August 17, 2010

Expedition Update

Yesterday was a great day for the team in Kingnait Fjord! The day included an amazing hike to a waterfall and numerous pod sessions were held along the beach, along cliff sides, and on the tundra. It was a busy and exciting day!

Thanks the ship's excellent chefs and crew - the team also enjoyed a big barbecue on shore! Nothing like dining al fresco in the Canadian Arctic alongside a rushing river. So tempting was the water, that some of the staff and students decided that this would be a good location for an Arctic dip! After the barbecue they snapped their expedition group photo and were surprised by a little adventure. During the activities the tide had gone out and left them much further from shore than they had started out, meaning they had to hike and carry their gear out to where the Zodiacs could pick them up. All in all it was a good day of activities and group comraderie.

Butterfly Bay is a large area near the southeast corner of Baffin Island, and this morning’s destination. The Expedition team has been a bit shaken up since last night as the seas which have thankfully been calm for the past couple of days finally gave way to some larger wave and weather action. No matter though, our expedition team moves forward and proceeds as planned thanks to the skilled crew of the M.V. Lyubov Orlova. With Butterfly Bay in our sights, the students will again partake in Zodiac cruises around the bay area and indulge themselves with relevant information during our presentations today on Marine Mammals and Arctic Geopolitics.

The Students will alternate between Zodiac and ship in 2 groups today as no landings will be taking place, it will be a day in the water for the team, exploring and learning about all it has to offer for the numerous marine species that call the Arctic their home.  

After lunch aboard the Orlova the students will engage in a presentation by James Raffan entitled “Packaging Experience” before proceeding to the days workshops. Today workshops will be offered  concerning Packaging Experience II, a continuation of the earlier presentation focusing on developing a presentation/telling your story, Art, Preparing briefing notes for politicians, op-ed articles for newspapers, YouTube videos, etc. There will also be several Meaning-Making workshops by a number of the staff members aboard. 

Following the workshops a hearty meal will be served and then the evening will wind down as staff and students trickle to their bunks and the ship sets sail for tomorrow’s destination, Akpatok Island.

To follow the expedition click the spot logo below:

Also, don't forget to check out the videos page and previous daily pages for new updated content! We constantly receive more from students regarding previous days so be sure you haven't missed a journal and check them out!

Student Journals and Photos by Lee Narraway:

Nicole Rodriguez-Fierro

Cumberland Sound, Sea Day  

These past days have been mind blowing. Two days ago, on the 15th, I hiked in Auyuittuq National Park for around 15 miles and 9 hours. The hike started at 7.30; I was in group 2 along with Tim, Jeff, Bryn, Trevor, Chrissy, David, Ezra, Aanchal, Carlos, Christina, Jacob, Patrick, and Connor. Together we hiked through moss, grass, rock, sand, helping each other the whole way. Our group especially helped each other cross rivers with really strong currents. Crossing the rivers was definitely one of the best parts of the hike for me, even though I had to hike more than half of the hike in wet and heavy boots. It was an exhilarating experience.  At the Arctic Circle, I felt so accomplished and lucky to be there. This hike is one of the most memorable parts of this trip. I will admit the worst parts of the hike were hiking through the sand (it felt like we were in the Sahara and it killed my calves), having to walk an extra mile because the tide had come in, and realizing I had 2 blisters, a blood blister, and a painful sun burn.  Yesterday, the 16th was a relaxing and fun day at Kingnait Fjord. I was not only able to sit on a rock and listen to the rushing waterfall but I also got to join the Arctic swim team. Though the water was painfully freezing it was rewarding to know that this year I have joined both the Antarctic and Arctic swim team. 

I can’t believe we only have 3 days left of the trip, this has been such an exciting journey that I don’t want to end.


Steady Hearts

Zoë Caron, Expedition Staff 

We sail away

Our minds at sea

The wind, she blows

The bow, she sways 

A night, a day

A week, or more

A blur, she be

A dream, some say 

The lands, they rise

The tides, they play

Above calm seas

Beneath vast skies 

Here and now

And now and then

A mind will pause

A head will bow 

Of time, of place

Of saving grace

Of air so cool

Across my face 

We sail away

“The end,” we say

But truth be told

These hearts will stay


Art Sateana

We saw bowheads yesterday and there were over 10! It was amazing. Before everybody saw them, I was outside looking for them and there was one right beside the ship swimming on it’s side with its fin pointed towards me. It was only 10 feet away from the ship! That made my day.


Bryn Dhir


Lessons in disguise:
Kuujjuaq: The more you learn, the more you realize how little you actually know.
Diana Island: There is a power of place, and a power of environment. Sometimes, there truly are no words to describe an emotion or feeling.
Digges Island: Learn to smile every day. It will change your outlook, and also influence someone else’s day.  Take memories and leave as little foot steps as possible so that others may enjoy it, as you did.
Cape Dorset: The power of people conversing and sharing stories is more powerful than reading about it in a text book.  Relationships formed with people, places and things happen for a reason, and truly are life long.
Pangnirtung: Respect starts with looking people in the eyes and wanting to understand.  Listen with a whole heart and share with them, how you feel.
Kekerten: Spiritual and humbling experiences are hard to capture on camera. Sometimes, the only way to understand is to truly experience it first hand.
Sea Days: The chance to be conveniently isolated on board with your ship family means sharing stories and getting to know each other. The end of a journey does not mean goodbye, but rather a chance to say, see you soon.
Auyuittuq National Park, The Arctic Circle: Travel the journey that you have created for yourself. In the end, the path taken to realize your goal is but just a minor detail in the story of your voyage.


Hannah teaches Norm to throat sing

Hannah Jacobs

Davis Strait 

We are currently surrounded by thick fog, which makes distinguishing the sky from the sea impossible. We have a day of workshops and presentations ahead of us and if we can keep up our speed we may make it to the Lower Savage Islands by tonight. Yesterday was the last of our hikes and our last time on Baffin Island. We arrived at Kingnait Fjord where we hiked to an Arctic Shangri-La where I was able to sit and reflect beside a stunning waterfall and eat blackberries right off the bush. Once we headed back to the landing site the ship’s crew had brought ashore a couple BBQs and enough food to feed an army. The BBQ was followed by the polar dip, which means I can now say I am part of both the Arctic and Antarctic swim teams! Jolly is now setting up some of his prints so I am off to admire the work of a printing master.


Megan Schlorff


I just came in from watching the northern lights. They were absolutely spectacular tonight. There were many different colours dancing across the sky. Tonight there were also many stars out twinkling. It was a beautiful sight to see the entire sky taken over by colour and lights. I would definitely say that seeing the northern lights was the highlight of my day. Today I also released the rest of my bottles into the ocean with the bottle drift project. We spent the day traveling so we had all of our activities on the boat today. I attended some great workshops, including one about presenting my journey at home. I’m so excited to share all of my pictures and stories. I can’t believe that tomorrow is our last day on the ship! The entire journey has gone by so quickly!

Happy birthday Grandpa!


Hugh and Niki practice throat singing

Olivia Rempel

Davis Strait  

It was a sea day, and they let us sleep in! Until 8 AM… However, routine beat exhaustion, and I was up at 7:30 AM. We had entered the rough waters of the Davis Strait, and the ship was once again engulfed in a cloud of fog. There was very little to see outside, and most of the day was spent inside, attending workshops and presentations.  In the afternoon, Eirik and I helped Pascale edit the International Year of Youth video (she actually let me use the editing program). I enjoyed snipping up the footage; however, they also pinned me down and interviewed me for the video. Talking in front of a camera is not a skill of mine.

 Later that day, between workshops and presentations, we threw the last of the bottles from the ‘bottle drop’ over the railing. I tossed my bottle, (which contained a note and paper crane) into the ocean and watched various other people do the same. The most memorable throw, by far, was Dr. Terry’s, which was done with elaborate enthusiasm (I captured the moment in a mini stop motion movie).


Tegan Schellenberg

In the Middle of Fog 

          Yesterday, we went to a place that was absolutely beautiful. A plane flew overhead, and I had to wonder if those people knew exactly what they were flying over. It was an Arctic Paradise, complete with waterfall and tropical looking waters. It was there that we had a beach BBQ and went for the official Arctic Swim, making it my second. There was also a short hike involved which showed me exactly how my body had suffered during the first, much longer hike. Thankfully, today is a restful sea day. It’s much colder than previous days, and certainly contains more fog. We truly are sailing into a giant mass of white unknown.



Jessica Magonet

 I’ve been taken. Totally and utterly taken by this place that is the Arctic.I’ve been taken by the trees that cling to the ground for warmth, by the little berries that hide between the moss, by the silly walruses, by the people who so readily share their ancient language and tradition, by the endless sky.I’m lost here, and happily. We visited Kingnait Fjord yesterday, a Shargi-La lost in uncharted waters. I found a nook between a rock and moss, and sitting before a waterfall, surrounded by life, I felt protected by something greater than myself.

It’s going to be utterly impossible to leave.



Mike Jensen

I’ll actually start this entry with the moments just after submitted last night’s entry. As we headed out of Cumberland Sound for the Davis Strait, the swells started to pick up, along with one heck of a good wind.

Since we had a few minutes before student curfew, I grabbed my windbreaker and headed out to see what a true sea wind felt like. I could come up with all sorts of clichés to describe it (takes your breath away, sweeps you off your feet), but it still wouldn’t do it justice.

Just another experience on my second Arctic expedition that I can’t put into words.

It’s pretty obvious that there’s a lot to the Arctic that can’t be put into words. That’s why a big component of our voyages is documented on video. We have two videographers on board – Alex Taylor and Pascale Otis. Both are Arctic explorers in their own sense, but have temporarily given up those titles to record our exploits for posterity.

The journey of how one of our videos is made is quite extraordinary. Both Alex and Pascale head out with the students on landings and zodiac cruises. One usually captures the candid moments and reactions of the students, while the other makes sure to film all the sights that we get to see. Together, with a bunch of interviews with staff and students, they gather all the raw footage they need.

If our landings or cruises took place in the morning, Pascale would then hibernate into her cabin-turned-editing-suite for the afternoon, barely coming out for air and food. It would seemingly be a daunting task to edit the enormous amount of footage taken during our always-eventful excursions.

Yet somehow, in time for our daily briefing in mid-evening, in would walk Pascale with a thumb drive in hand and a tired smile on her face. And then we would sit in awe as she paraded her five-minute masterpieces on the large screen in front of us.

As always, thunderous applause resounded through the ship as the credits flashed on the screen. But Pascale’s (and often, Alex’s) job was far from done. Next up is the arduous task of getting the video out to the world via satellite transmission.

This involves climbing up to the top deck of the ship, no matter what the weather or sea conditions. Often it takes multiple attempts to successfully send the videos, photos and our journal entries (including the one you are reading), before it’s received by the Students On Ice head office in Ottawa and uploaded to their website.

If you haven’t already checked out these great videos, please do so. Because if pictures really do say a thousand words, then you are in for a one heck of a long novel…

Tomorrow, we race towards Ungava Bay to start our journey home. In the morning, we’ll stop for a cruise around Akapatok Island, home to a large collection of seabirds. Then it’s back to the ship to begin a long period of celebration as we wrap up our time on the ship.

LAST MINUTE UPDATE! Northern Lights! As we ended our evening briefing, word got out that there were some aurora to be seen. I quickly grabbed my warm weather clothes and headed out to the bow of the ship. There, I saw one of the most spectacular displays of northern lights that I have ever seen!

Curtains of green and white, tinged with purple, danced across the sky above our heads. As people gazed with awe, the astronomer in me came out, and before long, all sorts of constellations, planets (well, one anyways) and other nighttime sights were getting pointed out.

Alas, curfew hit and the impromptu astronomy workshop was put on hold for a while. Who knows, maybe I’ll get another chance before this expedition is over.


Connor and Carlos in karate workshop


Geoff with Monaco students Julie and Marine


Geoff with Norwegian students Ingrid and Eirik


Geoff with Brita sponsored students Fatin, Moe and Uliana


Geoff with Youth Science Canada sponsored students Estelle, Arctica and Megan



© 2010 Students on Ice
All Rights Reserved

Natural Heritage Building
1740 chemin Pink
Gatineau, QC J9J 3N7