Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hall Beach

Warning: Some of the following images are not suitable for young children, people with sensitive stomachs, and any members of PETA. Consider yourself warned.

A few weeks back I visited Hall Beach to do a community MD visit. Each of the settlements around Baffin Island and the nearby mainland are covered by a specified physician in Iqaluit. The doctor covering that community takes calls from the nurses about more complicated patients, and would ideally visit to see patients and review charts about every 3-6 weeks (depending on the size of the community). Unfortunately, current physician staffing levels haven't allowed these visits to happen as often as they should. Luckily, I got to fly north of the arctic circle to visit Hall Beach and see the patients there. I had a great time, and I'm looking forward to going back again in the future.

Hall Beach is a community located on the Melville Peninsula, across the water from Baffin Island. It was founded in 1957, and was named for Charles Francis Hall, an American explorer. Hall Beach is not too far from Igloolik (Iglulik), another community on the peninsula. The actually "beach" is very rocky, and the topography is very flat, unlike many of the spots on Baffin, but I thought it had a beauty all its own. It's probably the smallest and most isolated place I've been so far; about 600-700 people live there, and pretty much the whole town knows each other. So it was pretty obvious I was a stranger...However, everyone would say hello on the street, and the kids would come up to me and ask me my name. I found the people there very nice.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip:

Arriving at the airport

I love the obligatory picture of the Queen (circa 1970) hanging on the wall.

The health centre

The lovely health centre staff

Some adorable sled dog puppies

While they appear adorable and cuddly now, once they're grown, it's best to stay far away from the sled dogs, which are usually kept chained up and away from the houses. These dogs are NOT pets. They are working dogs. You do not pet them and give them doggy kisses. They might eat you. Just kidding. Or maybe not.

The town

Community centre

The mall (ie: Northern)

The co-op

You may notice that there are no signs on the two (count 'em TWO) stores in town. I guess the scrawled spray paint job counts as the sign. Then again, in a place this small, do you really need a sign?


The hotel (pretty swanky! great food)

A crazy looking vehicle

Can't remember what this is called, but I guess they used to use these to go out on the land and look at polar bears or something.

The dump on the beach

I walked out along the beach and found...the dump. Where the heck did that old yellow school bus come from?

The spoils of the hunt!

Cariboo skulls

Cariboo skins

A seal skin being stretched out


My new friend, who was heading down to the beach to chop the tusks off this walrus. It's not often you can make friends with a guy walking down the street with an axe and a severed walrus head. However, you can tell he's a good guy, because he is obviously a Leafs' fan.

We apologize for the lack of recent posts...we've been pretty busy and the internet connection is so slow that uploading these pictures took forever. Fear not, we have some other posts in the works, so check back soon.


Auntie Michèle said...

Belated Happy Birthday wishes Aaron!!
I thought of you on your day.
Spent Thanksgiving at your mom's and had a great time.

Re your Blog. In my ignorance I never thought about waste management areas. Do they put them on the beach to be transported elsewhere eventually or is that a landfill.

love to you both from Aunt Michèle

Elaine said...

A belated happy birthday from me too (sorry I had no idea.) ;-)

I just love your blog and the wonderful pics which take me to a different world.

Rob & Tina said...

Love the post. Thanks for the picture of the Northern Store. We love to see the different stores and compare them to ours! :)

The MSILF said...

Once again, awesome.

The Lone Coyote said...

Really cool photos. Keep them coming when you have time :)

Kara and Matt said...

Well the first picture is definately not a caribou skull- no need for huge canines on a plant eater! :)

Anonymous said...

Yikes! That isn't a caribou skull!

And just to give credit where credit is due, this post was written by the famous Dr. H. Great post and pics.


Anonymous said...

Hey aaron, Doris here(dchc reception) I had heard when i came back that you moved up north. How are you finding it? Did you enjoy your first summer up there, with daylight all day? lol. Ya i use to live in whitehorse, so not as bad but close enough, lol. I have been to the nwt when i was younger, and i thought whitehorse was cold. i hope you and ur wife are doing well and wish you guys all the best.
doris, dchc-reception

Dr. J. said...

Hi Doris! Great to hear from you! Things up here are going well. I am really enjoying the north, it's a whole different experience for sure! Hope you are doing well, and say hi to everyone at DCHC for me!!