HomeThe Plan Weekly Log Pictures The Boat Boat For Sale Contacts

July 15 2005

Idlewild Log Entries

August 12, 2006
August 8, 2006
July 30, 2006
July 17, 2006
July 8, 2006
June 25, 2006
June 21, 2006
June 11, 2006
May 9, 2006
April 21 2006
March 28, 2006
March 12, 2006
February 12, 2006
January 30, 2006
January 16, 2006
January 3, 2006
December 27, 2005
December 11, 2005
November 29, 2005
November 16, 2005
October 22, 2005
October 11, 2005
October 1, 2005
September 27 2005
September 14 2005
September 13 2005
September 12 2005
September 11 2005
September 10 2005
September 5 2005
August 26 2005
August 19 2005
August 8 2005
August 3 2005
July 25 2005
July 23 2005
July 15 2005
July 4 2005
June 30 2005
June 25 2005
June 16 2005
June 11 2005
June 9 2005
May 22 2005
April 14 2005
March 2005
October 5 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
October 2003
July 2003

Norman Wells was predominately an Esso town until social services made a challenge to that in the 70s.  Government and other oil companies help keep the town vibrant now.  Esso built an oil pipeline to the south in the 80s and some time later shut down the refinery there.  There is a plant to separate the gas from the oil and inject the gas back into the ground.  Diesel and gasoline are now hauled to Hay River on trucks or rail and barged to communities north.  Some barges bring fuel from Vancouver each year by way of the Bearing Straight.    There is a turnaround on the plant now to make changes and do maintenance and the town was short of natural gas for some things. 

Recently some beluga whales were recorded coming up the Mackenzie River to as far as Norman Wells and a number of Musk Ox have been sighted on the mountains east of here. 

The Ramparts is an infamous piece of river that follows the Sans Sault rapids.  It has a tight section with several rocks and also a ledge/waterfall on low water levels, immediately after that the river narrows dramatically.  We investigated a waterfall in the canyon after climbing up 200 feet.  It was a lot of fun and we stood under it.

Fort Good Hope has a famous church.  A catholic priest had done some beautiful paintings on the walls and ceilings of the church

On July 7th we passed into the Arctic Circle.  We toasted Neptune with Isle of Jura Superstition scotch.  It is at latitude 66º 33’ N, this is the line at which the sun does not set on the longest day of the year June 21.  We will not see a sunset for the foreseeable future.

We talked to the ferry operator at Arctic Red River, where the Dempster Highway crosses on the way to Inuvik.  15 miles later is Point Separation where 100 miles of river delta starts.  We wound our way to Inuvik seeing river depths up to 152 feet.

Inuvik is a busy town and a major transportation hub for the area.  Population of 3500 with 56 days a year of constant daylight.  We were met by lovely people and our last real warm weather.  We arrived at 11:15 PM to the welcome of a house boat party tied next to us, named “The Barge”.  They invited us up and said there was no laundry in town so they would do it for us the next day at their homes.  In no particular order we would like to thank Frank Hanson, Joanne McNiel, Larry McNiel, Val Gordon, Marjory Hanson, Don Craik and Elizabeth Hanson.  Elizabeth offered her vehicle as well so thanks again.  An excellent town to visit with a surprising number of tourists including Chuck Cummings from Illinois.  He is a ‘marine no longer in active duty’ that had just ridden a motorcycle from Tierra del Fuego on the southern tip of South America to Inuvik with a plane ride this day to see a bit further than the end of the road.

Tuktoyaktuk is a hamlet of about 800 people in the “Land of the Pingos”.  It is at the end of the Mackenzie River on the Beufort Sea.  We arrived here July 10 at 22:15.  Kids here are bold and we were warned by a native that we would be at risk if they came on the boat and got injured.  They were friendly and nice kids so it was difficult to be stern with them.  We gave them a tour of the boat and became good friends, especially Sharise, who spent a lot of time playing with Ryan, Mikayla, Scott, and Trenton.  There were more bicycles and fewer quads than we expected, and there is a softball game almost every night

Carvings and local artifacts are promoted more than anywhere we’ve been.  It’s great stuff and required some purchases.  We also bought a hind quarter of caribou, whale meat and muktuk (skin and blubber).  Will have to keep looking for some beluga whale oil.  

Beluga whales are a popular source of food here.  To hunt them the whales are harpooned and then shot immediately by rifle then towed for butchering.  The thick slabs are smoked and then boiled to eat.  The fat is sometimes used for dipping or even salad oil.  The native people here hunt 50-60 per year.  There are 29,000 that migrate through the area.  Right now the males are coming through, later the females will make their way through to give birth nearby. 

The DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line was built in the artic in the 50s with stations every 50 miles to provide early notice of a missile attack from the Soviet Union across the Pole.  There is a DEW line station in Tuktoyaktuk that is no longer manned but still works remotely.

Once again we have met some interesting people.  Gruben is a well known family in Tuk, their father came her from Texas, a stowaway on a whaling ship in the 30’s to Tuktoyaktuk and married and Inuit/Inuvialuit woman.  We met Boogie Pokiak as he was fishing the Fresh Water Creek, he also does some guiding.  Joe Blow invited us and we tried raw and cooked muktuk at his home, although we didn’t try the aged muktuk, apparently is has a sort of blue cheese effect and tastes strong.  Ronald Felix is a well known artist who makes beautiful carvings sold in many places including Yellowknife.  We also met up with Steven Wright, skipper on the NTCL tug Nunakput.  He was very helpful with advice about traveling out in the ice.  We loaded the Vidar jet boat on a NTCL barge for shipping back to Hay River, then a truck with MacKenzie Valley Logistics will take it to Grande Prairie.

There are a lot of dogs in northern communities but they have strict laws now every community we have been in, that they have to be tied up.  There is a guy here with the job to shoot any loose dogs, cheaper than having a dog pound I suppose.

Our 8 family members headed back on the afternoon of Friday July 15th with Brad, Kevin & Ben to be heading west.  We took on supplies and will leave on the morning of July 16.  It has been cold here so we are anticipating problems with ice before long, although there are no good recent reports.




"Discover how a Pingo is formed."
(click for larger image)