Today the Ivakkak racers travelled about 40 KM. In Kangirsuk for the start of the race, elder Susie Taqulik prayed for their safety and a hymn was sung by Peter Nassak.
Jonathan Epoo, the coordinator had this to say, “Kangirsuk welcomed us for three good days, the volunteers and support from locals was exceptional. We sincerely thank them for their hospitality – this comes from all the crew and mushers.
At the start in Kangirsuk it was windy with blowing snow and cloudy skies. Weather got worse as things progressed through the day, at mid afternoon borderline blizzard conditions occurred. The river in front of Kangirsuk was rough, teams had a difficult time crossing the river. Team number ten, Aisa Surusilak had hit SOS with the spot locator device, because his dogs left, while support crews were across the river waiting for teams to pass, when this SOS came in. However, the NV of Kangirsuk received this message. He hit the SOS button because his dogs left him at the rough ice conditions and went back to Kangirsuk. They got reunited through the assistance of the Kangirsuk NV rescue crews.
“The determination of mushers and the crew in this environment has been exceptional,” said Jonathan Epoo. All teams and all support crew and staff made it to Nuluartalik regardless of these conditions. All dogs had no injuries. Team #3, Harry Okpik, had broken his sled in front of Kangirsuk – repairs will have to be made for his team to continue on to Aupaluk.
George Kauki of Kuujjuaq, team #8, said “We went through hell today, the worst ice conditions I’ve ever seen in my five years of dog teaming. My sled almost broke. I had to be calm for the dogs and had to make it through with other teams. We encountered some muskox and a fox on the trail. My partner had to run in front of the dogs on the rough sea ice in order to get through it.”
Jonathan Epoo said that they thank the local co-op of Kangirsuk, the Northern store for giving discounts, also to the co-op petro garage. We also thank the NV of Kangirsuk for their continued response and all the immediate community response today.