The Usurper: Cape Christian Tales

Listen to The Written Word
USCG Cutter West Wind
USCG West Wind – Icebreaker & Resupply Ship

Content will change constantly until completion

For a full year I lived and worked on Baffin Island in Canada’s Northwest Territories with twenty-three other Coasties at the USCG  LORAN station at  Cape Christian, more than six hundred miles above the Arctic Circle, and ten miles south of the Inuit Eskimo village at Clyde River.

Spring had almost arrived, and the snow was melting and slowly receding, exposing random patches of wet brown mud, moss green tundra, and a spattering of hearty daisy-like flowers that had popped up overnight.

It was then that Patches suddenly attacked and nipped King’s right hind leg.  Startled, King yelped, literally jumped straight up, and while still in midair twisted his body around and landed facing Patches and the two stopped transfixed growling and rapidly breathing.


King bared his teeth, snarled, and the fight began in earnest. As I watched, Pea-a-meanie’s twenty or so male sleigh dogs formed a circle around the two antagonists and began yelping and loudly barking, rooting for their favorite. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Reggie-the-Mounty running towards the scrum, wildly swinging a ‘Paul Bunyan’ sized wooden ax handle in his right hand.

Reggie ran straight through the circle of dogs swinging and slashing the wooden handle at the dogs, who yelped when hit and pulled back. But that didn’t deter the Mounty who unrelentingly continued his wild swinging, spinning around like a whirling dervish scattering the crazed dogs, and launching a few into the air to land with cries of pain and pitiful whimpering, before slinking away from the tumultuous canine riot.


  1. This short example is not in context because it doesn’t show the escalation of the tension that was going on for months between Patches and King (also, describe the dogs and the Polar Bear incident and other reactions between pee a meenie and his dogs etc.
  2. Flowers: show how they looked, yellow petals surrounding a yellow-orange button at its center on a tough, resilient green stalk. On closer inspection, the flower’s stalk was covered with hardy light-green hair making them seem more animal than vegetable. 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Translate »
Skip to toolbar