A Rock-Solid Connection Created in Arctic Bay, Nunavut

PO2 Jonathan Dunphy gives a tour of HMCS Harry DeWolf in Arctic Bay on Aug. 26.

Lt(N) Lisa Tubb
HMCS Harry DeWolf

A mineral collection was the last thing Petty Officer Second Class Jonathan Dunphy expected to see while giving a tour of HMCS Harry DeWolf in Arctic Bay on Aug. 26.

However, while admiring the local landscape, he had a conversation with a local community member on the tour that drifted towards geology.

Years ago, he explained to the man, while at home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he found a rock tumbler in a hobby store with his wife Jolene; it was something he had wanted since childhood.

Much to his delight, he later received said tumbler as a Father’s Day gift.

He eventually decided a rock tumbler was not enough, and, after researching methods of polishing stones, he discovered a love of lapidary – the art of cutting and polishing stones for jewelry purposes.

The Arctic Bay amateur geologist pulled a rock collection from his jacket pocket and showed it to PO2 Dunphy.

“He said that his collection was kind of plain, but I told him he had some great specimens. At that point, he offered me one of his favourite pieces and I immediately asked him for his mailing address and offered to send him some from my own collection.”

According to PO2 Dunphy, Nova Scotia is “abundant in minerals and semi-precious gemstones that are mainly found around the Fundy shore.”

“I love collecting because it’s always a nice hike to get to some of the more isolated locations and it’s like hunting for treasure.”

Amethyst, Jasper, and even Stillbite, Nova Scotia’s provincial mineral, are easily attainable on beaches if you know where to look, he says.

Jolene Dunphy displays specimens of minerals and gemstones.

This hobby also led PO2 Dunphy to volunteer with the Nova Scotia Mineral and Gem Society, eventually serving as its president. The society organizes mineral exploration trips, holds monthly meetings with guest speakers, and other activities.

From one “Rockhound” to another, a mineral care package was sent to the community member in Arctic Bay from the Dunphys, and a little piece of Nova Scotia will forever remain in the Canadian Arctic.

As part of Operation Nanook-Nunkaput 21, HMCS Harry DeWolf conducted a series of port visits with Northern communities from their affiliated Qikiqtaani regions.


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