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Baffin Island Survey

Nature volume 135, page 261 (16 February 1935) | Download Citation



THE annual report of the Canadian Department of Marine for the fiscal year 1933–34 contains some interesting information respecting the operations of the Canadian Hydrographic Service during the period under review. Among other technical observations, the Service carried out a survey of the Baffin Island coast, of which the following extract is a partial description. “In aspect, the south-eastern coast of Baffin Island is very bleak, bare rugged hills of gneiss and granite rising to elevations about 600 feet close to the sea and to greater heights inland. The ragged shore is broken by numerous fiord-like inlets, but from Pritzler Harbour to Barrier Inlet, 45 miles north-northwestward, the shore is fronted by many islets, rocks and shoals of a most dangerous character. The 50-fathoms contour, which lies at an average distance of 3 miles off the islands, should be considered the danger line. The country is quite uninhabited except for some Eskimos who travel gregariously along the coast in whaleboats (omiaks). These natives appear to be of a very good type—healthy, honest and well adapted to the rigours of the country. Their habitat is both the north and south coasts of the long peninsula which separates Frobisher bay from Hudson strait. The small, swift rivers which flow into the heads of the inlets are well stocked with a fine species of salmon trout weighing up to 8 Ibs.; this food, together with seal, constitutes their chief diet. At certain times a caribou hunt takes place and the hunters travel inland for several days to secure fresh meat. In addition, the country also provides aquatic fowl, ptarmigan, arctic hare and an occasional walrus or polar bear.”

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