23 Aug OPEN WATER
The winds howled through the night, as attested to by the constant flapping of the tent’s nylon.
Sleep came and went with the gusts, and by morning I awoke rather groggy. The wind had indeed blown from the right direction, but the ice pack still covered a great part of the bay. One can’t force nature, especially up here, so a pot of coffee was put on and, along with guides Jayko and Sam, we poured over the maps. This was time well spent, as it gave me a chance to get to know the fellows a bit. Seeing as my life would be in their hands over the next week, I figured this might not be a bad thing.
A couple hours passed, and with eyes seasoned by a lifetime of experience, Sam determined it was a go. There was enough space between the ice chunks that we should be able to pick our way through and out of the bay.
Clearing the pack ice, we rounded the far point of the bay as the community of Clyde River slipped out of sight, and hit open water. Immediately, I was greeted with impressive rocks walls lining the shoreline. As the freighter canoe danced along the whitecaps, we passed stunning icebergs, but not without first slowing down so I could get some footage. It was on one of those occasions that I learned, the most hard way, that salt water and electronics do not mix. Not at all. As I leaned over the side of the boat for a nice low angle shot, a small harmless looking wave splashed against the wooden hull… and right back into the side of my video camera. I looked at the lens, and what do you know… not a drop. I wiped the camera’s side and carried on. Moments later, when it began to zoom out all by itself, I knew I wasn’t quite so lucky. In minutes, it went from bad to worse, as the camera’s functions grew useless.
Arriving at Tommy’s Cabin, I tore it apart, and let it slow roast for hours over a little heater. All to no avail.
Tomorrow I enter into one of the most dramatic corners of the Canadian Arctic, and my video camera is finished.
All is not lost though. Marten has left me his small camcorder and underwater housing in case I want to shoot some underwater footage. And one battery. One 5 hour battery, and no charger, for a week in wonderland.
I won’t be sleeping too well tonight. I guess I’ll just have to console myself with the idea that I am here first and foremost as a painter. And I’ll have to shoot like they did in the early days of film, when they had 4 minute reels they lugged around. It means I’ll have to make every single shot count, before the battery dies.