Tikigaq, Our Village by the Frozen Sea

Arctic fox 1_n

Arctic Fox in Old Tikigaq

From August 2011 to May 2014, it was our great privilege to live in the Inupiat village of Point Hope, Alaska. The original Eskimo name for the land where Point Hope is located – and the name of the original village, which is now a ghost town due to erosion and water inundation – was Tikigaq, or “index finger” for the shape of the peninsula. Located 200 miles above the Arctic Circle and said to be the oldest continuously inhabited place in North America, present-day Point has a fairly stable population of approximately 700 people, most of whom are of Inupiat heritage.

Aurora 2_n

Northern Lights above the cemetery and airstrip. 

fishnig net, Point Hope_n

Setting a net.

frozen sea sunset 1_n

Ice over the sea, the sun setting.

Old Tikigaq 1_n

A sliver of sunlight falls on Old Tikigaq.

Old Tikigaq 2_n

Old Tikigaq bathed in November light.

Old Tikigaq w umiak_n

Umiak and home, Old Tikigaq.

Point Hope Cemetary_n

The cemetery with fresh snow.

umiak nose_n

Waiting for whales.

Maia's hand in Polar Bear Track, Dec 22, 2012_n

A polar bear paw print.


Sewn and ready – an umiak on a rack.

Whale 1_n

First whale of the season!

35 thoughts on “Tikigaq, Our Village by the Frozen Sea

  1. regarding alaskas sept. issue ,your treble hook in ling and single hook in rockfish means you must lose some lures.iuse two assist hooks on top and bang rocks with bottom of 8oz jig has landed me some nice 50+ fish.fished all over for last 50 years and only keep 1 ling july 1st. retired airline pilot i visit alaska twice a year. your article andd 100$ hamburgers were great because ive eaten at those cafes.

    • We agree with you on the treble hooks. We usually buy lures that don’t have hooks, or we replace the trebles with assist hooks. In the case of the photo, I was being lazy and hadn’t bothered to re-rig the lure with assist hooks. It’s not just that trebles tend to result in more lost fish and lost lures – they fail to hook fish in the first place and are a nuisance to deal with when unhooking fish. Thanks for reading and commenting, and Tight Lines!

  2. I have no idea about fishing but I love your blog for the passion you exude and the brilliant photography. I shared this blog with my husband and we are harboring secret thoughts of visiting Alaska… What a beautiful place 🙂

  3. Wow! Great photos and a great story! I wandered over here after reading the great comment on my blog. I LOVE what you guys are doing…people after my own heart.
    May I ask a question? Are you guys supporting yourself with the fishing or other work or are you retired? I’m always curious at the creative ways people pull off living outside the box.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. We both teach on Alaska’s North Slope. Nine months of the year, home is a small Inupiaq (Eskimo) village 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. There are no roads in and out of Point Hope, and the winter winds can be brutal. But there is an incredible beauty to this place in the far north. We feel lucky to be part of it. In May we migrate south to Seward where we keep our boats and our pickup and the camper that fits atop the pickup. It’s a balance that works, as winters give us lots of time to study, write and edit photos while our summers seem to fly past with sailing, boating, fishing and exploring in our camper.

  4. Hellopaurapagin,
    I am approximately two thousand mile east to your map on the Hudson Bay, Rankin Inlet and 50 miles north of a place called Tikirajuaq (Whale Cove). Just to confirm that our language is very consistant especially place names.

  5. Amazing photos! I have a good grasp of geography but had to google Tikigaq. The arctic fox is beautiful- do you mind if I use it for a reference in a painting? Your blog is awesome!

      • Envy bursting out here in Brooking OR on the Oregon Coast. Salmon fishing has been awesome here. Found your site looking for less salt to brine all the Salmon we have caught. Thanks for you site, I will follow because of like interest. Best to you.

        Sam Jones

        • I think you’re going to like our brining/smoking recipe, Sam. Lots of enthusiastic feedback over the years. I used to fish kings off the coast near Seaside… good memories of lots of limits within sight of shore in my friend’s C-Dory, which we used to take out through the surf. Crabs in the pots on good days. Thanks for reading.

  6. I am smoking some large trout in the next couple days and will be using your recipe for the brine. loved your blog, thank you and best wishes !

  7. I am totally impressed on your adventures.
    I am now 50 and at a point where I could retire financially and still have enough health and strength to do what you are doing.
    Currently live in S. California and on my way to Seward for a short stint fishing and exploring (go to Ak most summers).
    That must be something else to live in Point Hope for a winter.
    Your posts are making me rethink what I will be doing for the next decade.
    Cheers and the best

    • Hi Jim, We moved up from Sacramento, California and spent four years in Alaska. It was glorious. Hope you have a great time in Seward.
      We’re now living and teaching in Mongolia – and very much enjoying it. We, too, believe we’re very close to retirement, are in excellent health, and are looking forward to hitching our C-Dory Angler fishing boat up to our Lance Camper & the Chevy and driving all over North America, fishing, cooking, enjoying local wines and photographing wildlife. Keep reading our blog for future ideas about how to downsize, live cheap but well, and get the most out of life while still young enough to enjoy it. Safe journeys!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.