The first few days of November were a little hectic at school because the kids . . . and possibly adults, had been consuming a large amount of candy after Halloween. I’ll admit it was difficult for me as a kid to not eat all the free candy I collected on October 31. My parents had to introduce to me to the concept of rationing. I asked several of my students if they quickly eat all their Halloween candy and I was glad when they said no. Your teeth and stomach will suffer. By the second week of November, things had calmed down.
It’s been a little over a year since the crippling ransomware attack on the Nunavut’s government computer network, but the Community and Government Services Department told Nunatsiaq News that everything has been restored. Malware infected some 5,000 servers & workstations across the territory, locking out users and demanding a ransom payment in the millions of dollars. The government decided not to pay and relied on backup data & reformatted all its systems. They even brought in Microsoft for help.
I remember seeing computer technicians from Iqaluit going to all the classrooms & offices, reformatting the desktop computers. All staff had to create new passwords for their accounts. The Nunavut Government says its network is now better protected against future attacks, but only time will tell.
3045 Army Cadet Corps didn’t host a Remembrance Day ceremony this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and orders from Ottawa. Even though the disease is not present in Arctic Bay, the community hall is still closed to the public by order of the Hamlet Office. All corps in Canada were ordered not to hold and/or participate in public ceremonies in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Cadets & officers were instead invited to watch the livestream of the sanctioned ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, featuring the Prime Minister & Governor General.
I watched the ceremony on Facebook. The stream was from someone’s smartphone. The video quality was okay, but I was expecting high-definition cameras. The audio quality could have been better because all the sounds were recorded by the smartphone’s microphone. When someone spoke into the podium’s microphone, you actually heard the voices coming out of the large speakers placed around the memorial. However, there was one sound that was repeatedly well picked up on the stream. Artillery guns fired shells off camera in the form of a gun salute. The loud “booms” occasionally interrupted the speeches being made, but I commend the people in attendance for not jumping into the air. There wasn’t a large crowd because of social distancing and everyone wore masks. Overall, the ceremony was well done.
November 11 occurred on a Wednesday this year. There were no classes, but I still held a regular training night at cadets because the corps regularly parades on Wednesdays. We held our own Remembrance Day parade and took a group photo of us wearing poppies.
November 11 is also the anniversary of when I joined the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC). I joined in 2013. I can’t believe it’s already been 7 years!
With the arrival of November, my drummers have begun learning more advanced rhythms and cadences for a possible Christmas concert. The drummers enjoyed performing at Halloween and couldn’t wait for the next opportunity. We’re hoping COVID-19 restrictions will be eased by December.
My Grade 10 English students are currently working through the media unit. They recently finished the oral pieces module. Unfortunately, we won’t be filming a movie this semester due to lack of time. The Grade 10 Social Studies students are learning about Canada’s residential school system and the Grade 11s are learning about the First World War.
I became the proud owner of a real polar bear skull on November 14. One of my former students successfully caught a polar bear in early October and was looking to sell the skull. He spent several weeks harvesting the meat, and cleaning the fur & skull. When he asked me, I replied I was interested in buying the skull because I didn’t have one. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what the going rate was for real polar bear skulls. I did some research online and only found prices for replicas (fakes). I picked a price and offered to pay double that amount. The student accepted my offer.
He came by my place in the evening with the large skull in hand. He placed the large skull on my coffee table. It looks really impressive and the teeth appear menacing. I paid in cash. The former student explained he caught the animal roughly 45km northeast of Arctic Bay. The bear had been originally tagged in Greenland in 2011. We’re not sure when or how long it took the bear to cross Baffin Bay, but it must have taken some time. We also wondered why the bear would come this far from Greenland? Food? Love? Adventure? We will never know.
I took several pictures of the skull after the student left. The skull still sits on my coffee table as a centrepiece. It’ll definitely be a conversation starter for whenever I have guests. I'll also have to mention that until I get a tag from the local Hunters & Trappers Organization, I cannot bring the skull with me down south.
|Inside the polar bear skull.|
Winter is officially here. The bay is completely frozen. No boating until the end of June, unless you pull a boat all the way to the floe edge. Kids are walking around town wearing their new Canada Goose parkas and Baffin boots.
Dark season has also begun. The sun can no longer be seen from the streets of Arctic Bay because of the surrounding mountains. The nights are getting longer with each passing day. The shortest day will be in late December. I have enough Vitamin D pills to last beyond dark season.