Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Credit where due:

Much criticism has been aimed at the new freight boat for the Labrador coast this year both in verbal form and written.

The Dutch Runner [The Dutch] is deserved of most of the criticism in my opinion. She is too slow, still has problems unloading the RoRo in high tides and the crane offloading system could be better. All round she is not the correct boat for the Labrador Coast.

Much criticism was aimed at the new operators of the shipping service ‘CAI-Nunatsiavut Marine’ at the start and mid season also. Being a new service things took some time to gel for the new operators. Maybe some of the criticism was over the top, but the fact is CAI-N and the Provincial Government are themselves to blame for raising the expectations of the people in Nunatsiavut. If they were not geared up for the service they should have said so up front.

Now that the season draws to a close things on the shore based side of operations of CAI-N have improved immeasurably, at least in Nain.

Once the drop trailers and containers were brought up to numbers to handle the volumes of freight things seem to be operating in a far superior fashion to previous years.

Reasons I say this are; new or near new drop trailers, new or near new containers, more staff working with wharfinger, plus longer hours, for off loading and distribution of freight. Also the lay down yard is kept in a more organized fashion than previous.

So if the issue with the Dutch can be ironed out then things look good for next shipping season, touch wood.

For those from away hungering for some Nain char:

Torngat Fish producer’s sales rep finely returned my call. I inquired about possibility of Nain char being sold in southern markets.

Outside of St. John’s, and then only limited, no luck. They have tried to interest retailers in southern markets of Canada and US but the logistics and cost of shipping seems to prohibit.

In St. John’s the Fish Depot on the water front has fresh and smoked fillets from time to time, just have to check it out I suppose.

In TFP in Goose Bay has plenty available, just have to know someone passing through or have deep pockets to pay for the shipping.

Sorry about that, but I tried.

Finely for the day: A CBC pod cast of interview with Noah Nochasak on his kayak trip to Hebron.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene's baby sister is upon us, just rain and light winds so far.

Harking back to yesterdays post: The berry season is not looking good. I have never seen such a dearth of blackberries, usually they are the most plentiful but this year very hard to find any.

Red berries are very small and still in the white stage.

Blue are about but not in quantities of past years, and they are not quite sweet enough yet.

And on the seismic monitor; There are numbers of earthquakes all up and down the coast on a regular basis, usually out to sea. And yes, the rocks around here are very old indeed.

I think the bigger issue for the town is the land that the town is built on. How do you build on what is mainly glacial till interspersed with light silty soil with any degree of stability in the longer term?

I don't think anyone has really taken good look at that question.

The three photos give a very good cross section look at the soil conditions. These are up at the lot where the new NG Department of Health building is going up.

The height of the cut away is about 12 feet. The lightning bolt points out an underground stream, one of many that run all year round.

This type of soil is a living thing, it becomes particularly unstable when disturbed by construction and installing water and sewer lines.

After being dug up, the some what stable glacial till is usually replaced by sand like fill. There is plenty avaible and it is the most cost effective-in the short term.

Long term it is the least cost effective; water courses are changed and with freezing and thawing buildings move, some to devastating effect.

One example is the Moravian Church. The front of the building is sitting very precariously at odd angles. This was caused by the water and sewer line trenches that ran close to the building some years back.
Underground water courses were changed, the large deep trench was filled with sand making the land at the front of the church very unstable.

Some of these old practices are changing, but not at the pace they should be. And if the people responcible for all these public and private projects relaxe their vigals then old practices are easier and cheaper to go back to. It is happening as I write.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Took a ride with Matthew to do a berry reconnoiter yesterday. I had to sneak up to get this shot of Matthew, got it just before he hid face in cap, ha ha.

On the hill overlooking town [the hydro plant hill] there is this funny looking thingamajig. Turns out to be a QUILLE.
Imbigen the photo you will see it is Quebec Labrador Lithospheric Experiment.

So if we are ever engulfed by a bloody big earthquake there will be a record of its severity. More chance of a mud slide me thinks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hieracium aurantiacum

Some years back these smallish vivid red plants[devils paint brush] appeared out of nowhere, two on the vacant lot and one near the back of the house.

In the intervening years they have not re surfaced, until this year. Three of them in an area of about one square meter on the vacant lot.

I am not sure if they are prevalent in the area, they grow in amongst the fireweed, grass, small tress and such. Hard to spot for the casual observer.

