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International Polar Year

August 12, 2008

Kivitoo / Eastern Coast of Baffin Island:

Photo by Lee Narraway

Late night update!

We haveupdated many photos and journals from the past two days - so please visit the August 10 and August 11 pages for some spectacular images and first hand accounts of the team's visit to Isabella Bay and Sam Ford Fjord.

Currently, the ship is travelling southbound through the Davis Strait.

After reaching 71 degrees north, it is time to turn the ship around and start heading in the dirction of Iqaluit. Though there are many more exciting days ahead!

After so many action-packed days, the team had a bit of a sleep-in this morning (till 7:30 am) and a morning at sea for lectures and workshops. Don Walsh and David Gray gave a lecture on Arctic History, and many students are continuing their print making and water painting work with Jolly and Lee.

They also had their first taste of open seas and a moving ship! No serious sea sickness was reported though our expedition physician Dr. Bryan Cummings was standing by with the requisite barf bags and dramamine tablets! Despite the moving ship - we had a 100% turn-out for lunch! (For the first five minutes anyway!)

Later in the afternoon, the team made a landing at an old whaling station found in a n abandoned community called Kivitoo.

Read first hand accounts below!

Photo by Lee Narraway

Alexandra Polasko, Student

Today I woke up to a peculiar feeling on the ship, it felt like my stomach was being turned upside down, and as I found out at yoga, it was. This morning was the first time the Lyubov Orlova experienced rough seas. Luckily for me, I don’t get sea sick, so it made the experience all the more fun; Amber went full force through yoga and adapted the moves to help us stay balanced. Then, we headed up to the top deck to get some fresh air that was going at an incredible force of 45 knots! It was exhilarating standing on the top of the deck having the wind blow so hard on your face that tears automatically trickle down. My love for the ship and its unique opportunities grows more and more every day. Every aspect of mother-nature takes on a different feel when you’re on a ship; the ship gave me a new perspective on the wind today. It was numinous.

After breakfast, we headed to our workshops. Today was one of the best workshops / lectures I have ever been to in my entire life. Amber gave a slide show lecture on climate change, the causes, the effects, and what we have already done and can do to help slow global warming. Then we had a quick lunch, and got ready to go for a shore landing at Home Bay. The bay was sublime; it had every kind of bone of every kind of animal I could possibly think of in the Arctic. There was everything from polar bear skulls, and dog teeth, to an old whaling shack from the 1800’s. The adventure was not only insightful, but interesting. I felt like a detective trying to find out what bone went to which animal, and what chain went to which machine. Then finally, we came back, had a wonderful dinner, where Ophelia and I shared ideas about our new project. To sum it all up; today was another day in paradise.
Benjamin Tur, Student

Je ne me suis jamais intéressé à la géologie, et je pense que peu de gens le sont, mais si on tente de voir les choses sous un autre angle, on peut comparer chacune de nos actions à une des pierres de cette plage. Une action négative pour l’environnement aussi petite soit elle, est une pierre qui disparaît. Une action positive est un grain de sable qui apparaît. Si je parle de cette plage, c’est parce que nous y sommes débarqués aujourd’hui, après un début de tempête plutôt intense, un bref aperçu de la puissance de mère nature qui m’a littéralement soufflé. Cette ancienne station déstinée à la chasse à la baleine, complètement désertée, est un lieu où le temps s’est arreté pour plus d’un siècle, un lieu encore chargé d’Histoire et d’histoires, qui mérite donc des miliers de grains de sable.
Photo by Lee Narraway

Graham May, Student

This morning I awoke to the feeling of gentle rocking, but as soon as I was out of bed I realized how definitely un-gentle it was. After over a week of incredibly good weather, we had finally hit some rough seas. This caused some havoc on board: yoga was an interesting experience as we swayed back and forth, and several expedition members spent the morning an interesting shade of green. As unpleasant as this was, I saw it as an important part of our expedition.

