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PostHeaderIcon Wind stops play

I didn’t even look out of the tent when the alarm went off this morning. I just went straight back to sleep – or tried to through the sounds of the rain pelting and the wind blasting the thin fabric enclosing us. JF did the same without the need to communicate. It was miserable out there and too windy to make any worthwhile progress.

When our bladders finally demanded we brave the elements, the white caps on the sea against us confirmed our choice. Back to bed until well after noon when it was our stomachs turn to force us out of our warm cocoon. Pizza for lunch, a few jobs and back to the cosy red tent. Total exploration today was as far as the bathroom, kitchen and water supply. It’s nice to have a chilled day off chatting and recuperating. A long trip like this makes you reflect on life and it’s powerful. Despite that, we hope that the bad weather passes sooner than forecast (tomorrow is also due to be windy from an unfavorable direction). The alarm will go off at 3am tomorrow just in case, and it remains to be seen whether it gets the same treatment.

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PostHeaderIcon Sun to wind to rain

I was going to be uncomfortably hot in my drysuit this morning. The sun was beating down on a calm day, my watch read 17 degrees C, sheer luxury for the Arctic, and dare I say it, almost too hot for my Kokatat drysuit and onesie. 8 hours later the watch says 5 degrees, it’s raining, and visibility is reduced to about 5 miles distant. Inbetween times we enjoyed a 5 hour stint with a fantastic 10-15 knot wind pushing us along nicely. The conditions are always changing here.

Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful day off. The first one we’d had for at least 10 days. The weather was beautiful, sunny and calm but we needed a break from paddling all the time. We relaxed, ate well and went for a nice walk on the tundra, seeing lots of carribou. 2 lovely big rackers were grazing right by out tent this morning when we woke up.

We made up for our day off today distancewise, covering 59km in a little under 10 hours. The tidal range in Hudson Strait is much less than Ungava Bay but we still need to pay attention as it’s still up to 5.7 metres. We paddled along one 3km channel between an island and the mainland with baited breath today. Although our maps marked it as not drying, they are not that reliable. We’re now camped in a pretty valley with a beach covered in seaweed. I have my fingers crossed for the rain to stop overnight.

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PostHeaderIcon Unexpected visitors

Our day got most interesting when we stopped paddling! A green canoe with an engine approached the small bay we’d just landed in. Dora, her husband Putulik and their 10 year old daughter Mariam were on a day trip from their home in Wakeham Bay looking for caribou to hunt. They invited us to come with them on their boat a few km up the coast to a good fishing spot. JFs eyes lit up… We quickly pulled the kayaks above the high water mark and jumped into the boat, sitting besides fishing rods, guns, coolers and warm clothes. Dora was really chatty, telling us about the local way of life and asking us questions.

The wind really picked up as we arrived at the river mouth. We all tried casting, and JF very happily landed a nice arctic char. He proudly tried eating it the Inuit way, at least the way that Tommy and Annie ate theirs in Quaqtaq. He but straight into the raw flesh. I had a taste too, it was very tender but I prefer it cooked!

After 30 minutes or so, we we called over to a picnic. The coolers were opened to reveal everything from locally smoked fish to Tim Hortons donuts. We were encouraged to help ourselves to whatever we wanted multiple times. We were even treated to some wine, our first alcohol for 3 weeks. The kindness of the people we are meeting here is very warming and we ares very grateful to Dora and her family for sharing their experience with us.

Prior to that, it was another hot sunny day with very little wind. We treated ourselves to an extra 90 minutes sleep this morning and felt well rested and strong on the water. We covered about 26 nautical miles along another beautiful rocky coastline with lots of outlying islands. But it’s people we met that will stick in our memory of today.

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PostHeaderIcon Holiday mode

It felt like a holiday today, a beautiful warm, blue sky morning with the occasional gentlest of breezes ruffling the otherwise mirror calm water. We didn't have to do any big crossings of fjords of bays so could potter along near to the shore, admiring the many permutations of steep rockfaces. We adjusted our course only to avoid several eider duck nurseries, the cute little chicks scurrying along behind mum, everyone clearly terrified of us. Here most animals are hunted.

We saw 3 motor boats today, as we paddled past the entrance to a fjord housing a small Inuit community of Kangiqsujuaq, the first people we've seen since Quaqtaq 4 days ago. None of them came over to say hi.

Despite the wonderful conditions, we covered our "bare minimum" distance today of 35km, just 7 hours on the water. It felt a bit like a rest day after 2 long, hard days and we fancied stopping at a decent hour and having an earlier night. The forecast is pretty good for the next few days so we should keep making good progress.

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