August 7, 2010: Ungava Bay, Hudson Strait & Diana Island

Dr. David Gray says this muskox on Diana Island
was likely killed by wolves

Expedition Update - 11:15am

We have also just updated many new photos and student journals on yesterday's Daily Update page (August 6)! You can also view a short video of yesterday's departure from Ottawa and the team's visit to Kuujjuaq on our Expedition Videos page. Click here to watch it now. The video format is called QuickTime which is standard with most computers, but if you have trouble viewing it, you may need to install the proper program. Click here to install the proper program.

Our team is currently steaming across Ungava Bay and nearing the Hudson Strait. They are en route to their their first landing at Diana Island early this afternoon. Diana Island is located in the southeastern region of the Hudson Strait - and is home to many caribou and musk ox! Today will be the first opportunity - outside of some hiking in Kuujjuaq - for students to stretch their legs and finally explore some real Arctic tundra!

To view their current location on our SPOT GPS page, click here.

Their first morning on board the ship will be a busy one! Right after breakfast, the students will meet with Dr. Eric Mattson who will introduce them to a unique Bottle Drift Research program - where the students will learn all about ocean currents. To learn more about this program visit the Fisheries and Oceans website.

Students will also learn about Terrestrial Mammals, courtesy of Dr. David Gray, and later, will participate in a Zodiac Safety Briefing. Zodiacs are sturdy inflatable boats - popularized by Jacques Cousteau - and they are our means of transportation between the ship and shore. Often, too, we use zodiacs to explore ice fields, bird cliffs or whale pods.

Journal Entries:

Andrew Wong, Student

Near Diana Island, Northwest Passage, Nunavut, Canada

Hello everyone! Today I woke up to the sound of mighty waves crashing against the hull of the ship. I am sharing a cabin with Fatin, and was just telling him this morning how unbelievable it is that we are sleeping only meters away from the ocean! When I woke up, it took me a good ten minutes to stand up properly and orient myself because the waves were rocking the ship so much. Unfortunately, many of the students and even some of the Russian crew were getting very sea sick (I took sea sick medicine). After the morning's presentation about adventuring, we were faced with a fire drill. Also in afternoon we had a workshop on Arctic mammals such as the Musk Ox in preparation for our very first landing on to Diana Island in Nunavut! By 'landing', I mean riding the Zodiacs to reach the shore from the ship far offshore. Our trip by Zodiac from the anchored ship to Diana Island felt mysterious (like in the King Kong movie); the thick fog hid the silhouette of the Island. On the island, I discovered many new and interesting findings. My new Inuk friends Hannah, Jonathan, Jennifer, and Art showed me where to find wild blueberries and other edible (but sour!) plants. Our entire group also found the remains of a Musk Ox, a Narwhal bone, and a caribou antler on shore. It was so fascinating! Apparently our plans for tomorrow have changed...we don't exactly know where we are going tomorrow because of the weather, but we're going west in the Northwest Passage!


Carly Roome, Student

Kuujjuaq, Quebec/ Diana Island, Hudson Strait

So sorry for not writing a blog yesterday- it was so busy all day that I completely ran out of time! So today I will write an extra good one!

Niki's voice came through the speakers at EWC in Ottawa bright and early in the morning- 5:30 am. We all quickly needed to brush our teeth and head downstairs so that the staff could organize all of the bags. Once everyone received a breakfast/ snack- we all crammed into the buses that took us to the airport. Lucky for us, our buses drove us right onto the tarmac, next to our charter plane. Soon after, we were flying on our way to Kuujjuaq, QC.

The first thing I noticed about Kuujjuaq were the trees- they were a rich, emerald green colour that were growing on top of the rocky ground. Even though it was overcast and 12 degrees, I was just so happy to be there! Once we landed and got off the plane, we had a great BBQ- where I tried char! It was good! We also got to hear some wonderful throat singing from some students on the expedition (Kuujjuaq is their hometown). We got to hear speeches from the mayor, the senator and also, Peter Mansbridge! We took a small tour of the town, seeing their grocery store and their handcrafted art store. Then it was time to get on the Lyubov Orlova (a Russian ship)- our home for the next few weeks! Unfortunately it was pouring rain for most of the afternoon, so we were all even more excited to get on board- to get out of the cold rain! Getting to the ship was a journey all itself! We were split into groups and taken by bus to the 'beach'. There, our bags were searched and we were also scanned by the crew of the ship, in the pouring rain remember! Then we had to get on the life jackets and walk down the slippery walkway were we loaded into the Zodiacs in the rough sea water! From shore, it was a 15- 20 minute bumpy, wet, cold, yet exhilarating ride to our ship. It was so incredible!

