My last blog was about the “moving siku” and the ice within Pangnirtung Fjord. The ice is now breaking up and it is quite the impressive process. The first part of the ice to break up in the fjord has been the tidal ice in the area along shore. My last blog showed large ice blocks strewn throughout the tidal zone which are very beautiful. The tides form these ice sculptures in the fall and winter and the tides also break them apart in the spring. It happened gradually at first but all at once it seemed all the ice blocks broke loose from the moving of the tides. Small pools of water built within the tidal ice and then one day as the tide came in the harbour all the ice broke apart and was floating around. Once the chunks are broken apart they then drift about with the tides and wind. I could not believe how big some these chunks of ice were and it was pretty impressive to see these huge blocks of ice moving so much. When the tides would go out huge chucks of ice would be strewn everywhere throughout the tidal zone. When the tide would come back in all of the ice blocks would shift about with the currents and winds. The ice was moving around so much it almost seemed as if it were alive.
When the tidal ice first broke the ice in the middle of the fjord was still solid and people would hop from floating ice block to floating ice block to get out to the flat ice to go seal hunting. I attempted to get out to the flat sea ice with a friend to get to his snowmobile which was parked out there. Needless to say it was a short trip as I got 30 feet from shore and dunked most of my leg haha. The ease with which he skipped from ice block to ice block was really quite impressive and I decided to watch him go the rest of the way out to the deeper water rather than risk taking a chilly dip in the ocean surrounded by huge ice blocks haha.
The combination of ice and open water makes fog a very common occurrence this time year in Pang. It could be a beautiful clear day and fog can roll in quite quickly and last for hours and even days. It has been quite foggy in the past weeks and it has made flying in and out Pang quite hard. I have talked to many people recently who have either been delayed getting in or flying out for up to a week at a time. Seeing the planes come in and out is pretty cool as the airport is right in town and I am going to try and get some more pictures of planes landing and taking off over the summer.
Another big factor in the break-up of the ice are the winds. Pangnirtung is known for high winds and apparently they often occur in the spring time. Surprisingly the winds come from within the fjord and come off of the mountains. From what I have been told the fjord acts like a funnel and as the winds decent from the mountains they pick up speed. The combination of the winds and tides can quickly change the sea ice in a matter of hours and it is very impressive to see. The ice is still changing every day and it will be interesting to see how to shifts and moves until it is all gone in midsummer.