Life on Dog Island

For two weeks we waited for the ice to clear. There was simply too much of it for the tide to shift. The bottle-neck of grounded ice at the head of our bay was eventually released and about twenty small bergs drifted inside. They created a refrigerated micro-climate. On some days we were glad of their presence because the temperature rose to beyond twenty or so degrees.

The black fly and mosquitoes were bad on a few occasions, but my memory of these events are vague. I think the wind far out into the Davis Strait is constant and therefore there are few days on which winged insects can emerge in any great numbers.

We had been told that polar bears never visited this far south in the summer, except when sea ice drifted in-shore. We had a gun and ammunition, but it’s illegal to kill polar bears, and neither of us knew how to shoot properly. But despite camps further up the coast being attacked, we were mercifully free of polar bears during our entire time.

Arctic foxes were a different matter. They would come into the camp at night and attempt to steal food. We’d been told that many of them had rabies and should not be approached. My companion was particularly nervous when he heard them snuffling around our tent at night. He would disappear out into the dark with the rifle, “locked and loaded”. He may not have scared the foxes much but he sure as hell scared me.