Clam Divers Reach Parts Where Others Fear to Go
Clam Divers Reach Parts Where Others Fear to Go
Posted by Pen Hadow

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009 00:00

Well, I’ve witnessed some things in my time – haven’t we all – but today was an ‘out there experience’.


Met any clam divers recently?!  Oh, you have?


Well, were they Arctic clam divers?  Oh, really!  I’m impressed.


So, were they cutting holes in the metre-thick sea ice and pulling handfuls of clams off the sea floor, 5-10 metres below, like walrus?  Oh, whow!  They did?


So, tell me, did they wear wetsuits, operate free of a safety line … in the middle of the polar nightevery night ... because they just love their work?  I thought not!


Well, that’s what our newest friends Stevie and Charlie do.  Apparently some Greenlanders visited recently them recently and were astonished to discover Inuit were diving.  That it was for clams … for a living … blew their minds! Operating strictly under license, all their clams are consumed within Nunavut.


Our Becks (aka Rebecca Duckworth) had discovered that someone with underwater diving experience, living in Qikiqtarjuaq (aka Broughton Island), could be on hand to provide safety cover and assistance for underwater photography during our Pre-Expedition Training here.


And so it was that Stevie, and business partner Charlie, found themselves donning frog suits, fins, aqualungs and weight-belts to work with our Ice Survey Team as we ran through some sub-zero sea water emergency drills.  Ann offered to do the dreaded ‘Drop Test’ – a sudden and deliberate immersion to the neck in sledging clothes ie with no dry suit on - three times, while being filmed.  Tough lady, the boys thought. A good day’s work, well done, thanks to our Stevie and Charlie for whom we have a reverential respect.


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