APTN National News
You really know it is summer in the Arctic when the ice melts and the boats start to come in.
With no roads connecting Nunavut to the rest of the country, sealift season is a vital part of Nunavut’s yearly cycle.
Anchored off the shore in Iqaluit for its first stop of a 15,000 km voyage is the Quamitik cargo ship, which is named after a dog-sled in Inuktitut. It is one of many ships that bring vital cargo and supplies to every community throughout Nunavut to last until next year.
“It’s a general cargo ship. We can bring most everything from small boxes to big pieces, up to generators, some wind blowers … private cars,” said Jonathan Perry Tremblay, who works with the ship.
Cranes cable of lifting 60 tons swing the cargo from the ship to the barge. It is dangerous work for crews maneuvering large crates and heavy machinery off the ship and onto the barges, especially on days when the water is rough.
“It’s very important for all the villages that have been waiting for the entire winter for their stuff to come,” said Tremblay.
For some crew members from Nunavut who grew up watching these ships, it’s a great opportunity to see parts of the country few get to experience.
“It’s a good experience,” said Norman Qaveiq. “I enjoy going places you never been to before, like you see on television and you’re actually seeing it with your own eyes.”
The work is hard and the money is good, but being away from home and family can be difficult.
“You’re away from your family for quite a while—at least four or five months,” said Qaveiq. “If you have a kid, you’re leaving your kids for a long time.”