Still balmy temps and breezy, keep dat wind a blowing, minimizes the bugs. .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I figure we are getting the upside of Irene as it hits the US mainland. No reports of damage yet but in all likelihood there should be some soon.

The warm balmy gusty tropical like weather ahead of Irene is sure appreciated up this way.

This morning the sv Spirit of Greenport NY is at the end of the dock. No one around, nice looking boar being a well looked after Lafitte 44.

Meanwhile we were expecting the Wanderbird to pass through on way south any day now.

Through the wonder of facebook we learn that she is still in Nuuk Greenland waiting to see what the weather fronts are going to do.

Wanderbird is presently alongside in Nuuk , Greenland. We are all safe and well. We are waiting for a weather opening between local gales and possible hurricane northern track. We are happy to be with friends here

Down dock in afternoon just as sv Spirit was leaving the dock, "hopefully 12 days to NY" says the skipper. "Good luck" says me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Noah has decided to cut his kayak adventure short. Wise move IMO as the base camp in Saglek is in the process of shutting down for the year.
It was still very heroic of Noah to take on a trip like this, there will be more to come no doubt.

Balmy oh night, still +17 this morning, pity there is no sun with it, get the garden but more important the berries moving late in season.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Well we seem to be in an anomalous warming trend, only got down to 12.5 last evening from a day high of 19, must be something pushing warm air up from the Caribbean.

By the look of the projected tracking and 5 day forecast the remnant of Irene may go right over us.
But time will tell as they say.

As I was about to say Sean, the show on the mv Umiak was quite fascinating from many points. I often watch the Mighty Ships program, many are repeats, but still some good insights into the size, mechanics and running of some of the largest and strangest ships roaming the seas.

Umiak sure has some fascinating accents on board, the captain not being the least, and he is only 31.
I was hoping to see the accommodations on board, but come to think of it other shows in the series rarely show those on commercial vessels either.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There is palpable excitement amongst a certain section of Nain society who are looking forward to tonight’s airing of Mighty Ships on the Discovery channel channel.

Mv Umiak will be tonight’s feature.

The Umiak is the ice class freighter that takes all the wealth out of Northern Labrador in the form of Nickel concentrate and distributes in to other parts of Canada and Brazil.

The show will be aired at 9 Labrador time and 8 Eastern.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fog cleared yesterday afternoon allowing planes to get in. Bit of a crush at airstrip what with musicians and all their gear on an AirLab charter, regular passengers stepping around and over luggage and freight in the small cramped airport terminal.

But there is help in the winds, all that talk that takes place between all levels of government in closed door meeting will one day mean

Noah looks like he made it to Hebron, he will have company there what with Buddy Merkuratsuk and his family still there as summer care takers.

Down the dock it had the look of "end of summer was nigh", such as the summer was.

The people carrier was back from the Torngat Park with the first load of gear and summer employers.

Also docked were two sailing vessels on their way south. The sv Andante and sv Hannah had been sailing the waters north of Nain for about a month. Taking separate courses they meet at different locations, both traveled as fare north as Nachvak Fiord.

The fish plant is in close down mod now, they have stopped taking any fish and are now cleaning up and smoking char to fill some large orders.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fogged right in all day yesterday, and this morning. But that did not dampen the enthusiasm at Katilautta at the Husky center.
Well I guess it did screw up plans for those who were supposed to leave Sunday afternoon, but it added to the audience for the finale, win some lose some.

Noah has made it around one of the open water stretches, still some to go but he seems to be doing well considering some of the seas reported up that way.
Actually it looks like he took the inside passage between the mainland and island, there is a little neck of land joining the two, he would have had to do a little portage but that would have been safer than going right around the outside cape.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some snaps of the opening ceremonies at the Husky Center of the annual music festival Katilautta [come together] held in Nain this weekend.

I missed the start; these are shots of the little drummers of Nain and the Sundogs, also of Nain. Performers from all up the coast and Goose Bay will/have performed in the Husky Center, free entry and the Atsanik Lodge [Friday Saturday nights, ticket entry only.

The show will wind up today at the Husky Center. By the by, the Sundogs has 4 members in the band, bad editing by me.

