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Ice-Out Update: March 20, 1998

Introducing This Week's Official Ice-Out Observation Post: Leo Ussak Elementary School on Hudson Bay

Click to see full map

Our 4th official observation post is located in Rankin Inlet on the west coast of Hudson Bay. To find this cool spot on the map, look 1000 km due north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. (62.82 N, 92.08 W). We wondered if they've seen any signs of spring there yet.

"Not yet!," said Bill Belsey coordinator of the school's computer program, "It's -24 degrees C with blizzard conditions today!'

Brrrrr? when do you suppose the ice goes out on Hudson Bay?

"The ice typically leaves the Rankin Inlet in early ______ and comes back in any time from late October to mid-November," said Belsey.

Challenge Question #5
"How would you complete Mr. Belsey's sentence?"

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions at the end of this report.)

"We call ourselves Canada's 'Coolest' school for fun! We are the first school in Canada's Arctic to be on the Internet and the first to have a Web site," says 13 year old Nina Schweder. "Our Web site has won many, many awards. It has even been visited by Canadian Prime Minster Jean Chretien and on another occassion by Madame Aline Chretien and U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton! Come and check us out at

I live in Rankin Inlet. Rankin is a small town of about 2,300 people and there is a lot of snow here. When we want to see the whole town, we can go up on a hill and see the Inukshuk. It looks like a human, but it is made out of rocks. In our school there are pictures of elders on the walls. Elders are very important to us. The Leo Ussak School is named after an elder from our community.

The weather in Rankin Inlet is usually very cold in winter. Sometimes we get storm days and we get snow piled up near our school, our houses and on the road. Everyone lives in modern houses now, but the elders teach us how to make igloos. We can sleep in them in the winter when we are out

We have winter from November to May. We only have five stores in Rankin Inlet. We mostly ang out at the Red Top. There are games like pool and foosball there. We have a new kids' drop-in centre. We can do anything there. There's a hockey pool. We can play table tennis. The most popular place for many young people to go to is the Igalaaq Community Access Centre. Igalaaq means window in
Inuktitut. It is found in the Computer room of Leo Ussak Elementary school. People can come here after school or in the evenings and weekends and play games, write up their homework, send e-mail, chat online do a CU SeeMe video conference or surf the Web. From November 2nd, 1996 until
November 2nd, 1997 Igalaaq had over 3,000 visits! Over 25% of Rankin Inlet's population got their first e-mail accounts there. This is in a town of just over 2,000 people where many elders were born on the land in
skin tents and igloos!

We have sports. Soccer and hockey are the most popular sports. In winter we play sports inside, but we go skating outisde on Williamson Lake when the ice is strong enough in the fall. Williamson Lake is found beside our school, right in the middle of our community. We have square dances at our community hall. We have them from nine until one thirty or two in the morning. We have different tournaments in the high school gym and at the arena. We play indoor soccer, hockey, basketball, volleyball and Inuit games. We have a pool that is open from June until September. Almost everyone in town goes swimming there.

Our land is partly flat and rocky. Many people have home made parkas, windpants, hats, mitts, and kamiks. They are almost like boots which are sometimes made of sealskin and sometimes made of caribou skin. Caribou is the warmest kind of clothing that you can wear. Students from our school
can go hunting and fishing with Jack Kabvitok, our land skills teacher.

We used to be called Eskimos, but now we are called Inuit, which means "people" in our language, Inuktitut. People say that Rankin Inlet is going to get bigger in the future, but I think Rankin should stay the way it is because when it gets bigger, some kids might get lost. It is more fun when Rankin is small. I like living in Rankin Inlet. I've been here
since I was born."

Click to see full ice-out map
News from Official Ice-out Observation Post
Tikigaq School on the Chukchi Sea

To: Journey North
From: Sheila Gaquin

There is still ice covering the Chukchi Sea, but things are different this spring.

Ordinarily we have two kinds of sea ice, landfast ice, and floe ice. The landfast ice begins at the beach and extends out a couple of miles or so. It rests on the ocean floor. Further out, where the water is deeper, the floe ice sits on the surface of the ocean. In the spring leads open between the landfast ice and the floe ice.

It is in these leads that the bowhead whales migrate through to the high Arctic, and the Inupiat Eskimo follow in pursuit as they have for centuries. This year, there is very little land fast ice. The floe ice is nearly to the beach. We do not know why this is.
  • Perhaps El Nino?
  • How will this effect whaling?
  • Will the ducks come early this year?
  • What about the walrus?

This is an unusual spring, and we have many questions as we continue to wait and watch for open water.

Sheila Gaquin
Tikigaq School(say Tick'-key-yock)
Point Hope, AK
Tikigaq WWW Site

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question

1. Address an e-mail message to:

2. In the Subject Line of your message write:
Challenge Question # 5

3. In the body of your message, answer this question above.

Challenge Question #5
"What word do you think accurately completes this sentence? 'The ice typically leaves the Rankin Inlet in early ______ and comes back in any time from late October to mid-November.'?"

The Next Ice-Out Update will Be Posted on April 3, 1998.

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