Called Sanirajaq, meaning ‘the shoreline’, the Inuit of Sanirajak (Hall Beach) have enjoyed and benefitted from the abundance of marine life, including walruses and beluga whales for thousands of years.
The hamlet itself dates to the Cold War era and the primary interaction local people have had with the outside world is through the arrival of the military. Here you can find the physical remains of the Cold War and the role that Inuit played during those times.
Essential experiences in Sanirajak:
- Exploring the history of the Cold War through military installations in the community
- Viewing polar bears and walrus, fishing for arctic char, and learn about the ways that Inuit have adapted to the physical challenges of being in close proximity to the sea
- Spotting migratory birds (jaegers and gyrfalcons, geese, and ducks) and arctic birds (snowy owl and ptarmigan)
Here, in the shadow of Cold War radar installations, local Inuit continue the centuries long tradition of fermenting walrus meat on the shoreline. This juxtaposition makes for an interesting experience for visitors. In the fall months, this fermenting walrus meat attracts polar bears, while they wait for the of sea ice to form before beginning their winter-long march in search of seal.
The Inuit of Sanirajak will welcome you into their lives, which in many ways remain unchanged from centuries old traditions. You can travel with these expert hunters on their hunts, or travel by snowmobile or boat to nearby Igloolik, taking in the many marine mammals that are nearby. On April 1 every year, Sanirajak marks the return of continuous daylight from April to August with Hamlet Day, a festival featuring a community feast, traditional games and dancing.
Sanirajak is home to a multitude of migratory birds, and is an area that is exhilarating for birders and photographers alike. The haunting calls of loons and the cry of jaegers and gyrfalcons echo across the tundra. Geese numbering in the tens of thousands make the annual trek back to Sanirajak, along with ducks and snowy owls.
Military history buffs will be fascinated by the signs of sixty years of Cold War radar and intelligence gathering equipment. Sanirajak was a lonely but important sentinel facing the Soviet threat over the North Pole, and you will feel that you have stepped back into these tense and exciting times.