Our group consisted of 5 people:
Normand Tremblay, Lisette Tanguay, Bruno Lambert, Vinh Lu
Hoai and me, Nicolas Baltazar. I had done shorter treks with
Bruno and Normand before, but nothing as long and remote as
this one. Normand, who is a medical doctor and an anthropologist,
is the explorer of the group. He had already visited Akpatok
Island four times before, not to mention several other fascinating
regions in Arctic Québec and several countries on almost
all the continents.
expedition to the Torngat Mountains took place August 9-24,
2001, the departure point was Kuujjuaq, northern Québec,
group's original plan was to spend three weeks exploring Akpatok
Island, in the middle of Ungava Bay, in Arctic Québec.
The island is known for polar bears (summer retreat and denning
area), thick-billed murres, relics and artifacts of Dorset
and Inuit culture, and interesting geological features (sinkholes
and sea cliffs). We also had plans to retrace part of the
route of the 1934 Oxford University expedition, in which one
member died. However, there was heavy fog on and around the
island on our set date of departure, and because we had planned
on flying in on a Twin Otter aircraft, we had to wait for
it to clear. And we waited, and waited, but there were no
signs of clearing. Finally, Normand Tremblay suggested exploring
part of the Torngat range, and the rest of us, tired of waiting
for the weather on Akpatok, agreed.
thing was that when we returned from the Torngats, an Inuit
acquaintance told us he had gone over to Akpatok Island in
his boat, from the village of Tasiujaq, while we were away.
He spent a total of 20 minutes on the island and had to leave
because in that short time, he saw seven polar bears. Apparently,
the ice had broken up earlier than usual in the bay, leaving
more polar bears than usual stranded on the island. Who knows,
if we had been able to carry out our original plan, I wonder
if our movements would have been hampered by the presence
of so many bears?
I have visited (or lived in) Japan, the Philippines, the
U.S. (most of the northeastern states, California and the
island of Guam), Canada (four provinces), Liberia, Sierra
Leone, the Ivory Coast, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, the
Netherlands and Great Britain. Hard to identify a favourite,
although Europe has been callling me back for a while now.
I'd like to visit Scotland and return to France, Provence
to be more precise.