To Rigolet, And Beyond

After three flights, and a crashed wedding party, Oliver and I have arrived in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut. 

Well, technically we arrived Saturday, but since we spent the last 24 hours on a remote island in northern Labrador without any access to the internet, I wasn’t able to write this post. Such is life. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

The adventure began when Oliver and I left Guelph on Friday evening to catch our flight from Pearson to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Despite some traffic, Dominic (my soon to be master’s student) managed to drop us off in time to get through security, fill up on Starbucks, and board the plane without issue. The flight – Oliver’s first – left Toronto on time, had zero turbulence, and landed in St. John’s ahead of schedule. Based on my experiences, his first flight was a complete fluke. 

After landing in St. John’s just before 1am, we made our way to our hotel only to learn that the hotel bar was closed. This was obviously unfortunate news, as Oliver and I had a hankering for a tasty beverage or two. But all was not lost. Jim Power (I think that was his name) and his lovely bride (whose name I did not get) were celebrating their wedding reception in the very hotel that we were staying. Now, with this information in hand you might be wondering, would I crash a wedding reception with my impressionable young grad student on hand? The answer is yes, yes I would. 

Best. Prof. Ever.

After a couple of beers we retired to our respective rooms, only to awake no more than 2 hours later to return to the St. John’s airport to fly to Happy Valley Goose Bay, and then from there to Rigolet. With each flight our plane got smaller and more susceptible to the effects of turbulence. Amazingly, we experienced almost none. Oliver must be a good luck charm. Instead of turbulence, we were offered some incredible views of Labrador and the Atlantic ocean. Despite the blue skies and sunshine, the water looked cold and dark; darker than any ocean I’ve ever experienced. Still, the aerial view of the land and sea was somehow inviting.

We were greeted at the Rigolet airport by Dr. Victoria, and swiftly whisked from there to Sandi and Karl’s B&B – where we are scheduled to stay for the rest of the week. However, since we’re all about adventure we didn’t stay at the B&B long. After a delicious home-cooked lunch, Sandi and Karl whisked us to their cabin on a remote island in northern Labrador for a night of caribou, potatoes, pea pudding, and raucous laughter. The ride over was itself a phenomenal experience, because hurtling over the cold dark waves of the atlantic ocean in a small metal boat, sometimes feeling like I was flying through the air, and every now and then remembering that my life jacket would do nothing to stop the death-by-hypothermia that would have resulted in short time if we were to capsize or be thrown ceremoniously into the dark embrace of the Atlantic, was exactly the kind of adrenaline rush I love. 

The next morning we were stuffed full of partridge-berry pancakes, sausages, and coffee made with water that came directly from the brook running near the cabin. The air was crisp and clean, and the water was much calmer; enough to see seals playing in the waves, and to spot some minke whales on our venture back to Rigolet.

The thing that has struck me the most about this adventure so far is the fact that we’ve been here for less than 48 hours. Oliver has been on his first set of flights, including an 18 seater twin-engine. We’ve crashed a wedding, we’ve seen seals, and whales. We’ve eaten caribou, and learned to sew seal skin. And we have had fantastic views of the land and the surrounding Atlantic ocean. It’s amazing how much this place feels like home. 


P.S. – Hi Oliver’s mom. I’ve made sure that Oliver has been eating properly, has washed behind his ears, and hasn’t died. 

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    I’ve never crashed any weddings, let alone doing so with a student. You are, indeed, the best. prof. ever.

    I also like that washing behind one’s ears comes before not dying (I am assuming the list is in order of importance).

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