Herschel Island / by Caroline Van Hemert

After dragging our boats through ankle deep water more than a half mile offshore, we finally said goodbye to the Mackenzie delta.  By the time we reached deeper water, northeasterly winds had picked up.  This introduction to the Arctic Ocean was a wet one for Pat as he capsized in large following seas compounded by the outflow of the Blow River.  I looked back to see in slow motion his boat crest sideways and then topple.  He was able to right and then climb back in still holding his paddle and we continued toward the bluff onshore for an exciting surf landing.  As the seas grew larger, we were happy to pack up the raft and walk the beach.  We passed a whaling camp near Shingle Point and were treated to a hot meal of caribou soup.  The Inuvialuit people of this region have showed us incredible hospitality, sharing their knowledge about the land and our route.  Travel along the coast has re-energized us – the beaches offer good walking and the tundra is peppered with wildlife. We’ve seen caribou in velvet, musk ox grazing on a spit, and many nesting peregrine and gyrfalcon.  Eiders, scoters and long tailed ducks are congregating to raise ducklings or molt.  Yesterday we wove our way through towering icebergs to Herschel Island to pick up a re-supply and enjoy this amazing place.  Next we’ll head northwest to Kaktovik, 165 miles down the coastline. [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Herschel+Island,+Yukon,+Unorganized,+YT,+Canada&aq=0&oq=herschel+island+&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=38.41771,86.572266&t=h&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Herschel+Island&ll=69.579457,-139.076206&spn=2.125941,10.821533&z=7&output=embed&w=425&h=350]