears.

Kimick, as Billy explained, looking with bleak doubt at me and my Winchester rifle, would provide perfect bear protection, patrolling around my tent at night and barking at the slightest whiff of a bear. Kimick, having wound both Martin and myself around his fluffy paws, actually, preferred a more remote form of patrolling from inside the tent.

This photograph shows his love of my meagre rations of nuts and disintegrated biscuits. Kimick’s imaginative name translates from Inuktitut as, ….(short paws) ‘Dog’.

On a concerned environmental note these arctic communities are no longer healthy. Chemicals, pesticides and pollutants used further down in the northern hemisphere are carried up by winds and swept northwards until hitting the colder climes where the particles are dropped.

The chemicals concentrate in the Arctic because it is a relatively small area, Other special factors also increase the danger – the cold slows down the natural decomposition of the chemicals, and Arctic wildlife relies on thick layers of blubber and fat, in which the pollution builds up. The Inuit are at the top of the food chain, eating a lot of local fish and wildlife. So, although they have contributed virtually nothing to the pollution, and do not benefit at all from the use of the chemicals thousands of miles to the south, they are becoming its principal victims.

Images copyright © Martin Hartley. All rights reserved.