It should come as no surprise to anyone if I told you it's foggy out this morning. It's foggy out this morning.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tried pork chops [it's under there somewhere] with onion and red wine reduction [onion gravy for us folks] served with mash, yam and greens from the greenhouse.

The gravy was quite red looking and had a distinct flavor. I did not mention the wine in gravy, and no one commented on it, but folks went back for seconds.

Fogged in again this morning, could put a damper on flights to the Torngats again.
This one could go down as the summer of fog. We had such a promising start to it too, I was expecting good things from my little vegetable garden, as well the small collection of flowers have been painfully slow to bloom this year.

Noah has progresses further north. Soon be out in the open sea again and heading for Hebron. Hope the seas are not too rough.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baguette gets around.

Recently a dozen of my baguettes [multi grain version] made it up to Ramah Bay in the Torngat mountains.

Happily [or not depending on point of view] for all concerned baguettes were consumed in short order and party leader was forced to ration them.

Baguettes were a nice accompaniment to red wine and fresh caught arctic char. Sure beats freeze dried anything and powdered scrambled eggs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More things to do with smoked char. I knocked up some quick bagels, some cream cheese and green oinions, bobs ya uncle.

Bagels were made from ordinary multi grain bread dough. For that true Montreal bagel taste it would be better to make them spacific.

I also cleaned up my desk top, these pictures of Carter finely came off, but are stored in safe place.

Noah is up in Okak Bay now, not sure how far he intends to go but that area has fond memories for me sure. So bueatifull and almost untouched [to date].

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Three Inuit beauties and buddy whats her name.

As luck had it on Monday two of Frans sisters [who live in Hopedale] arrived in Nain on different airplanes.
Further luck was that we were at the strip. Both sisters were only passing through.

Fran got right excited and asked some friends to take a photo of the three.
Of course with politicians being in the vicinity and cameras around things got out of hand.

All in all good fun for the girls.

Photo at left by Jonathan Hopewell of MA USA

Had smoked char from the local plant last evening.

Heated it a bit wrapped in foil in the oven. Served with three root vegetable mash, two greens and hollandaise sauce.

Photo in honor of three recent visitors who experienced for the first time char both fresh and smoked, home cooked and over an open fire in the grandeur of Ramah Bay.

Dian, Harold and Jonathan.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Noah seems to be motoring along [not literally] just fine. He will be in somewhat protected waters for awhile now until he reaches the north end of Cod Island.

Weather still very unsettled, started out nice yesterday with temperatures warming up. Soon after noon it cooled and clouds and rain moved in; must be realy hard scheduling planes for sure.

In the morning we were down the airstrip seeing some people off. A charter arrived while we were there [heading for the Torngat Park no less] and disgorged it’s passengers while re fueling.

So people were standing around chit chatting and the like when a reasonably well known citizen of Nunatsiavut came up to me and said, “Hi Brian, come and I will introduce you to the Premier”.

“No thanks” [or words to that effect] was my replay. Said citizen looked a little taken back but pressed on trying to convince me to go meet the premier.

Any way we had a good chat on other issues the best we could what with the buzz of the chit chat and the engines of twin otters coming and going.

It is nothing personal. On the one hand I appreciate that said citizen would think of me in that light, I may have appeared rude, but I have always had a thing about meeting people high up the political ladder. It makes me uncomfortable and with age I have decided that if I do not what to meet these people then I will not. I have no agenda to move ahead using contacts in the private or public domain, and that sure is what it seems like to me with all this glad handing.

With a couple of plane loads of people standing outside the very small and decrepit airport terminal I wonder if any of the peeps bothered to discuss a new airstrip, or at least a larger terminal for Nain, with the Premier. Or perhaps that was not the time nor place?

On reflection maybe I should have taken up the intro?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blinded by the light as I pulled back the drapes this morning. It has been some time seeing the sun like this, can do with more OK up there.

Noah has progressed further north on his kayak adventure. He looks to be at the north east end of Snyder Bay. In the recent past this bay has been the source of some of the soapstone that the carvers/artists use for carvings.

Weekend weather played havoc with flights to and from the Torngat park. Saturday only two of seven scheduled flights got to Saglek. One flight with jounalists get within several hundred vertical feet of Nain, circled but had to return to Goose Bay.

Sunday saw an increased in flights, while the weather cleared here it was very iffy for awhile further north. The journalist express made it this time.
The premier is scheduled to go up there today or tomorrow.

