By Patricia Lightfoot
Every year in July through September, goods ranging from cars and trucks to construction materials are delivered to Nunavut communities by the sealift, that is, on massive ships. The reason for this is that none of the communities is connected by road, whether to another community or to the south.
This year, only a few items were unloaded before Iqaluit’s Koojesse inlet started to fill up with sea ice that had blown south, from Greenland according to some locals.
When I arrived for my latest visit on July 15, there were some large chunks of ice in the bay along with the water, but as the days have passed, more and more ice has come in on the tide each day in a rather sinister fashion. I’m starting to expect to find it knocking at the front door.
At this point, a sealift ship is moored in the outer part of the bay, but over the last week it’s not been possible to send out barges to transport those giant metal containers you see on container ships, locally known as sea cans, onto the beach. There is no harbour in Iqaluit, though a deep-sea port is being constructed.
This is a tough situation, as the men hired to unload the goods sit idle and construction is delayed. Fortunately, it’s still early in the season and the wind’s direction is likely to change.