The main event of the day was a zodiac landing in Kivitoo, in Home Bay. We arrived in an abandoned whaling station with the ruins of an ancient Inuit community. The area was an archeologist’s dream. The ground was littered with old cans, oil drums, polar bear skulls, and one remaining structure: a eighteenth century shack. It was the kind of place where one could spend days, looking at the artifacts, speculating on what they were, sketching them, and learning about them. There was so much to soak up there, and it was a sublime test of will power to walk through the site without stopping every two steps to look at some fascinating tidbit of history. I then joined the Oceanography group, and netted the arctic sea for zooplankton! The skills we are learning on this journey are truly unique.

As we near the end of our journey I am always finding myself wishing for more time than I have. There is so much to see up here, and so much to learn from the people we are here with. It is hard to believe how quickly the end is coming, and we need to take advantage of every second we have left.
Photo by Lee Narraway

Photo by Lee Narraway

Rohit Mehta, Student

Our Climate Future

I have been thinking a lot about why I have come on this expedition. Over meals and during our free time, we commonly ask each other what brings us here. For me, the need to take action and create meaningful change is my main reason.

These words are over-used very often, to “take action” and create “meaningful change.” I have witnessed workshops that wowed participants, and protests that seemed to change the world. For me, activities such as these create meaningful change. But I am looking for something greater.

I have come to the arctic to be inspired by its beauty, and this place is a big deal. For me, it’s about more than creating a presentation or a workshop or writing an article. I want to create radical change that will have impacts, and I recognize that today’s radical times call for radical measures.

I had a discussion during today’s hike about how so many of us environmentalists are motivated, yet lack the resources or capacity to mobilize our peers. I have been lucky to be a part of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, where I have experienced the meaning of a climate change movement. Throughout all of my experiences though, I have always wondered how I can make a more meaningful impact.

As I search for ways to create radical change, or combine ideas to create a new radical idea, I wonder how we can mobilize today’s youth, to create tomorrow’s climate future.
Sonora Williams, Student

Dear Journal,

Well, we finally had the rough seas everyone asked for. I experienced the whole shebang first hand. When the water calmed down, my stomach became untied. Next we had workshops and I continued with my printmaking. Today I took on the ominous igloo with thirty holes to cut out. After the workshops everyone was exhausted from seasickness medication. I was tuckered out from trying to stand upright. When lunch rolled around I remembered how much a good meal can make you feel, and how much I love the Russian cooking staff. After the lunch we made a landing on Kivitoo. I made a lovely sketch of a view out through a window. Later I broke a few language barriers while talking to Elsa. With the help of another student I explained the word “skunk”. Life doesn’t get any better than this. Meredith Burgess, Student

Wow, the last few days have been amazing!  I’ve never been more awed in my life.  When I looked at one of the polar bears through the binoculars and watched how graceful and majestic its muscles moved, and the way it looked at us, I knew right then that it was the King of the Arctic. 

Then there were the whales in Isabella Bay.  Just listening to them breathe was enough to take my breath away.  I was completely frozen; it was like time stood still.  I couldn’t even bring myself to take a decent picture.  All of my reactions were delayed, I was so awestruck.

I feel like this trip has changed me so much.  I’ve grown so close to these people over the last ten days.  It’s like we have known each other our whole lives.  Our discussions that are meant to be short and sweet typically end up lasting two or three hours.  Some of my friends are new, and some are old.  We all have so much in common and so much to talk about.  I can honestly say that I’ve never been this happy in my entire life.
Meagan McLay, Student

What a day! This morning we woke to a very swaying ship and it was the best. It was about time we had some rough water! I did an interview over the phone with CBC Labrador just before lunch. I was really nervous, but after I prepped with William George I felt a lot more confident. I got to see the ship’s bridge. It was really something to see the command post of the boat. After lunch, we made a landing at Kivitoo and did some workshops. It was a really fun afternoon. I was sitting on the grass with Jessica and I noticed that one of the sailors that stayed on the beach to help with the zodiacs was scurrying about, chasing a lemming that was running around. Then Phil, Stanley and Charlie went and joined him. I thought no matter what language they speak, all guys are the same. It was really funny watching them and I had a fantastic time today.
Photo by Lee Narraway                                                                                

Stay Tuned for Further Updates!


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