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Where Christmas comes early

Sealift orders create festive atmosphere

Barge arrivals into Kivalliq hamlets are always a welcome sight and often arrive just in time to restock seriously depleted shelves in community stores. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Kirsten Murphy
Northern News Services

Whale Cove (Aug 22/01) - Talk about timing. No sooner had Whale Cove's Co-Op shelves run out of coffee and Honeycomb cereal than the annual sealift barge sailed to town.

"We filled the shelves immediately," said Bernice Croucher, Co-Op general manager. "Hopefully it will last."

The highly anticipated vessel arrived at 8 a.m. Aug. 9. Within 24 hours, the barge was stripped of its snowmobiles, washing machines, canned peas, computer paper, spark plugs and medical supplies.

After running dangerously low on pop earlier in the year, the Co-Op ordered extra cases, Croucher said.

With three sealift orders under her belt, Croucher still looks forward to the festive atmosphere created by the barge's arrival.

"It really is like Christmas," she said. "It's a happy time, especially for the kids. We have the older ones help out. They're real energetic."

Construction of the community's day care is already underway with the arrival of building supplies. The building's completion date is scheduled for December or January.

Along with the arrival of routine items like pop, coffee, cereal and fuel, Uncle John's cab company received its newest chariot.

"It's a teal-green 2000 GMC Safari Van, mid-sized," said an Uncle John's dispatcher. "How is it running? Excellent."

Ordering a year's supply of anything is an art. Just ask Glenda Ulurksit. The health centre clerk placed her first order this year.

"I have a lot of juice and macaroni. Too much," she said with a laugh. "Now I know what to order and what not to order."

Ulurksit could do with a couple extra pounds of sugar and flour.

"We only have one store and things cost so much," she said.

Residents in Chesterfield Inlet won't be celebrating their barge's arrival until September. But celebrate they will.