August 8, 2008
Late night update!
Today, after being iced out in Pangnirtung, the team sailed further north along the east coast of Baffin Island and visited a small Inuit hamlet called Qikiqtarjuaq. We hope to visit Pangnirtung on Aug 13 or 14.
Despite the last minute night arrangements, Qik's development officer, Harry Alookie, managed to set up an amazing day of events for us. Thank you, Harry!
Also - happily two of our students who had missed the Iqaluit departure and were waiting for flights out of their local communities managed to make to fly into Qikiqtarjuaq and join the team! Welcome aboard Megan and Oopik - you made it! And thank you First Air for helping to get them there safely and quickly!
We have also received a third and fourth video from the expedition and our technical team is preparing to post it sometime on Saturday!
Alexandra Polasko, Student
Last night as I lay in my bed I thought of a song called “Dare You to Move.” The song talks about taking risks and having the courage to strive after every opportunity you can get. Today I got that opportunity and dared “to move.” This morning, our expedition, not only picked up two new additional students, but we also had the chance to stop in the town of Qikiqtarjuaq of about 500 people. With the barren ground, and lack of pavement, the town does not look like much on the outside; however, on the inside, I found love and life. I was walking down the main road of Qikiqtarjuaq, and a woman standing outside her home asked to me to visit with her. At first, I was not sure, but after thinking about it for a second I decided to take the risk and go over, and it just so happened to turn out that I had just made an amazing opportunity for myself and friends beside me. The woman started out by sharing her lifestyle, culture, and family to us. Then out of no where she invites me into her home to see her family photos, artwork, and treasures they hold dear. It was incredible! There was no text book that could possible explain the home’s true beauty and splendor. Her kindness warmed my heart from the first minute I started talking to her, to the very last minute when we let go after shaking hands again. I came as a stranger and left as a family member. Without her bravery to try something new and take a risk, I would have never had such a moving experience. She “dared to move” and I cannot thank her enough for it. She has showed me that anybody can take risks, and that nobody should stay a stranger. Daring to move, has indeed moved me to dare, dare to take a risk to try new things and chip away at any ice that may be blocking a pathway for my future. Lauren Law, Student
Today I had a very humbling experience. We were welcomed into a small community called Qikiqtarjuaq, which is along the east coast of Baffin Island. About 500 people populate this community and they are very friendly. The Inuit children were very captivated with our digital cameras. I made friends with two little girls who repeatedly took my camera and would take random pictures with it. We had a great time playing tag along the beach, but they ran much faster than I could ever run upon sand. I gave them two bracelets that I had originally woven for myself. It was my token of appreciation from me to them for warmly accepting me into their community.
Later during our visit we got to meet a Qikiqtarjuaq elder who explained the effects of climate change on the community. He has noticed the tides are rising higher than normal and receding out farther than usual. The sun used to move lower in the sky but now is moving higher up. Ice that the Inuit rely on for hunting is also melting earlier. The elder stressed his people need us to change the future. I deeply respected this elder for his wisdom and his optimism. As I looked into the elder’s eyes and shook his hand to thank him for sharing his knowledge I couldn’t help but remember what Ann Hanson said about meeting Inuit elders…“Whenever I shake hands with an elder I feel like I am touching unwritten history”. That will stick with me whenever I come face to face with an elder.
Graham May, Student
Today, for the first time since leaving Iqaluit, we came into contact with civilization, in the form of the small northern town of Qikiqtarjuaq, with a population of 500. It was a bitter-sweet example of how life in the north can be. Many of the issues that Ann Hanson had told us about in her lectures were painfully obvious. For example, the amount of drug use, especially cigarettes, which were smoked by many of the Inuit including members of our own expedition. Issues such as poverty, and amazingly, tuberculosis, are obviously still big problems here, and there is a strong need for help programs such as youth groups.
Despite these problems, many aspects of this little town were healthier than in larger towns and cities. There was a great feeling of community strength and unity, and all of the people, especially the little children, were remarkably accepting of us. Their unusual excitement to see us reminded me that strangers, much less teenage strangers, must be quite a rare occurrence. The whole town seemed glad to meet us, and they were eager to share their culture.
All the people received us very warmly, from the drooling toddlers to the elders who spoke only Inuktitut (the native Inuit language). They were eager to share their culture and treasures with us, complete strangers that they are never likely to meet again. Their unselfish generosity is an inspiration to us all on the ship, and it reminds us that we are not only preserving the world for ourselves, but also for these kind and selfless people, who need nature to survive.
Benjamin Tur, Student
Depuis le début du voyage, je n’ai cessé d’écrire et d’essayer de raconter ce qu’on peut vivre ici, ce qu’on voit, ou encore ce qu’on pense, et ce qu’on entend; mais à mesure que l’on monte au nord, que l’on découvre ce qui nous est permis de voir, il devient de plus en plus difficile d’exprimer avec des mots, à quel point ce qui nous est offert ici par Mère Nature est magique. Alors pour une fois, je ne parlerai pas des paysages grandioses, des phoques ou ours polaires ( que nous n’avons toujours pas eu l’opportunité de rencontrer), ou de la vie sur cette petite arche de Noé; mais de l’accueil chaleureux des populations du Nord Canada. J’ai eu pour habitude d’essayer de rentrer en contact avec les habitants des pays où je vais, d’apprécier leurs cultures, et leur gentillesse, mais il m’est rarement arrivé d’être invité à visiter leurs maisons, capturer des petitsmorceaux de vie en scrutant des photos accrochées sur un mur, partager un court repas avec eux, ou encore confronter les différents aspects de nos cultures respectives. Alors si vous vous demandezcomme moi où passer vos prochaines vacances d’été, je vous répondrai d’essayer de rencontrer ce magnifique qu’est le peuple Inuït.
