May 17, 2010

Derby drama...

Walking home from school today it occured to me how few times I've had to travel around in the snow or rain. Why? I'm not really sure. Could it be that everything gets dumped during school hours? At night? I just don't know. As far as I can remember it appeared, then the sun. I didn't notice the change until it had happened. Selective memory; I really believe I only notice the extremes up here.

So this is a pic of Pang from uptown. It looks so different without the snow! I don't remember what it looked like in the fall.

Anyway, this is the first foray into the events during my internet AWOL session. The Fishing Derby. Ah, what a rush. There was originally a question about whether I should go. I really wanted my parents to get the chance to ice fish, but I knew the melt was full-on. I didn't really trust 'The Beast' to keep us safe...nasty skis, fried carbides, and a mysterious scraping sound along the left side of the hood. Eeek!

I think I probably would've given up if I hadn't thought it would be the last of the snow and ice. I bought some carbides made to fit gawd knows what kind of machine and a jerry can full of gas. I got a neighbour to drill some holes into the bottoms of my skis to patch everything together. This pic shows the full thing through the screen of one of my windows...and I think this flip is where the scratches on the back end of my Cat got started.

The day of the derby started out bright and early with the packing of emergency kits and lunch bags. We had gotten our licenses the week before and were set on the legal front (as much as can be expected). The night before, my mom was on Skype with her brother in Kelowna, learning how to tie the perfect knot so by the time we were ready to go, our lures were firmly attached to my two trusty wooden spoons (more on that later).

To get onto the ice here in Pang, you have to get through a forest of ice shards about a baseball field long. This is pretty standard from what I can tell; Pangnirtung Fjord has tides which roar second only to the Bay of Fundy. Incredible. This is a picture of my mom and me on the crushed shore. This is what I needed to get my snowmobile through, over, and under. Ho. Lee. Crap!

Because of the temperature, the surface slush was incredibly deep and, at times, simply puddled water. About three minutes after our journey began we had to give 'er over a patch about 2 meters wide and a half a meter deep. I didn't think I'd be able to make it through. Without that speed. in fact, I knew I wouldn't. Three minutes in, and I was already soaked. The water smashed over the windshield and into my parents on the back the side splash more fully.

Yes, my parents. There were three adults piled on The Beast that day for a trek two hours out and two hours back. Yeeowch! Back end suspension? Check.

So we made it out without flipping. I was so impressed with myself! Balancing the weight over the ice chunks and rocks is something that took time to learn, but I was a master. I suppose it would've been kind of funny to watch. To counteract the tipping, I had to literally stand and lean 90 degrees in the other direction. Seriously!

So, after passing several abandoned snowmobiles and qamatiks wedged into the ice, we finally got to the lake and came over the crest of the hill; the panorama was amazing. Not only was the scene completely out of a postcard, but what seemed like the entire hamlet was out there! I wish my camera had a setting which could capture it all.

Now comes the wooden spoon. Jigging for fish. I never really spent too much time thinking about jigging paraphernalia. Truth be told...jigging paraphernalia in Nova Scotia means shoes and a fiddle! All you need to fish at a derby is a wooden spoon, fishing line, and a lure. Tie it all together, and this is what you awesome meal the next day.

Although I am skilled in certain endeavors - I am particularly talented in sleeping - I have learned that fishing is beyond me. Boo. Kneeling on the ice over a hole, wooden spoon in hand, and waiting. Not waiting for a stove bell to ring, but waiting for a jerk on the line. My dad mentioned fishing in Haida Gwaii which consists of boating out through the rubble of  rocks, hooking up rods, then cracking a beer. A thermos of coffee on Baffin Island is the same somehow; it's the drink that fits the environment.

Well, I wasn't a successful fisherwoman, but my license is good for another year. My dad, on the other hand, 'rocked the casbah'. Although he didn't win the derby (and the accompanying $7,000), we got to take home a great char to chow down on. Caught, cleaned, and cooked up near the Arctic Circle!

Oh yes, of course, you need a pic of the fish. Ta da!!

...and mom's infamous 'Bog Boots'...

1 comment:

chris said...

Great observations Tara ...loved reliving the journey and you handled the beast masterfully