Friday, May 4, 2012

When The..... TIDE GOES OUT UNDER THE ICE.......

.....A thought I have never had.
What happens when the tide goes out in Artic Canada??
Very Interesting what The Inuit People have done for decades.
You won't regret watching the video and you might even be in AWE.....
.....when the tide goes out under this ICE.
The Inuit of Artic Canada ( Kangiqsujuaq, near the Hudson Straight)  take huge risks to gather mussels in winter.  This settlement and a neighbouring community on Wakeham Bay are thought to be the only places where people harvest mussels from under the thick blanket of ice that coats the Arctic sea throughout the winter.
This can only be done during extreme low tides, when sea ice drops by up to 12m (about 40 feet), opening fissures through which the exposed seabed - and its edible riches - can be glimpsed. The best time to go is when the moon is either full or brand new, as this is when the tide stays out the longest. They lower themselves into these temporary caverns to gather as many fat and juicy mussels as they can before the tide rushes back in.  During these extreme low tides, they have less than an hour before the water returns.

It is a risky operation. The ice above is no longer supported by water, and it shifts and groans ominously during the harvest. A look-out keeps watch for the returning tide, but the warning shouts cannot be too loud in case the echoes bring down the ice. Then it’s a scramble to get out before the shifting ice closes the escape hole and seawater refills the caverns. They face drowning or the ice merely collapses. However dangerous it looks to us, the Inuit nonchalantly descend into the underworld; where even they -  were never meant to tread.


Red said...

Well, do I have a story for you! I lived in Wakeham Bay from 1967 - 1969. And yes I did go under the ice like it shows in your pictures.
Now the interesting thing is that the tide at it's greatest is about 45 feet. There are huge house sized rocks so when the tide goes out the ice is lodged up against the rocks and makes sort of tunnels that you can walk through. Sometimes you have to crouch and sometimes there's lots of head room. So you walk about two or three hundred meters under the ice with your pail and pick up mussels They're the little black ones so they'r pretty tough.
Being at Wakeham Bay was one of the highlights of my life. Unforgettable experience.
The pictures from your post were taken about five years after I left.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I'm back! At least for the time being! are you? :) I'm struggling but I MUST have a back up for my computer. This experience was unnerving!
I'm not certain, but I think I recall seeing something like this or about this on Frozen Planet. I hated for that series to end. It was wonderful. But it told of people going under the ice and it really made me nervous. Not something I would be good at. Not at all.
This was such an interesting post.

Anonymous said...

This is really scary and very interesting. I would never do it. Great information and video. Loved it. Kent

kt said...

I watched the film and found myself chilling.
That was an amazing thing to watch... and they look so casual while doing it. Thanks for sharing!

And, by the way, I like your new heading (or whatever it is called). kt

Red Nomad OZ said...

AAARRRGGHHH!!! Makes me realise what a coward I really am!!

Trish said...

This ia a pretty amazing story, actually, about the Inuits and the mussels. And beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

this is even too frightening to think about and I wouldn't even go into a regular cave. ICE - OMG, what were they thinking? Really brave.
Very interesting post and never heard of something like this. Cheryl

Gail said...

This is absolutely amazing and so beautiful...and dangerous.