Back to the CAE historic site at Mary Sachs Creek today for our third day of research. We travel out and back by boat which is the best way to travel here. We have seen an Arctic fox patrolling the shoreline, and a Tundra Swan flying over as we travel. The shores are sandy or light gravel so John Lucas, our driver, just runs agound where we want to be. He picks us up again at the end of the day. John will be going with us on the boat trip up the west coast.
Today our main chore was to get GPS locations for each of the sites and for the major artifacts. For that we used the great little inReach device. We also completed a few measurements so that we can tie everything together for the Map. Highlights were making rubbings of the raised letters on some glass bottle fragments and a cast iron “Success” stove, finding a wooden box probably from the CAE partially buried in the creek bed, and filming insects slowly walking on the ice floe. There were several large weevils (beetles) which I suspect are new species for Banks Island. We also walked up the lake formed by the ocean damming Mary Sachs Creek with a sand bar at the mouth. Saw relatively fresh polar bear, arctic wolf and arctic fox tracks all together on the sand, plus sand hill crane and snow goose tracks.
The down side of the day was that the mosquitoes were actually worse still! There was little or no wind, it was hot (well 12 +) with layers of anti-mosquito clothes. You just can’t believe how “buggy” they are until you experience them. Several times today we retreated to the shoreline, hoping to find a little breeze, or some respite on the grounded ice floes, but there wasn’t much. Picture Mitzi and me snuggling up to opposite sides of an ice floe, me sticking my head into an icy hole and still not able to get away from the bugs! Kyle, our wildlife monitor, has no control over bugs! Imagine. He just lies out flat on the beach gravel with his hoodie over his face! It was so refreshing to be in the boat on the way home, with a cool breeze and no bug jacket over our heads. Another great day in the Arctic.