This just happens to be my first journal published for SOI. I have kind of been putting it off but I know my father is most likely checking the journals daily and most likely shocked that I haven’t written one yet.
First things first: My name is Cori Eide, I am 17 and from Nome, Alaska. I have seen, swam, and lived in the Arctic before, but this has been an amazing journey and we’re only half way through it. Every morning I awake and wonder:“where are we today?”
Believe it or not, the Arctic is very similar to many parts of Alaska. For example, we took a hike up Sunneshine Fiord and there were many times I thought that I was back at home on another hike because of the types of rocks, the tundra, beach combing in the misty weather, and the constant look out for polar bears.
The best part yet about this expedition through the Canadian Arctic is meeting people who are on board. All the experiences and stories we have shared together really inspire me to do greater things. I didn’t think I would meet people who have been to the North Pole, a person with a film based on his life, an artist with such talent, and especially people who have been to my home town! I did expect to meet peers with the same passion and goals as me. On top of that, we became such close friends in a matter of days I am sure we will be a family at the end!
We’ve seen seals, heard interesting and amazing lectures, met locals from Baffin Island, and had so much fun with one another that out stomachs hurt from laughing! Still, there are other activties and sites to see, but right now there is no set itinerary for the next couple of days, due to ice. So for now we’re heading north; further north than expected!
Delphine Rémillard Labrosse, Student
Tôt ce matin, notre bateau, la Lyubov Orlova, qui porte le nom d’une célèbre actrice russe, a jeté l’ancre à Qikirtarjuaq (essayer de le prononcer correctement est vraiment tout un exercice de diction), au milieu des montagnes enneigées, des icebergs grillants au soleil et des méduses. Après une brève, mais enrichissante, introduction à la culture inuite par la commissionnaire du Nunavut, on a littéralement été plongé dedans en visitant la petite communauté de Qikirtarjuaq. Je me rends compte que notre culture tourne beaucoup autour de la jeunesse. On tente par tous les moyens de la préserver. On se tourne de moins en moins vers nos ainés et on les délaisse à un certain point. C’est tout le contraire dans la culture inuite où tout est tourné vers les personnes les plus âgées qui ont acquis la sagesse par leur expérience sur la terre. J’ai passé la journée à jouer avec des enfants dans la terre età échanger avec les habitants dans leur maison (qui sont tous des fans des Canadiens de Montréal). Je sens une certaine déconnection entre nos cultures ce qui peut peut-être expliquer pourquoi on se sent si loin de notre Arctique, alors qu’en fait, on devrait s’en préoccuper autant et encore plus que notre frontière au sud.
C’est incroyable comment les notions de temps et d’espace nous échappent sur les mers. Je ne sais plus quel jour où quelle date nous sommes et c’est un sentiment formidable. Les seuls repères que j’ai c’est l’horizon, le soleil et, bon, quelques GPS….mais quand même, on est dans un grande bulle complètement hors du monde, ne sachant ce qui se passe à ailleurs dans le monde, déconnectés.
Photo by Lee Narraway
Michaela Lurger, Student
Heute war ein atemberaubender Tag! Wir verbrachten ihn in Qikirtarjuag, einem kleinen Dorf nördlich des Polarkreises. Es war so sonnig und warm, dass ich am liebsten in der Arktis schwimmen gegangen wäre. Zum Lunch und Dinner haben wir rohen, frisch gefangenen Fisch bekommen, der unvorstellbar lecker war und keinesfalls mit dem Fisch den wir in Österreich bekommen zu vergleichen ist. Ich hatte das Glück von einer Inuit Frau mit drei weiteren Guys in ihr Haus eingeladen zu werden. Ich durfte ihre traditionellen Mäntel, die sie selbst nähen, anprobieren. Heute nutzte ich die Gelegenheit mich mit diesen Leuten über ihren Alltag und ihre Kultur zu unterhalten. Ausserdem begrüssten wir drei neue Mitglieder auf unserem Schiff, die seit einer Woche versuchten uns zu erreichen, da sie wegen schlechten Wetters in divesen Communities festsassen. Ich sammelte heute sehr viele tolle Eindrücke, Erlebnisse und Sonnenstrahlen! Grüsse an Mama, Papa, Lisa, Hummel und alle anderen! Gute Nacht!
Photo by Lee Narraway
Caitlyn MacMaster, Chaperone
The expedition to date has been full of novel and remarkable experiences, from seal pups and fog bows to local people and fresh char! One of the most interesting phenomena – and one that continues to become ever more fascinating – is the amount of daylight. The sun officially dips below the horizon around 21h00 and the brilliant colours of sunset are visible two hours later. Even at midnight there is enough light in the sky to wander the decks without assistance! The first morning, I woke around 04h00 because of the bright sunlight streaming through the porthole! And as we travel further north – we crossed the Arctic Circle yesterday! – the day continues to lengthen! It was in reflecting upon this wonder that it really sank in to me that I am experiencing a truly rare and wonderful opportunity!
(and in french)
L’expédition contenait plein des expériences nouvelles et incroyable – des jeunes phoques, un arc-en-ciel, des poissons frais, et des gens généreux! Un des choses le plus intéressant est la longueur du jour. Le soleil se couche vers 21h00, et les couleurs sont présentes jusqu'à 23h00! À minuit, il y a autant de lumière pour randonner les planches sans assistance! Le premier matin, je me suis réveillée vers 04h00 a cause de la lumière du soleil dans ma chambre! C’était merveilleux! Nous voyageons à la nord (nous avons passé le cercle arctique hier!), donc chaque jour il y plus de soleil! Il était par penser de cette phénomène que je réalisait quelle chance c’était d’être ici.
Stay Tuned for Further Updates!