Escape to the land of coral

Haha, as I wrote the title for this blog post, I was thinking "hmmm... wonder if Mr. Meandering Michael thinks I'm swiping his Queensland idea" ... but I'm not. I'm talking about a veeeryyy different type of coral.

I'm speaking of Coral Harbour, of course!

For those who aren't really all that familiar with Coral Harbour, it's located on Southampton Island, which juts out into the middle of Hudson Bay. I think it's probably the farthest "into" Hudson's Bay I'll ever get... being as most of the other little islands are uninhabited... or Sanikiluaq.

And being as it took me about a year and a half to get to Coral... and very little news-worthy takes place in Sani.... I think it's safe to say that I'll never be further out again.

So yes, I'm here for work. We happen to have a crazy shortage of reporters in Iqaluit right now (training, babies popping out, deaths in the family... broken legs... um... other natural disasters) and so we are in desperate need of stories... and the best place to send this reporter for tons of stories with quick turn-arounds is a meeting. And lo and behold, the Kivalliq Mayor's meeting is being held this week in Coral Harbour.

Yah, I know. Everyone hates meetings. But I heart them. They may be a bit tedious... but arm me with a mug full o' coffee... and a backup can of sugarfree Redbull (yes, disgusting, but necessary when you are still writing stories after 12 hours of work...) and I'm good to go. It's one-stop-shopping at its finest.

So I've been boarding with this sweet older couple in town. He's a justice of the peace, and she's cute as a button. They make me breakkie in the morning (eggs, toast, bacon/sausage... you sure you don't want cereal too??) and dinner at night... which is why I've been eating so much caribou meat! But that's okay with me, I actually really like caribou (as long as it's cooked). And it's also how I ended up eating igunak.

So for those of you who don't know, igunak is "raw walrus meat which has been wrapped and buried and left to decompose for at least a year." Sounds tasty eh? Well, as the story goes I actually didn't KNOW it was igunak until AFTER I tried it, they told me it was just regular muktah.

(And I don't actually really care for muktah, but I have a rule where if I'm offered something, especially as a guest, I try it.)

But then when the daughter was asking her mom if she wanted some, she called it igunak. And the man who offered it to me said it was probably a little "strong" for me haha. And then asked if I knew how they made it strong and I was right by answering that they wrapped and "aged it" or something along those lines.

So while I never really had any interest in trying igunak... I did, unintentionally, last night... and I will probably not partake again. I tried it. Then covertly hid what was left in the pouch of my hoodie, and disposed of it in the washroom. I don't think I fooled anyone though, haha.

But I have to say, I quite like it here. I don't know if I'd really want to live here... maybe a tad small (less than a thousand people here)... but the people are just so sweet... driving me to the hamlet office (even though it's only a five minute walk away...) loaning me a router (my Qiniq one of course managed to die as soon as I left Rankin. And that was the ONLY way I was going to be able to file items for news....man was I panic-ing about that one). Just really nice people being kind to a newcomer in town.

Much better that the "Coral Horror" stories I'd heard before I left.

Oh, and Jason from Igloolik... if you'd like to send me your mailing address, I'll send your prize... how did you know I was in Coral!??


Matt, Kara and Hunter February 11, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

ummmm so do I get some sort of second prize or something??

Mongoose February 12, 2009 at 3:10 PM  

Oh good. You're not anywhere I'm jealous of you for going. :)

Anonymous February 16, 2009 at 7:40 PM  

Here was my thinking

1. Calm air only flys to a few places in Nunavut (unless you charter)

2. Only 2 of them (that I know of) have enough walrus to make any igunaq - Coral and Repulse. Coral is a 50/50 guess.

No prize, buy a kid a 5 Alive or something next time you're in line at the Northern.

Jason in Igloolik

Meandering Michael February 23, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

I TOTALLY want to go to Coral Harbour now!

Mark Myers June 4, 2009 at 5:38 PM  

Wow - you're much more daring than I. I know this comment is like 4 months late, but I just discovered this post. I've linked to your story from my blog, the World Wide Walrus Web, at http://www.worldwidewalrusweb.com. Thanks!