Wednesday, 21 July 2010

20 000 visits - Thank you!


Slowly and few, like life in the arctic, the visits to Ultima Thule reached the twenty thousand. I am rather happy, in fact, this is not for everybody's taste. I´ll keep on travelling and discovering, and I thank all those who came ashore hereby, and, particularly, my followers ♥ !

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Sein island (Île-de-Sein),

Brittany, France

Now this Ultima Thule in France´s Finistère may not be so remote and northernly as others I have reported here, but it is surely magic in its wilderness, situation and life style. Getting there is not a hard adventure, but living there is.




This piece of rock is certainly the strangest island off the coast of Brittany, one of the six Celtic nations.
Île-de-Sein is a french islet in the Atlantic Ocean, 10 km off the extreme northwest of Finistère, 2 km long for at most a few hundred metres wide. Nowhere does it rise more than six metres above the surrounding ocean.
Lying on the sea routes going south from the English Channel, Sein is well known for the dangers of its waters. The Chaussée de Sein, a vast zone of reefs, stretches for more than thirty miles from east to west, requiring numerous lighthouses, to prevent increasing the large numbers of shipwrecks in the past.


The Island of Sein has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and it was reputed to have been the very last refuge of the druids in Brittany . Some menhirs can be found there.


Three hundred islanders continue to make their living from the sea, gathering rainwater and seaweed and fishing for scallops, lobster and crayfish.

Quai des Paimpolais
  

The village
 
In order to be protected from the sea and storms, the village has very narrow streets, a real labyrinth. The streets twist and turn against the wind, and in most places are built only wide enough to roll a barrel. Only bicycles are allowed.



Details of sea life decorate most houses, in the dominating blue colour.


On the blackboard - "croissants available by command for Christmas and New Year's Eve". That shows how isolated the island is from mainland.

Phare de la Vieille
One of the most famous French lighthouses, this tower is built on a rock that half way from mainland to Île-de-Sein. In big sea storms, waves crash against the lighthouse and seem to swallow it - but La Vieille always keeps working.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Tuktoyaktuk,

like a caribou

The village of Tuktoyaktuk

Tuktoyaktuk is a small very northern settlement near the Mackenzie River Delta, in Canada, located on the Arctic tree line, at the shores of the Arctic Ocean, called here Beaufort Sea.

Pop. around 900 habitatants

Location 69°26′ N 133°01′W

This area was for many years under exploitation for fur trade by the Hudson Bay Company. Many locals still hunt, fish, and trap. They rely on caribou in the autumn, which they keep frozen underground, on ducks and geese in both spring and autumn, and fishing year-round. Other activities include collecting driftwood, caribou herding, and berrypicking.

Inuit drum dancers

Tuktoyaktuk (=like a caribou) is the gateway for exploring Pingo National Landmark, an area protecting eight nearby pingos in a region which contains approximately 1 350 of these Arctic ice-dome hills.

A pingo is a a mound of earth-covered ice, a landform that raises from the earth as a result of the freezing and melting cycle. They last more than 1000 years - eventually, they collapse.

The Mackenzie river delta, in winter and in summer. The frozen river is the main winter road.

The road to Tuktoyaktuk is an ice road - it only opens for traffic in winter. It's traced on the river Mackenzie and on parts the Arctic Ocean ! During summer the village can be reached only by plane or boat.

Snowmobile instead of car

The old wooden catholic church


A cabin by the Mackenzie

From dogsled trips to the Midnight Sun, Northern Lights and pingos, Tuk has much to offer to an adventure visitor.

Mackenzie Street, Inuvik center (clic!) Here at Inuvik you can find the main services - even a small café - coffee, espresso and cappucino at 69º N - north of the Arctic Circle !

Aerial view - a remote and extraordinary location, a place at the edge of the map - and if the mean sea level rises 2 feet this place will be wiped out.