An aerial view of our ship anchored in Navy Board Inlet, between Bylot Island, with the high mountain glaciers, in the distance and the town of Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, on the water (center foreground)
The community of Pond Inlet is located on the northeastern coast of Baffin Island, Canada, on the shores of Navy Board Inlet. With a population of approximately 1,800, Pond Inlet is the largest of the four Canadian Arctic hamlets above the 72nd parallel. The settlement is known to the Inuit as Mittimatalik (the place where Mittima is buried). Although the name remains, the identity of Mittima is a mystery to present-day residents. Pond Inlet is one of Nunavut’s most scenic locations with fantastic views across the iceberg-strewn channel to the mountains and glaciers of Bylot Island. It is predominantly a community of hunters, with the government as the largest employer in town. In January to March average temperatures hover around -25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit), although recent winters have tended to be somewhat warmer and drier. In summer, with an average temperature of 7-10 degrees Celsius (45-50 degrees F), the sun shines up to 21 hours a day. Pond Inlet is the gateway to the wild and mostly-uninhabited High Arctic Islands to the north.
We had the opportunity to enjoy a cultural performance in the Pond Inlet Community Center which featured Inuit dancing, drumming, singing, throat singing and ceremonial mock fighting. Many local artists had their works for sale at the Visitor’s Center.
A view of some of the homes in Pond Inlet looking downhill from the new Community Center towards Navy Board Inlet (with Bylot Island across the water), Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
A restored old sod Inuit home, built into the ground with a stitched seal fur roof supported by wooden poles and beams, Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada; Bylot Island is visible across the waters of Navy Board Inlet
A considerable contrast between the Pond Inlet Inuit sod home of a few hundred years ago and the modern comforts of an ocean going ship, Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
A typical Inuit wooden sled (or sledge) pulled by dogs – Inuits have bred dogs for pulling sleds for over 4,000 years in the Arctic; the “box” on top of the sled provides some wind and snow protection for a traveling family on the sled in the winter; Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
Typical individual family homes in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
Local Inuit artwork decorating window board coverings on a home in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
The modern building on the right is one of the bed and breakfast inns in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
The recently constructed community library and Pond Inlet Museum was designed to resemble an iceberg in appearance, Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
Narwhal whales decorate a plaque outside the community library, Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada [The narwhal, or narwhale, is a medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large “tusk” from a protruding canine tooth. It lives year-round in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. Protected now, they were heavily hunted for their tusks which gave rise to the myth of the unicorn. They are often referred to as the “unicorn of the sea”.]
A sled and sled dog among the items on display in the Pond Inlet Museum in the Community Library; Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
The recently built Community Center at the edge of town in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
As pictured below, the official flag of Nunavut was proclaimed on 1 April 1999, along with the territory of Nunavut in Canada. It features a red inuksuk — a traditional Inuit land marker — and a blue star, which represents the Niqirtsuituq, the North Star, and the leadership of elders in the community.
Local Inuit women and children who performed in the cultural performances at the Pond Inlet Community Center for us – shown holding the flag of the Nunavut Territory, Canada
Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.