Broughton Island Things to Do
Broughton Island, or Qeqektarjuaq as it is known to locals, is only a small place, but it is a picturesque village. The best way to explore is just to have a wander around the dusty lanes, climbing the hill to the monument up there, watching fishermen mend their boats on the beach, find Inuit craftsman carving figures out of walrus tusks, see rows of Arctic char hanging out to dry like laundry, pop into Northern Stores to escape the cold and to stock up on any last minute provisions...and talk to people. They may be reserved, but if you make a bit of an effort, you can meet some interesting characters!
Broughton Island Nightlife
OK, so it wasn't exactly kicking, but the local youth club did do coffee and was the liveliest place in the village after the Northern Stores closed for the night.
Dress Code: A choice of two...fur or Goretex from head to foot. Remove your boots before going inside.
Broughton Island Transportation
Broughton Island is the northern gateway to Auyuittuq Natioal Park. The scenery in the northern section of the park is less spectacular than the more popular southern route from Pangnirtung, so if you have limited time and money, head for Pang. But if it is solitude you are after, then Broughton Island has a couple of outfitters (one we used was called Pauloosie) who can organize transport to the head of the trail in the North Pangnirtung Fjord. The boats are small, and feel tiny when you sail past the monstrous icebergs...not a good idea to watch Titanic beforehand! To prolong your life a bit longer in case of toppling overboard, you'll be issued with orange boilersuits...a right palaver to put on (many a snort and giggle was had at the jetty with a group of 19, all hopping around with one leg in, one leg out!), but this suit might just save your life.
The only way to reach another community is by air. First Air connects this tiny island with Iqaluit and sometimes Pangnirtung, flying over the dramatic peaks of the Auyuittuq National park. Planes are small, seating just twenty passengers, so it might be an idea to book in advance.
More details about the flight and Broughton island's airport in the travelogue...there's even a picture of the plane, for those planespotters among you ;@P
0 Hotels in Broughton Island
Broughton Island Local Customs
Before entering most buildings and all private homes, remove your boots. Even though your feet might stink to high heaven, better that than tramp ice and mud into your hosts living room.
Broughton Island is only a small place, and can easily be overwhelmed by large groups. We were a group of 19, and were advised to walk around alone or in pairs so as not to intimidate the locals. People are far more likely to approach you for a chat if you are on your own.
Alcohol is forbidden in this "dry community", and after seeing the effects on the Inuit population of Iqaluit, especially on payday, I think this is a very good idea. So don't try to bring any booze with you on that plane...
Local craftsmen abound, and once news has spread that a stranger is in town, you'll be approached by them trying to sell you a carving, usually made out of whale or walrus bone. Some of them are quite stunning. There is a little pressure to buy, but nobody minds too much if you just show an interest and walk away empty-handed. If you are worried about how your souvenir will fare on the trek through the mountains, most carvers can arrange for your carving to be sent to Iqaluit or even further afield.
Broughton Island Warnings and Dangers
Probably best if you don't wander too far from the village on your own...polar bears may be lurking, ready to strike at any moment. If you want to explore the wild side of the island, there are plenty of outfitters willing to take you sledging hunting or fishing, and they will carry some sort of protection against rogue bears who attack.
The other hazard on Broughton Island is falling in the water...it might seem a silly warning, but these waters are cold! You can dip extremities in the water to test it, but if you fall in, hypothermia is not far away.