Lots of friends have been asking for further details about our new place in Yellowknife. I’m excited to be there soon – we will arrive on Canada Day, which seems fitting! I’ve only seen it once in the dead of dark winter, so it will be fun to see it in the long daylight of the subarctic summer.
We were up in Yellowknife this February. I had a two week locum at the hospital and we have some good friends we wanted to visit. While there we took a look around and realized it might be a great place to spend some time in. We loved the crisp sunny days of winter, being able to ski all over the lake, the spectacular northern lights, and our dogsled driving experience. I’m not really sure if its a stunningly beautiful place, or if its the special qualities of the light up there that make everything seem incredible. We stayed in Old Town and relished all the life happening out on the lake – the skating rink, the local fish shop, the planes coming and going on the ice runway, the dog sleds and skidoos and kids, skiers and dogs, and the ice castle being built for the ice festival.
We also couldn’t help but notice the houseboats, a collection of about 30 ‘houses’ in varying states – not really houseboats, but mostly homes that float. They are for the most part collected in a small bay near Joliffe Island, a refuge from any rough water. There a few more scattered further out, a much longer way from the shore. The houseboats are colorful and oh so romantic looking! Check them out on google images.
Near the end of our stay we thought seriously about moving to YK for some northern adventure. We both long to spend time out on the land, to canoe remote waters, and to get a first hand chance to experience life in the north. I loved my work at the YK hospital and luckily for me they had long term work available. We decided to seize the opportunity to move, although we certainly had no plans to buy a place. Almost by accident however we can across Houseboat 28, for sale. We seized the opportunity to buy it as living on the water is another great opportunity for adventure!
So Houseboat 28 is not a houseboat, but a house that floats. Its pretty much like an ordinary house inside – two stories of about 1100 square feet. It sits on a large deck on pontoons and is permanently anchored in the lake. It is just near two very small islands, although not attached to either. Its about 800 meters away from the marina, but about 200 metres away from the nearest shore ( a undeveloped marshy area with walking paths). For six months of the year we will commute by boat ( we get a 12 foot tin runabout with the house) and for the other six months, we drive to it, on the ice! In fact there is a government ice road that goes right past our place in the winter. It sits in about 5 feet of ice in the winter. Of course, the transition period is interesting, we’ll keep you posted on how that works out.
Our house is completely off the grid, so we will rely on solar panels, propane for the cook stove, fridge, and back up heat, a wood stove for the main heat source, and generator back up for the dark winter months. We have a composting toilet which will be interesting, to say the least, and also even a wind turbine – more decorative than useful it seems. Luckily I’ve never gone in for the blowdried hairstyles, because those days are gone! We do hope to have enough power in our solar batteries however to run our espresso maker – keep your fingers crossed on!!
It also comes with a great boat rack, on which to store our canoe, our two ocean going kayaks and the latest toy, a stand up paddle board. No excuses not to be out on the water now!
It will be different for our dogs, two golden retrievers, but lots of folks have dogs so we will find a way to make it work for them.
I’ll post some pictures when we arrive next week!