The liberal party of N@L has a new leader this morning. Kevin Aylward is a past MHA and cabinet minister in the former Liberal regime.
Being non partisan I have no real strong opinions on his selection. Just wish him the best sorting out the party problems. We sure need a change in politics in this province. Funny I said said that when the Liberals were in power last time and we ended up with Danny boy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A big ray of sunshine to brighten the day. Carter under the coffee table, his favorite play haunt at the moment.
Photo by Aimee.

We hit the hills fog or no fog checking out the berries yesterday. Too early for blue and red but wanted to see how things are progressing. Not very good would be best guess.

Apiks [bakeapples] are coming along, many have been picked already, way too soon for Frans liking.

The mv Abigale Grace was in port for short time. She is loaded with Turbot taken from the north Labrador sea for processing on the Island of Newfoundland.

No need to mention that we have fog and drizzle again. Very calm too, this will put the cat amongst the pigeons with logistics getting to and from the Torngat park.

Not good for our intake of vitamins and minerals either as the fresh vegetable shelves are all but empty.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yep, seems to be a pattern setting in. Fog in morning, it may or may not clear about noon. If it does clear planes come in [not freight] before the fog and cloud make it unsafe after supper time.

Not looking too good in the forecast either.

Hope the folks up in Torngat area are fairing better, be a bummer for those who have paid and can’t get to see the grandeur of the place.

Noah Nochasak is on another adventure, this time heading up towards the Torngats in a new hand made kayak.

As of yesterday he was here. He is in open water now for a bit, wish him light winds and calm seas.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Yesterday the fog started to lift around mid day, planes started coming in at regular intervals well into the evening.

Today it is still down going on for 11:30. Light drizzle accompanies the fog.

The photograph about sums up the scene in and the attitude in the whole town. Sleepy mauzy quite, except for construction machines and trucks.

On the shipping front: The mv Astron is slow getting here, latest ETA is 3 pm today.

"The Dutch" has left Lewisport on way north.

On the fish plant front: Good news is that the catches of char have picked up over last week or so, the char fishery closes this saturday. There are enough orders for smoked char to keep things going for a bit.

The bad news is that there will be no scallop fishery again this year. Not only is this bad for plant workers but also for the local and regional scallop lovers. I don't see me paying something like 45 bucks a kilo for scallops brought in from outside, though many do.

Weather and other updates: The fog became thicker and lower as the day progressed. No transport getting in including the Astron that had an ETA of 3 that is now 8.

Monday, August 08, 2011

I laugh in your face and dance on your thickness oh fog.

Fogged in this morning, yesterday morning too but it then cleared to a muggy balmy day with temps up to 21.

On the whole the days that are flying days up to the Torngat Park have been weather cooperative.

People, supplies, general freight and refuse brought out on Saturdays sees anything from 7 to 11 flights at the Nain strip. Two planes do a shuttle from GB to Nain and Nain to Saglek.

There are some flights during the week too, need dependent.

From observations there are a goodly number of people going into the base camp at the park. Smaller numbers are going into the park and not staying at the base camp.

There are also several groups of tourists that are going north but are not going into the park at all.

Of the large number who are going into the base camp I wonder how many are non revenue?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Barmyer that previous night, 18 official this morning.

We had a brief tropical like rain down poor yesterday afternoon with some thunder and lighting off in the distance.

It is reminding me of days of yor down under, now all I need is some decent Ozzie beer.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Balmy oh night, still +13 this morning.

Clouding over with forecast of showers for a few days, but at these temps who can complain. Well some who are expecting to fly I suppose, but with luck all will be well.

Had a spot of sea food last evening. Some local smoked char with flat breads and home made whipped cream cheese with chives and chopped dry tomato

This was followed by cods tongues, cod cheeks and scallops with a nice simple salad. A good sign was-no leftovers.

Unfortunately theses were not local products, cod fished out decades ago and the scallops are a plenty out in the bays but no one to drag for them at moment.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Nice sunrise this morning as we speak 6 1/2 hours ago.

Then some shallow fog rolled in as we speak 5 1/2 hours ago but dissipated as we speak right after.

Very busy at the hacienda as we speak, literally as we speak.

You may have noticed a new catch phrase i have inadvertently picked up. 'As we speak' explains almost everything away for Tom [as we speak] Hedderson the minister for transport.

