North

Nunavut family travels Mackenzie River, Arctic Ocean to take new boat home

A family from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, recently purchased a new boat in Manitoba, only to boat it more than 2,000 kilometres to get it home.

'When you are an outdoor person and your family likes to go out, that’s why we do this'

Joe Evyagotailak's grandson poses with the family's new boat. (submitted by Joe Evyagotailak)

A family from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, recently purchased a new boat in Manitoba, only to drive it more than 2,000 kilometres to get it home.

"When you are an outdoor person, and your family likes to go out, that's why we do this," said Joe Evyagotailak.

Evyagotailak, his wife and grandson began their 21-day journey just outside the community of Hay River on the Mackenzie River, which eventually empties into the Beaufort Sea.

Joe Evyagotailak and his family travelled more than 2,000 kilometres along the Mackenzie River and into Beaufort Sea to make the journey from Hay River to their home in Kugluktuk. (CBC)

He said that part of the trip was relatively tame — for the most part.

"We ran into a forest fire just before we got to Wrigley," he said.

"We were looking for a place to camp, and the next thing we started seeing smoke in front of us. It was kind of scary, because we could see the flames right on the shore of the Mackenzie, but we managed to get through because we could see the buoys."

The family encountered another hiccup when they arrived at the coastal community of Tuktoyaktuk. Adverse weather meant they were trapped for eight days before moving on.

Despite the delay, Evyagotailak says it was a great trip, made even better by the people they met along the way.

Joe Evyagotailak and his wife in Tuktoyaktuk. They spent a happy eight days in the community waiting out bad weather. (submitted by Joe Avyagotailik)

"Just as we were getting close to Bennett Point, outside Paulatuk, we saw some young hunters looking around for beluga.

"They told us there were some polars bears around, and for us to come and have tea, so we went to see the polar bears and my wife got some nice pictures of them swimming, and then we just let them be."

It's the third time Evyagotailak has made the trip, and he says "he would go again if [he had] to.

"It is fun, but some days you just have to go, go, go when the weather is nice."

Evyagotailak and his family spotted a few polar bears swimming near Paulatuk. 'My wife got some nice pictures... and then we just let them be.' (submitted by Joe Evyagotailak)

with files from Juanita Taylor and Marc Winkler

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