I’ve made no bones about the fact I love to watch documentary series about folks doing unique jobs in the most inhospitable of climates. Great Pacific Television produces some of the best, including Highway Thru Hell and Heavy Rescue: 401.
Now Great Pacific Television is back with a new series called High Arctic Haulers. Debuting Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC, the seven-episode adventure heads north, way north, to spotlight the people who bring goods to Canadians via ship. How far north are these communities? So far that food and the necessities of life come once a year. It’s imperative the ships and their cargo get through in the short summer months.
Filmed in Nunavut, High Arctic Haulers kicks off in the ice-choked Ungava Bay, where the Sedna Desgagnés is trapped. Surrounded by icebergs and growlers, Captain Michel Duplain and his first mate, Simon Charest, attempt to shake free of the ice.
Meanwhile, over on the Taïga Desgagnés, Captain Olivier Nault is having issues of his own. Steaming through the Foxe Basin north of Hudson Bay, shallow water, high winds and unpredictable conditions could spell disaster. Awaiting the Taïga is the community of Hall Beach, population 748. Built in 1957 as a military base to detect Soviet Union bombers at the height of the Cold War, the community is relying on the Taïga to deliver critical items like septic tanks, plumbing, housing materials, vehicles, clothing and food. But with screaming winds coming across the bow, it may be too dangerous to use the crane to offload items to the ship’s tug boat and barges.
Next up for the Taïga is the town of Igloolik, where citizens converge to gather supplies and send items south. Among them are sculptures by Bart Hannah, destined for spots in art galleries in Ontario.
The secret to the success—and why I watch—series like High Arctic Haulers is the focus on what the ships and their crews mean to the communities they serve. I learned more about Nunavut from one episode of High Arctic Haulers than I ever have in a Canadian history class. I look forward to learning more.
High Arctic Haulers airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.
Image courtesy of CBC.