As we speak Hedderson was on CBC Labrador Morning doing his best to explain away the transportation debacle on the coast of Labrador. As mentioned previous as we speak Hedderson has curtailed the over use of 'due diligence' for' as we speak'. No audio up at time of publishing.
Updated as we speak:
After all he could hardly claim that the government paid due diligence considering the way things have turned out could he.

As we speak Hedderson and members of the two Aboriginal groups have been holding extensive talks on ways to deal with the shipping debacle. Oh how I would like to be a fly on the wall at some of these secrete 'extensive talks' that produce nothing but backward progress as we speak.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

We have fog and light rain this morning. Yesterday cleared off to cloudy and on the cool side.

I am going to harp on the transport issue again, there are many aspects to the shipping debacle that are not addressed in the media or are even realized by many of the populace.

Take the fact that frozen goods not being accepted by CIA-Nunatsiavut at the marine terminal in Lewisport unless the people at the terminal have a definite arrival time for the Dutch Runner.

Now there is freezer storage at the terminal but it has not been turned on because CAI would have to hire someone to monitor the freezers.

This puts the wholesalers out who have a delivery run and schedule, if this does not fit in with when CAI will accept freezer freight then too bad it seems.

To do a special run just for the retailers on the north coast would add to freight costs. To not do the special run retailers and subsequently consumers miss out on urgently needed fresh meats and such.

With the newly ordered supplies not getting to the coast in a timely manner we now have the added cost of flying much needed goods into the communities.

One store is flying in freight at the same volumes that they flew in during the winter, and this is August fer Christ sakes.

Normally the majority of this freight would be shipped via marine service.

Now the mv Astron has been contracted to fill a much needed gape. The Dutch is calling into Hopedale and Makkovik on its way back to Lewisport. Does the term ‘eat crow’ resonate with anyone.

Is anyone heartened by the fact that the “Department of Transportation and Works officials will monitor the freight service to ensure all subsequent freight is delivered in a timely manner”. No? Me neither.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Fog this morning, took it’s time lifting. Lifted in time for “the Dutch” to crawl out of what was left. Took her 54 hours to come from Lewisport, seems kind of slow in these sea conditions.

It is a day short of four weeks since the previous departure out of Lewisport, and what does she have on board for the community stores? SFA is what.

Lots of construction material as I predicted some trucks, an old trap boat, some freezer reefers. But the local store operators are saying there is nothing on there for them.

One would have to go back many many decades to see a worse freight service to the coast. Now the word is that the mv Astron is being brought back to the service to play catch up with the freight that has been left behind and freight that is expected in the near future.

So how did the temporary fixes go in lowering the stern of the Dutch Runner one may ask. Not very good would be the answer.

Arrived Nain 10:30 am, started unloading from ro-ro end at 2 pm once the tide was low enough.

Fog this morning, took it’s time lifting. Lifted in time for “the Dutch” to crawl out of what was left. Took here 54 hours to come from Lewisport, seems kind of slow in these sea conditions.

It is a day short of four weeks since the previous departure out of Lewisport, and what does she have on board for the community stores? SFA is what.

Lots of construction material as I predicted some trucks, an old trap boat, some freezer reefers. But the local store operators are saying there is nothing on there for them.

One would have to go back many many decades to see a worse freight service to the coast. Now the word is that the mv Astron is being brought back to the service to play catch up with the freight that has been left behind and freight that is expected in the near future.

Monday, August 01, 2011

That was a pleasant weekend on the weather front. Temps up to or near 20, Saturday was a little cloudy and odd showers and Sunday was bordering on spectacular with the sun and sparkling water, at least from on high. And the breeze minimized the flies somewhat.

I did some weeding and planting in the small garden, then a little sorting out of an electrified fence. It works and Siutik did not even get to try it out, we used testing meters.

It looks like [on paper anyway] that 'the Dutch' is on the way direct from Lewisport to Nain. This is something that folks have been asking for for some time. I don't think it should come direct every trip, maybe every second one. But with 'the Dutch'[ being so slow and off loading eaqualy slow it is hard to get a handle on the best and efficient configuration would be.

Before I/we get too exited about this direct trip lets see what she has on board. There is a lot of construction planed for Nain this year, so it could all be construction related on board and not much needed supplies for the stores.