In a development that so confounded Kissoun that he told me three times, on July 15, 2016, Tuktoyaktuk, on the coast just east of the delta, briefly boasted the warmest ocean beach in Canada."Twenty-two point two degrees Celsius!" he said, having committed the exact number to memory. "Can you believe it! The warmest in Canada."Water that's a balmy 72 degrees Fahrenheit would be pleasant just about anywhere, let alone in the Arctic Circle.
I met Kissoun when he picked me up at Garry Island, a high wedge of tundra at the very edge of the delta. Kissoun couldn't get his small boat close to the shore because the water was so shallow, so I waded out to him, pulling the canoe by hand and then gratefully cross-loading my gear for the last time.
The "end" of the river was really the beginning of a new ecosystem.