Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sea Lift...

Sealift started this week - this is the annual summer arrival of ships with cargo which people have ordered in - a lot cheaper than the fall/winter/spring airfreight method. The discerning Iqaluit shopper will order a years supply of staple goods (flour, sugar, canned goods, toothpaste, etc.) from southern stores like Costco and ship them up at this time. It is also the time when big-ticket items, like SUVs, ATVs and snowmobiles are shipped in.

When I first heard of this practice, I had the naive idea of a bunch of cargo vessels arriving at once with the townspeople huddling together on the shore eagerly awaiting their goods (followed, no doubt, by a huge celebration - almost like harvest time).

The reality is not quite like that... for one thing, I didn't take the tides into consideration. The tides vary from day to day and it takes time for the cargo shuttles to reach shore from the ship.

A ship at anchor outside of the bay in front of the city:
Everything has to be timed with the tides - so what they do when they don't have enough time to shuttle the barges all the way in is anchor them at a buoy in the bay until the tide comes back in...
Once on shore, Loaders come and remove the contents...
Most of the goods are shipped in large steel containers. This is the stack of them at the landing:
This is a shot of some of the larger ships ashore at the landing:

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