Sunday, October 09, 2005

Heavy lifting

I've mentioned sea lifts what does it mean?

Well, most of the boats that arrive here carrying stuff come from Montreal or, more specifically, Valleyfield. You might get them from other places, but that's where the majority seem to arrive from. You can order groceries through Montreal and have them shipped up. Or, if you're like us, you can also have personal belongings sent to Montreal and have them sent up via boat.

We did both. And they arrived in three ships. The first boat arrived in late August. The other two boats - one carrying our groceries, the other carrying the car and our personal belongings - arrived about 10 days ago. So what do one of these boats look like?

There they are, waaaayyy off in the distance. They can't get much closer that than because Iqaluit has no real port. There is a wharf for small fishing boats, but nothing for the larger vessels. The difference between high tide and low tide in the harbour is about 10 metres. That means the boats can't get any closer.

There's talk about building a deep water port for the area, but it's several years off. So until then, the only way to get cargo from the boats to the community is by using barges to carry it from the boats to the beach. LIke so...

They only have a few hours a day to do this. This is pretty close to high tide. At low tide, the beach looks more like this...

So once the barges are unloaded, the stuff is piled up on the beach until it can either be delivered or picked up. We've had a couple of boxes delivered before, but with the incident Saturday morning, we got the crates on the beach and transported it back to the apartment. By the way, I'll just note that these are about a quarter of the size of the boxes that carried our personal belongings. So they would have been relatively easy to take apart, unlike the one I had to disassemble on Thursday.

Of course, not everyone picks up there stuff and transports it by truck or tractor. Some of the boxes are carted off to mining camps inland. Only one way to do that...

And that's pretty much us for us now. We have everything that we shipped up. Most of it is put away or assembled. I'll take some photos of that tomorrow and perhaps but them up on the blog. We're about as set-up as we're going to get. Which means, of course, we're going to start ordering the stuff we didn't think of. Like another lamp for the living room. And a good air purifier to try and curb some of the cigarette smoke. The plants, small purifier and lit candles aren't making much of a dent.


Dups said...

Did I just spot a box of Grand Marnier in that load Craig? Now I know you guys are living in style. Warm me up a glass will ya?

towniebastard said...

Alas, you must not have read the previous post. The grocery company, for whatever reason, put cans of tomatoes in that box. The kids that cracked the crate open looking for booze must have thought they hit the mother lode.

We brought most of our booze up with us in the airplane - two bottles of whiskey (17-year-old Jamieson's, 18-year-old Johnny Walker Gold), two bottles of vodka and three bottles of rum. Oh, we did have a couple of wine kits sent up, though.

So we're ready when you come up to visit. I figure that'll hold you for a couple of days.

Liam O'Brien said...

What an amazing process they have to go throuigh with goods shipped by boat!

Logisitcs in the north is never straightforward is it?

Would a deep water port be at a slightly-removed location or involve more dredging nearby?

towniebastard said...

Nothing is ever easy up here. It's getting a lot easier, but still, there are challenges. And keep in mind, Iqaluit is by far the most "modern" of the communities in this part of the arctic.

I think it would take place nearby and not involve dredging the main bay. For example, I'm pretty sure that oil is not brought ashore by barge. So there must be an area nearby where oil is off-loaded in some way. I believe that area would likely be more developed. They're saying it's possible by 2009 but, well, I wouldn't hold my breath.