Images from Arctic Bay, The Beaching of Gjoa

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Our neighbor in Arctic Bay, a lovely aluminum cutter named Gjoa (previously Taonui, Tony and Coryn Gooch), developed propeller problems on the passage from Greenland. Given the paucity of travel lifts in this part of the world and the general absence of divers (water temp in the bay, 2.5C), a way of getting at the the offending part was not immediately apparent, all of which came up in conversation when Gjoa owners, Glen and Ann, visited Arctic Tern for coffee and pastry one morning.

Les and Ali’s home cruising ground is famous for big tides. As a consequence, they’ve had a number of opportunities over the years to dry out their various boats on a steep beach, of which there are plenty here. Problem solved, they said. And since neither Glen nor Ann (nor Randall) had previously careened a boat, services were offered and gratefully accepted. A quick check of the tide tables indicated the best cycle began that afternoon, and so did we.

My part of the operation was to function as bow line anchor man as Gjoa nosed into the shoreline. In fact, this was but a titular responsibility, for past the tying of a fancy knot to a dull cement block, the job quickly devolved into one of security guard.

Apparently in Arctic Bay the beaching of deep keel boats is not usual, and the children turned out to observe. All of them. For the young ones the event was better than a whale kill, better than a visit from the local ice breaker’s helicopter (which happened next day), better than almost anything.

So, as Gjoa slowly lowered to her knees I attempted, more or less ineffectually, to prevent her from becoming a Jungle Jim or a target for rock throwing. Similarly I functioned as answer guy. Here are some examples,

  • “Can we visit now?” asked one kid eagerly attempting to climb the bow pulpit as soon as the receding water allowed him to do so without getting wet.
  • “What’s under the water?” this from a boy pointing at the keel. Keel boats are unknown up here.
  • “Is it dead?”
  • “Does it have an engine?”
  • “Does it go fast. Like Vrrrrm!”
  • “What’s that word (referring to the boat’s name)?”
  • “Where are you from?”
  • “Where are you going?”
  • “Mister, can you take my picture?”

My intent in snapping photographs was to document Gjoa’s careening for my own record, but instead I caught a portrait of Arctic Bay’s children.

Both are in sequence below.

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One Comment on “Images from Arctic Bay, The Beaching of Gjoa

  1. Pingback: Gjoa, Background | Figure 8 Voyage

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