When you take an expedition cruise, you often have access to remote places you would never get to otherwise. Such is the case with Marble Island, high in the Canadian Arctic. The marble-like rocks, covered with lichen, are all over the island and due to the wet weather, fog, and the like, it can be highly treacherous to hike. However, as a group, we did and were rewarded with other-worldly landscapes. The rugged terrain actually feels like another planet.
A bit about this little-known island
Marble Island is one of several uninhabited Canadian arctic islands in Nunavut, Canada, located within western Hudson Bay. The closest community is Rankin Inlet. The island was valued as a harbour for overwintering in the nineteenth century.
Marble Island is composed of sedimentary rock called wacke, laced with quartzite. It is the quartzite that gives the island its white, marble-like appearance.
Marble Island is bare rock located above the tree line, with only a small amount of plant life, primarily lichens and mosses. Thus, there is only limited terrestrial wildlife, primarily the polar bear, the Arctic fox, the Arctic hare, and lemmings. A large variety of birds visit the island, including ducks, raptors, and unidentified "small brown birds". A great number of sea mammals can be found nearby, including several kinds of cetaceans (e.g. bowhead whales, orcas, narwhals, and belugas) and seals. Due to a large amount of marine life, Marble Island is a traditional summer hunting ground for the Inuit.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor