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International Polar Year

August 5, 2009

Expedition Update

Click above to watch "Change of Plans"

Good morning!

The team had a wonderful day in breath-taking Auyuittuq National Park yesterday! The weather was sunny and spirits were high. A group of students and staff made the trek to the Arctic Circle and a smaller group hiked to a waterfall in Pangnirtung Fjord. There were a lot of sleepy faces going to bed last night!

This morning, there will be workshops and lectures aboard the Polar Ambassador while it makes it's way into Cumberland Sound. Weather and ice conditions at the mouth of Cumberland Sound have forced us to change plans and this afternoon the team will make their way to Kingnait Fiord and will try to make a Zodiac landing at Kingnait Harbour. Kingnait Harbour is famous because it was home to the very first Arctic stations during the International Geophysical Year in 1957/1958!

Click here to see where the expedition is now with Spot Tracker!

Students and staff hop across rocks in Kingnait Fjord
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Elise Jackson - Student
Kingnait Fjord

I just don’t understand how the days can keep getting better! Each one just seems to be better than the last, although they all seem to be too good to improve upon. We decided to change course (once again) and headed into Kingnait Fjord, an uncharted fjord off Cumberland Sound. We spent the morning in workshops- I went to Ian Tamblyn’s one on music- and having pod group meetings. We also saw some bowhead whales! Several times throughout the morning and early afternoon, Geoff announced sightings, so we rushed to the decks to see them spouting and showing off their tails. We also saw some seals which was cool as well. However, the highlight of my day was our zodiac landing at the end of the fjord, where we did a short hike to a river. It was absolutely stunning- there are no words to describe how beautiful it was, and it would be a terrible injustice for me to even try. It was simply perfect. It was so moving too. We spent quite a long time there, and were allowed to just wander around the area, and spend time either with others or on our own, and I chose the latter option. It was one of the most peaceful, perfect moments of my life. And now we’re back on the boat, waiting for dinner to be served, which will be followed by the usual recap and briefing, where I believe we will find out our plans for tomorrow- whether the ice has shifted enough for us to continue north, or whether we will have to change our plans completely. Whatever happens, I know we’ll have a great time- I know this upward trend is just starting!

Janet Waldon - Staff
It struck me as I reflected on several conversations I have overheard in the last few days that there is an interesting dynamic at work here.  The mix of personalities and ages on the ship are swirling in and out of an interesting situation: the youth seem to hold the adult mentors in a lovely, respectful kind of wonder; they are eager to hear of accomplishments, situations, progressions, setbacks and knowledge – experiences gathered in many lifetimes.  And, just as reverently, this same admiration is mirrored back by the adults of the group to the youth.  They marvel at their creative thinking, their willingness to seek knowledge and the sophisticated passion they hold for the issues we have considered together on board. There is a sincerity in all of this that transcends what I have experienced at other times. It is a very inclusive community that is building; a unique situation that is delightful to witness. I can only wonder where theses new friendships and mentorships will lead in the future!

Pond reflections
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Jenna Gall - Student
Yesterday I had one of the most incredible days of my life. Since we are more than likely not going to be able to make it to the Arctic Circle by ship, we hiked a 22 kilometre trip to the circle through the beautiful Auyuittuq National Park! It was absolutely beautiful scenery; towering mountains, beautiful icy glaciers and gorgeous fierce waterfalls. The hike was a long one, but we all made it and the feeling of getting to the Arctic Circle was absolutely amazing. We all jumped in the river that was flowing by and had a great swim! We also had a really special moment when we were all standing together and sharing feelings and thoughts about the hike and about our journey here in the Arctic and everyone was extremely inspirational.

It is now almost noon here on the Polar Ambassador and we are heading into Kingait Fjord as we speak. We have been spotting whales for over an hour now and we have seen around 6 different whales and just now we got a spectacular view of a big Bowhead Whale right in front of the ship. It was incredible. There are also lots of seals today that we all got to see. I was up around 6 a.m. like usual for a great yoga session and it was especially needed this morning because my body was extremely sore after yesterday’s hike; we were crossing rivers that had extremely strong and powerful currents, climbing rocky cliffs and sand dunes too, so our legs took a endurance test, that’s for sure! I loved every minute of it! I plan to be back to Auyuittuq someday and bring my family and Darren with me because I know that they would absolutely love it! I will be back to this incredible place because today has made its mark on my soul and these are the memories and knowledge that will last forever!

Student Jenna Gall writes in her journal by a waterfall
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Jennifer Castro - Student
Kingnait Fjord, Cumberland Sound

The past week has been the best days of my life, hands down. I have seen and experienced new locations, cultures and even food! It is amazing to be with so many people who share a similar interest in the planet and protecting the environment. Friendships have developed on our stay on the ship and within our groups and pods. I never imagined that in my life I would take part in an expedition like this one.

Yesterday was by far my favorite day; we hiked 27 kilometers to the Arctic Circle. We were faced with multiple situations throughout the day, such as not having enough time to make it to the Arctic Circle in addition to having to cross through six or so strong, deep and wide streams. On the return trip, the streams were even stronger and wider due to the constant melting of the glaciers. We were able to work through these dilemmas and continue on to the end. In the end, the sensation of reaching the Arctic Circle was such a great feeling.

While I was standing at the Arctic Circle and looking around at all of the mountains and landscape, I felt so small and insignificant. At one point many years ago, the exact place where I was standing and the mountains around were completely covered in ice. Then, as the years progressed the ice melted, and more recently human’s impact on the environment has caused the glaciers to melt even more. Not too far into the future, all of these glaciers will be completely gone. The idea that, in such a short time, humans can have such a tremendous impact on the enormous glaciers that have been there for thousands of years is mind-blowing.

Colours of the land
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Jenny Donovan - Student
Cumberland Sound

Yesterday’s hike was amazing!!  Today I am very sore though.  Everywhere you looked it was a spectacular view that took your breath away.  (This made the hike even more difficult.)  The terrain that we had to hike was so different than what I was expecting.  We started off traversing marshy grasses that felt like sponges.  Then, we got to a rocky portion where melting glaciers formed little streams (on the way back these streams were rapids!).  Finally, the last few kilometers were sand!  The Arctic Circle was fantastic! We were all so hot that we decided to go swimming… I did a belly flop in the river.  All in all a spectacular day full of unforgettable moments.

Today we have seen a number of bowhead whales quite close to the ship as well as seals.  We landed on Kingnait Fjord which was a new experience for everyone!  It was one of the stations for the first International Polar Year.  It was gorgeous sitting on cliffs, watching the waterfalls and picking wild blueberries.  Everyday here is just amazing.  Lots of love!

Student Elise Jackson takes a break while hiking in Kingnait Fjord
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Laurissa Christie - Student
We have now been at sea for several days.  This morning we all awoke to rough seas, and for those who went hiking, aching bodies.  As hard as the hike was yesterday, I do not regret doing it and if the opportunity came today I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  Everyday has been better than the day before.  We are all making memories that truly will last a lifetime!  SOI has been a brand new experience for all of us.  This morning was yet another great day! This morning we all went on deck to whale watch!  We saw a ton of bowhead whales, seals, and beluga whales.  It was so cool.  One of them came fairly close to the front of the ship.   This afternoon we did a landing to an incredible island.   It was an old research station for the International Polar Year in 1892, perfect timing for the wrap up of this IPY.  The island is uninhabited and very few people have ever stepped foot on the land.  It was once again another long hike, exploring, running up waterfalls, climbing rocks, and the Arctic terrain.  Every time we walked up a little bit further on the cliffs, we would see a brand new part of the island.  The island should become a ‘World Wonder.’   There is no comparison with what we are seeing, the people we have met, and the experiences we have had to anything else in the world.  The weather has been amazing on the trip, it was cloudy this morning before lunch when we were inside, then the seas calmed down for whale watching, then it started to rain on the zodiacs to the island, but it turned out to be a clear sunny afternoon!

Hiking in Kingnait Fjord
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Nicole Labine - Student
Good morning from the Lyubov Orlova! Yesterday was one of my favorite days on the ship because we got to go for a hike in Auyuittuq National Park. There were two groups of hikers that went off into the park; one travelled to the Arctic Circle and the other the group that I was in did a 10 kilometre hike to a waterfall. We began our hike at around 8:30 a.m. I was in the first Zodiac off the ship and because we were dropped off after the first group the tide had already come out, so we have to travel through mud and water which made some of us wet before the hike even started. The best part of the hike though was when we had to cross fast moving water to make it to the waterfall. Geoff was standing hip deep in the flowing water and helped everyone across however most of us ended up wet but we were able to cross the river safely. Once we reached the bottom of the waterfall the next task was to climb up a hill of rocks which was the way up to the waterfall. It took about 40 minutes to climb the hill but the view at the top was worth it. Upon reaching the top one could see the entire fjord and the glaciers that surrounded the fjord, which were so stunning. And later after talking to Fred Roots (who by the way was able to complete the whole 10km hike) I found out that the glaciers I saw would probably be completely melted in 2 or 3 years, which was very heart breaking. I made sure to take lots of pictures because this beautiful natural landscape I saw is disappearing. And for now this is all I can do, but hopefully in the future I can help stop the melting and disappearing of these landscapes to preserve them for the future.

Rapids and waterfall
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Samantha Giroux - Student
It is such a privilege to be around so many interesting and intelligent people. Everybody is finally getting comfortable with each other, and I have made some really amazing friendships that I know will last forever. Everyone has a great story to tell, and they all have such interesting experiences to tell you about. One of my favourite parts so far is just sitting next to a random person and starting a conversation. I also love seeing a different perspective of the arctic and of my Inuit culture. Sharing my culture and teaching some people Inuktitut words and traditions is awesome because everyone is so interested and eager to learn. I’m proud to say that I try to teach my new friends as much as I can about living in the North.

Bowhead Whale fluke
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Susan Nanthasit - Student
Kingnait Fjord

Yesterday we had two choices. One; we go hiking all the way to the Arctic Circle, which would take 8 hours. Two; we go hiking for 4 hours in the morning and have workshops in the afternoon. I chose the second option because there was more variety. Also, in the first option, I would think that you would not have time to stop and look at the scenery around you. (When the first group came back, they all looked so drained!)

The hike was beautiful. Every now and then when I was huffing about I would stop and look at the scenery and be totally refreshed. Also, the lunch that day was probably the best on the trip we’ve had so far. I don’t know if I’m saying that only because I was tired from the hike.

In the afternoon I got a lot of reflection time, which I love! And we also got to choose an on land workshop. I chose to be a beachcomber and I found some of the coolest rocks! We also found a hunting tool that was used to take the seal out from the hole in the ice. I love just picking around and exploring.

But anyway we were asked to keep our entries short so that there will be space for everyone else’s entries. All I can say to that is ‘I’ll try.’

Tanya Taggart-Hodge - Student
Currently in Kingait Fjord

Sitting across from the Inuksuk representing the line of the Arctic Circle at the 66 ۫ 30’N point in Auyuittuq Park, a waterfall pouring out from a glacier on the mountain top caught my eye. “What do I share with this waterfall?” I thought. As I was caught up in awe and wonder in front of such a sight, it took me a few minutes to begin my reflection. The waterfall is part of something that is greater than it (Mother Nature) – so am I. It is unique and has its own spirit amongst the spirit of the Earth it flows on. I then related to one tiny droplet being part of a whole, just like I am one tiny being amongst thousands of others. This droplet is full of simplicity yet it still chooses its path – I should focus on living more simply and taking the turns that will shape my life path. Suddenly, I felt very sorry for that little droplet as it got pushed by the mass of water around it and then disappeared. Us human beings however usually tend to have a longer life span than that little droplet of water. Although life moves on and we cannot stop time, we still have time to respect and appreciate our surroundings and have a positive impact on the environment that we are part of. This brings me to the power of the idea to move people for a common goal; we hiked 25 km on a terrain that went from sand dunes to Glacier Rivers, rocky paths to fields of grass with one common goal: reaching the imaginary line of the Arctic Circle. If an imaginary line could have such an effect on us, shouldn’t real issues such as climate change and evolving northern communities wake the same determined mindset inside of all us?

Photos by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Taryn Mckenzie-Mohr - Student
Kingnait Fjord, Cumberland Sound

Wow!  I just came inside after watching a Bowhead whale no more than 100 meters from the bow of the ship.  It swam near the surface for several minutes while exhaling before taking a deep dive and showing us its huge tale.  Within the past 45 minutes we’ve seen about 15 Bowheads as well as several groups of Harp seals.  We came to Kingnait Fjord today specifically to see Bowheads and possibly other large Arctic mammals such as Belugas, Seals and Walrus.  In the past, Cumberland Sound was an area where Bowheads were heavily hunted and eventually the whalers developed a permanent settlement on Kekerten Island (which we visited two days ago) so that they could spend more time hunting whales instead of returning to Europe every winter.  Year-round hunting further depleted the species to the extent that it can not be expected to return to its previous size for several generations (the average whale lives over a hundred years and has very few offspring).  The Bowheads were easily hunted due to the large size of their bodies which were visible near the surface.  Unlike most whales, Bowheads have very wide bodies, where most of their mass is concentrated compared to the streamlined physique of many other whale species.

Geoff has just announced over the ship’s intercom that there is a mother Bowhead and her calf swimming beside the ship.  I’ve got to check it out!    

P.S. Happy Birthday Dad!!!  I’m thinking of you :)

Expedition groups gather along the shoreline
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Travis Payne - Student
Kingnait Fjord, Cumberland Sound

Despite not being able to head north due to the ice conditions, the expedition has been great and getting better everyday. It’s hard to believe we still have over half of our time left! Today we are approaching Kingnait Fjord, a fjord in Cumberland Sound that is uncharted and a SOI first; moreover it is an area known for bowhead whales. Let’s hope for some good karma!

Yesterday, we headed to Auyuittuq National Park and hiked approximately 12 kilometres to the Arctic Circle. The scene the entire time was majestic, glacier capped mountains on either side with waterfalls, sand dunes, tundra and even patches of flowers. However, this was no “walk in the park.” There were several streams and rivers that we needed to cross, some that were even waist high! Luckily, the weather was perfect and had most of us in our t-shirts and some even in shorts for the excursion.

Our final destination, the Arctic Circle, was marked with an Inukshuk and a sign that stated our position on Earth. It was a sense of accomplishment, pride and utter amazement. We celebrated as a group by running through the fjord and swimming past the Arctic Circle! To walk past an imaginary line that most people in our great nation never get to cross was an amazing experience and one I will always remember.

Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Mike Jensen - Staff
Kingnait Fjord

I have a feeling this might be a short entry. Not because we didn’t see or do anything of note today, but because I’m soooo tired, I’m falling asleep as I type this. Where to begin… ah, yes, the exhaustion. Everyone was feeling it – breakfast looked like a room filled with sleepy zombies as we staggered around muttering “good morning” to one another with as much zeal as we could muster. Attempts were made at entertainment – workshops, pod team meetings, a lecture on Arctic mammals. But through them all were various bobbing heads, drooping eyes and slumped postures.

Once again, weather has changed our plans as high winds sent us on to our second destination of the day first – Kingnait Fjord. As mentioned, this was a first for Students On Ice, and in fact was uncharted until our ship swooped on in with its depth equipment blaring. And upon entering the mouth of the fjord – success. A quick announcement from expedition leader Geoff Green sent previously sleepy students (and staff) dashing to the decks to peer over the bow. Whales. Bowhead whales to be exact.

And not just one or two. A few dozen of these majestic beasts put on a show for us over the course of the late morning and early afternoon. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed checking out the plants, birds and insects (except the mosquitoes) that have dotted the landscape at our various destinations. But to see these bowhead whales rising to the surface, blowing plumes of water and air and lifting their mighty flukes out of the water was simply breathtaking. It took everything to pull me away.

From there we headed deeper into the fjord. Kingnait Harbour was the site of a scientific station for the first International Polar Year back in I believe 1882. Since then, it has been relatively untouched by humans, except for a sparse set of hunting shacks along the beach. It was announced we would make a landing and to my dreaded ears came the word “hike”.

Having not fully recovered from yesterday’s strain to my personal limit of exhaustion, I did not look well upon the thought of doing another, albeit shorter one, today. But I valiantly threw on the layers and headed out into the zodiac for another run. We landed on a beach with the weirdest set of boulders I had ever seen. It’s like they were fitted together and then smoothed out over time. Turns out, that’s not so far of the scientific truth.

And off we went on another hike. For me, it was another grueling, muscle-straining walk, where I was shedding layers faster than an Arctic hare. Didn’t really know where I was going, but I heard it before I saw it – one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. Of course, by the time I got there, most of the other students had arrived, and they had all decided to go off on their own for some personal reflection time. Some wrote in journals, others sketched. Many went off on their own to have a nap or just stare and contemplate this wondrous place we had lucked upon.

I decided to join them, so to speak, and found myself a place along the edge of the rapids where it dropped off meters away into the frothy waters. And there I sat. It was the first time I had had time to really think on this adventure. And I realized it had been a week since I had worried about work or stressed over whether I could pay my bills.

To some it might seem very lonely to sit there by one’s self for a long period of time. Yet as alone as I was, I wasn’t by myself. All around me were dozens of students and fellow staff that in one week’s time have become close friends and family. We were individually apart, but bonded together by this common experience.

