Frozen Strait, Nunavut Territory, Canada

Underwater View of Walrus, Hudson Bay, Nunavut, CanadaUnderwater view of male Walrus swimming in Frozen Strait, near the arctic circle in Canada’s Nunavut Territory. Photographed August 6, 2013 with a Canon 7D camera and 8-15mm f/4 lens at 1/640 f/6.3, housed in an AquaTech underwater housing.

One day I was driving my 22-foot C-Dory through open water near the arctic circle, wondering if I would ever see the ice pack. The next, I was cowering on the beach, my boat grounded on rocks and pinned in by an endless expanse of towering icebergs. I was on the satellite phone calling home with my GPS coordinates, mumbling something about needing insurance policy numbers and wondering how long it would take the helicopter to find me.

A while, I was thinking. A long, long while.

As it was, it only took ten hours for the high tide’s return to loosen the ice pack enough for me to slip off the beach and motor a few miles into a more protected bay. It was one more close call in a seven-week, 1500 mile odyssey from the end of the road in Manitoba to the edge of the Arctic. Vast distances, summer storms, mechanical trouble, groundings, bad charts and my meager skills conspired to make the trip…memorable.

I read somewhere that, up to the moment you’re on the beach with your head in your hands desperate to call it quits and go home; you’re on vacation. Then, and only then, can you call it an adventure.

In the days after nearly losing my boat to the ice and inattention, Frozen Strait came alive. With the ice came hundreds of walrus and dozens of polar bears, sunny weather and calm, clear seas.

It was quite the adventure.


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