Evan Drake, a Surrey resident, is featured on the CBC television series “High Arctic Haulers.”

‘Hard life’: Surrey ship crew member recalls time aboard TV’s ‘High Arctic Haulers’

Evan Drake is featured in series currently shown on CBC

Surrey’s Evan Drake is on a high after being featured in a new television series about cargo ships and the people of Canada’s northern communities.

The Fraser Heights-area resident was a crew member aboard the Sedna Desgagnes for filming of High Arctic Haulers, a CBC “factual series” produced by Great Pacific Media.

The series, filmed across Nunavut, offers a look at some residents of Canada’s remote north and the men and women who help provide their lifeline to the outside world. They are linked by “the summer sealift,” when ships loaded with critical cargo travel annually to deliver food, clothing, supplies and pieces of infrastructure.

Drake, 23, was aboard the ship for nearly two months during filming last summer, before he left to come home.

“It’s a hard life, and you kind of get cabin fever because you’re stuck on this boat the whole time,” said Drake, who now works for BC Ferries.

“Watching the show,” he added, “it’s interesting seeing how the people live in the communities we were in. Because we never left the ship, I didn’t meet them but the camera crew really focused on their lives and how it’s pretty tough for them in such a remote area.”

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Drake was hired as a cadet aboard the ship after earning an officer’s ticket in a course at BCIT.

While loading for the voyage in Montreal, he and the others aboard the ship noticed a camera crew setting up.

“We had no idea what the cameras were all about,” remembered Drake, who grew up in Port Moody. “We thought it was for a training video, and nobody knew what it was about at first, so it was a bit of a surprise when they said they were making a documentary.”

He added: “I’m a bit of an introvert, so it’s a bit weird for me to be on television like this.”

The series airs Sundays at 8 p.m., and can also be viewed on the gem.cbc.ca website.

High Arctic Haulers shows “culturally rich and diverse communities – people who choose to live in some of the harshest conditions in the world,” according to a press release about the seven-part series.

“With no dock for the ships to tie up to, the precious cargo is pushed ashore by tug and barge – racing the falling light and tides. For generations, supplies have been delivered this way – skillfully guided by crew members aboard the ships of Groupe Desgagnés Incorporated, who battle elements, unpredictable ice and winds at the top of the world. The responsibility is enormous. If the cargo fails to get through, it can mean another twelve long months of doing without. In the quest to deliver essential goods to Canada’s far north communities, a missed delivery is not an option.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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