Today brings a chance to visit the austerely beautiful Dundas Harbour on Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, though signs of ancient and more recent settlements remain.
Canada’s sixth largest island, Devon Island was first sighted by Robert Bylot and William Baffin in 1616 but didn’t make an appearance on maps until 1820 when William Edward Parry named it after Devon, England. In the local Inuktitut language it is called Talluruti, or ‘a woman’s chin with tattoos on it’, a name inspired by the deep crevasses that cover the island and are reminiscent of facial tattoos. Landing at Dundas Harbour you will visit the remains of a Thule settlement that dates back to 1000 AD and includes middens, graves and tent rings, while a more recent addition is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost. Established in 1924 to monitor foreign whaling and other illegal activities, the site was abandoned in 1933 after the severe conditions and isolation proved too inhospitable. It was permanently closed in 1951.
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