At the same time, my thoughts turned to home. My adventure is now half over and in a week’s time I’ll be saying goodbye to these new friends and returning back home. To my job, my pets, my friends and my family that I truly love but often never take the time to really appreciate them. But I do and I hope they know that. Most especially my Julie, who I hope is reading this and knows how much I miss her and love her.

And now we’re off sailing down through Cumberland Sound heading for who knows what. Even Geoff doesn’t really know. He’s promised us some ice and polar bears. It will be tough to beat out today’s whales, but if anything can, it will be polar bears. “Admiral, there be whales here!” said and excited Montgomery Scott in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. There be whales here, too, Scotty. And who knows what else. Can’t wait to find out…

Expedition Leader Geoff Green
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Collin Fair - Student
Cumberland Sound

The trip, even just being a week into it, has been dramatically more than what I was expecting, and it’ll be hard to give justice to it in reasonably small entry, but I’ll try. Just today 50 or so staff and students went on a 27+ kilometer hike in Auyuittuq National Park, eventually making it to the Arctic Circle, and just the place itself was worth the hike, not even considering the fun everyone had otherwise. Once at the marker for the Arctic Circle, nearly everyone (even Niki, the participant coordinator) jumped into the bitterly cold river running down the valley for a quick swim to cool off, after which we all gathered around the marker (an inuksuk) and talked about the relevance of that place and that moment. That was just today! Yesterday we made it to Kekerton Island to visit a historic whaling station, and in the afternoon we had an amazing visit to the town of Pangnirtung itself, where we had a guided tour to a large variety of very engaging places around town, after the day was finished off amazingly by a community celebration featuring elders from that area answering questions, throat singers (even a few SOI participants tried), and a selection of delicious country foods. In between these events,  while we’re on the ship, there’s always things to do, weather it be talk with the other amazing participants from all over the world (from places like Monaco, NYC, and Rhode Island, in addition to 20 people from the Canadian Arctic`), attend a variety of interesting workshops, or just chat with the over forty highly knowledgeable and engaging staff on board. Overall it’s been a great experience, and I’m sure I am not the only one on the trip that will remember this for the rest of my life.

Expedition participants gather around educator Fred Roots
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Sarah Hennekens - Student
Kingnait Fjord

The past couple of days have been some of the most extraordinary in my life – just to start it off. Two days ago on August 3 we landed on Kekerten Island, which is a historic site of an old whaling station. We had about two hours to wander and look at the artifacts and go to the look out at top. I went to the top right away, and just a little bit higher was a beautiful pond, which lured me to sit at its side. As soon as I got up to it, before having a chance to look around, Johnny – who was on bear watch with Benoit – came up behind me. It was at that moment that my surroundings really hit and tears came to my eyes. I still have no way of explaining what came over me, but the serene beauty, silence and scale of where I was seemed to sink in deeply. Johnny, who had come to tell me that I was a bit farther than I should have been, then gave me hug and sat with me in silence for awhile before heading back down. I will never forget that moment. Later in the day we landed in the community of Pangnirtung where we had a tour of the town and a community presentation of throat singing, Inuit games, accordion playing, and elders speaking. The welcoming feeling of this community was amazing and really makes one feel at ease.

With no idea what to expect, yesterday I went on the 28-kilometre hike through Auyuittuq National Park to the Arctic Circle. About 30 minutes into the hike I was in awe and by the end I was blown away. The hike itself was a good physical workout – climbing over boulders, trudging through sinking sand, sifting through sand dunes, and crossing raging rivers – all the while surrounded by breath-taking mountains and receding glaciers. When we reached the Arctic Circle after four hours of hiking, a few people decided to go swimming, so I quickly took off my layers and was the third person in after Dominique and Johnny. Soon everyone was coming in and going back and forth across the ice cold, refreshing, strong moving river. The ten minutes of silence was a very strong moment of reflection for me and the group circle around the inukshuk left me with a strengthened sense of unity and connection. The hike back was harder with tired legs and stronger rivers – I couldn’t believe that the rivers were bigger and stronger after four hours because the glaciers were melting more after the heat of the day. This day was an incredible experience that I will keep forever and I definitely would like to come back to this place.

I am having an unbelievable time.



