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Belcher Islands

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Amaulik Hotel

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Belcher Islands

The Belcher Archipelago is a group of about 1,500 islands located in Hudson Bay north of the entrace to the James Bay. The Belcher Islands are spread out over almost 3,000 square kilometres,The explorer Henry Hudson sighted the islands in 1610. Robert Flaherty (who later went on to produce the famous film, Nanook of the North) mapped the islands on his 1914 and 1916 expeditions.

The Belcher Islands consists of four seperate groups of islands:

  • North Belcher Islands with the main islands Johnson, Laddie, and Slipit and 700 small islands.
  • Baker's Dozen Island in the North East, a group of round 50 scattered islands and rocks.
  • East Belcher Islands, a group of about 15 islands
  • Flaherty Islands are a group of about 300 islands located at the southwestern end of Belcher Islands

No trees grow here and, except in valleys, only a thin layer of soil covers the ground. The islands' peak is 155 metres above sea level; some cliffs rise from 50 to 70 metres. The Belcher Islands support a number of polynyas (water open year round). The area provides good habitat for wintering polar bears, which are hunted by people from the community of Sanikiluaq. Beluga whales and walrus also winter here.

Flaherty Island is the only island that is permanently settled with communities in:

. The island has several fiords and gentle hills on it. Flaherty Island is about 70 kilometers from north to south and up to 40 kilometers wide.

Kayaking is a popular mode of transportation in the Belcher Islands. This area traditionally utilized two man kayaks.

Belcher Islands

Belcher Islands, viewed from the Space Shuttle


Eider ducks at a polyana in the Belcher Islands

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl on one of the Belcher Islands

Map of the Belcher Islands

Map of the Belcher Islands

Ice Near a Polyana

Ice near a polyana


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