Birthday beach scene brings tropical delight to Arctic campers

·2 min read
John Keogak built this beach scene at Kellet Point on Banks Island to keep himself busy when it was too foggy to hunt or fish. (John Keogak/Facebook - image credit)
John Keogak built this beach scene at Kellet Point on Banks Island to keep himself busy when it was too foggy to hunt or fish. (John Keogak/Facebook - image credit)

With a couple pieces of driftwood and a handful of nails, a Sachs Harbour man was able to turn an Arctic fishing camp into his "own little paradise."

Andrea Keogak was pulling up to the camp at Kellet Point by boat for a visit with her family on her birthday last Wednesday when she noticed an unusually shaped structure in the distance.

"In my mind, I thought 'Is that a palm tree?" she told the host of CBC's The Weekender, Marc Winkler.

Keogak's boyfriend agreed that yes, they were seeing palm trees on a sandy beach that's about an hour-long ATV ride away from the N.W.T.'s northernmost community. Then, she wondered of her father, 'Oh gosh, what did he do?"

Submitted by Andrea Keogak
Submitted by Andrea Keogak

Eventually, she learned that John Keogak had spent three days in foggy weather at the camp collecting driftwood with her niece and building "a little scenery." It came in the form of a bench, flanked with two palm trees and some other pieces of wood.

She said it was a way for them to keep busy because they didn't want to fish or hunt or stray too far from camp in the fog.

John Keogak/Facebook
John Keogak/Facebook

"When [my father] goes camping, he says it's paradise, right? He loves to go camping. He loves it out on the land. It's his own little paradise when he's out travelling so I guess he wanted to incorporate a little bit of a different kind of scenery with his paradise."

When they reached the shore, Keogak said her daughter made a beeline for the bench and they spent some time sitting together, snapping photos, and marvelling at her dad's creativity.

"We've been here, living here, camping in the same spot for years and nobody's ever thought of doing something like that," she said.

Submitted by Andrea Keogak
Submitted by Andrea Keogak
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