Reina Lahtinen, SOI Operations Manager
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Éveline Arpin - Étudiante
En route vers Cumberland Sound

C’est sans aucun doute l’excitation qui me tira de mon sommeil si tôt hier matin. Avant même le réveil de 6h00, j’étais bien éveillée, prête à entreprendre une longue randonnée de plus de 22 kilomètres à travers le majestueux parc national de Auyuittuq. Entre les montagnes gigantesques et érodées par les glaciers, les glaciers eux-mêmes, le désert de sable, les rivières ainsi que les rochers, nous eumes la chance d’atteindre, après de nombreuses heures d’efforts continus, le fameux cercle polaire arctique. Pour être franche, je ne peux dire que la longue ascension a été chose facile, bien au contraire. Nous furent dans l’obligation, plusieurs dizaines de fois, de traverser des rivières particulièrement agitées. Le niveau élevé de l’eau nous força à franchir la rivière par nous même où l’eau parvenait à la taille par endroit. Je dois avouer que je garde des souvenirs mémorables de cette excursion qui nous permis de découvrir une vallée magnifique offrant problement l’une des plus belles vues au monde. Le moment fort de cette journée demeurera bien certainement le sentiment ressenti lorsqu’on a atteint le cercle polaire arctique, 66˚N 30. On prend alors véritablement conscience du privilège que l’on a d’être là où l’on est. Le lendemain, soit le 5 août, nous avons été comblé par le magnifique spectacle offert par les baleines à notre entrée dans un magnifique fjord. Le reste de la journée a été consacré à l’exploration d’un endroit nouveau que même les responsables de Students on Ice n’avaient jamais visité. Une chute tout à fait splendide nous permis de se reposer et d’apprécier le moment présent.

Philippa Gosine - Student
Kingnait Fjord


Once I finally managed to pull myself out of bed after our amazing and absolutely incredible 27km hike to the Arctic Circle yesterday, we headed off to breakfast not knowing exactly what to expect today but being flexible as always. The unexpected is almost becoming the norm on the board, from climbing huge sand dunes to crossing rivers flowing from glaciers on our hike yesterday to changing our course (many times exploring uncharted waters) and it’s what makes this trip so incredible and unique. Today we got another taste of adventure when we discovered pods of bowhead whales and seals in Kingnait fjord. I saw at least 4 whale tails and watched the seals play about in the water, bobbing up and down. We ventured further into the fjord in the zodiacs and stopped in the harbor. We struggled to loosen up our stiff muscles in order to climb to the waterfalls. Once arriving we all took some time to reflect, write, draw or sleep. Lying next to these unbelievably powerful and impressive waterfalls really allowed you to connect back to nature and let us reflect on how we fit in the big picture. Today has not only been about seeing amazing sites but also expressing what we have seen and learnt. This morning I started my first ever oil painting, which Linda is helping me with. Although I’m not expecting too much from my painting, it’s looking better than I expected, definitely has something to do with Linda’s help, and I’m so excited to give it a try. That’s all for now!

Expedition educator Fred Roots discusses Arctic Geology near the shoreline
Photo by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice

Florence Albert - Étudiante
Fjord de Kingait

Après des activités dirigées et un deuxième pod meeting, un exposé sur les mammifères de l’Arctique par l’un des scientifiques était prévu, mais il a dû être reporté car nous venions d’entrer dans un lieu tout à fait inconnu. Il n’existait pas de carte marine de l’endroit, c’est pourquoi un zodiaque précédait le Lyubov Orlova, sondant le fond. Dans ce petit abri, presque de manière ironique avant l’exposé, nous avons pu apercevoir des baleines boréales et des phoques du Groenland tout autour du navire. Certains des scientifiques disent avoir compté une quarantaine d’animaux au total. C’est une consolation car nous ne pouvions pas aller à la baie Isabella, maintenant un sanctuaire officiel pour les baleines boréales, et où nous étions attendus par la communauté de Clyde River. Les baleines se montrèrent encore une fois après le déjeuner et, finalement, l’exposé eut lieu. Après quoi, nous sommes allés à terre, dans Kingait Fjord, marcher un peu sur la terre ferme (enfin pas tout à fait ferme puisque la végétation de la toundra nous conférait des airs de cosmonautes, la terre étant si molle). Le lieu fut l’un des premiers sites de recherche lors de la première année polaire internationale en1882. Un à un, nous nous sommes éparpillés à travers la vallée, prenant du temps pour soi, pour réfléchir et pour être en communion avec la Nature. C’était véritablement un lieu magique. Finalement, ce fut l’heure de rentrer et, sous peu, nous étions couchés.

Stay tuned for further updates!

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