Once dried and fed, we pulled up the anchor and drove through the night in the Arctic bumpy waters. I am proud to say that I did not get sick! I was definitely woozy from the 3 ½ – 4 meter swells that the ship went through, but I was mostly drowsy from the swaying of the ship. I stuck to chamomile tea for breakfast, but was courageous enough to eat the amazing lunch that was served. Today, we went to Diana Island to see some Musk Oxen, but unfortunately we weren't able to see any. We did see a carcass of a dead one, though. Diana Island was unbelievable. It smelled so fresh and looked so amazing! It was very foggy so we couldn't see far into the distance, but I liked it anyway. It made it seem even more magical and mysterious hidden behind the thick fog. We learned about new plants and a lot about the Musk Oxen. It was too bad that we didn't see any, though. We did see our first icebergs today, too!! That was incredibly exciting, for me at least! The ship went right by it, and we could see the massive size of the berg even though we were quite far away. The enormity of the iceberg was unbelievable, though we couldn't even see 90% of it. I think I have written enough to make up for not writing yesterday, eh? Okay, so I will say bye, until next time!

Christina Rodriguez-Fierro , Student

Wow! That’s what has been running through my head ever since I boarded the ship. It’s surreal to think that I am in the Arctic, sailing by icebergs and just beginning this amazing adventure. Though it’s raining outside and the boat is rocking heavily back and forth I am still having one of the best times of my life. This morning, right before I was about to become very close friends with a handy paper bag, I stepped outside and looked past the choppy Arctic waters towards the horizon. With cold wind entering my lungs and pellet like rain hitting my face I just looked out to the straight line where the sea met the sky and I felt calm. My stomach (fortunately) settled, my mind cleared and I just let myself be taken in by the ocean and the few but still amazing icebergs that occasionally appeared. This tranquil feeling was abruptly halted when I looked to my right and saw poor old Connor puking over the side of the boat. I looked at him and looked back out to sea but the noise of him evacuating his stomach made me loose my concentration. But the few minutes that my peace of mind lasted were amazing and I can guarantee that on this 14 day expedition I will have many moments when I can just look out into the Arctictundra and soak it in.


Connor Scheu, Student

Last night I stood on the upper deck of our new home. The great dark expanse of the Arctic sea stretched out before me. I suddenly realized that the most enigmatic circle in our world is that which lies at the extent of our vision. The curve where sea and land meet sky truly does describe the very nature of humanity. To pursue the unknown, and draw the circle wider.


As I stood in that place, I became more aware of the company I share on this voyage. Three of my new Inuit friends stood beside me. They taught me of the art of throat singing. These young girls, who at first appeared like many others I have encountered in my life, were suddenly transformed by this ancient song.


It begins slowly, like the coming of a great wind, and suddenly you are transported to a place that lies beyond all boarders, that is removed from time. The spiritual energy ignited my skin with movement, a veritable migration of goose bumps. I was entranced by the rhythmic swaying of knees, hips, and sounds. Hearts and minds beating as one, a true and intimate connection on every possible level.


What has man gained by technological advancement, and what does humanity risk losing?


Estelle Simon, Student

Ungava Bay vers Diana Island             

Ce matin, je me suis réveillée avec uns surprise “that I was not expecting at ALL!” Le mal de mer! Jamais je n'aurais pense que cet énorme bateau et cette mer peu agitée me rendraient malade. Âpres avoir regardé l'horizon et respire de l'air  frais, je me suis rappelée tous ces périples dans les Caraïbes et comment dormir était la solution idéale. La houle avait des vagues de 3 à 4 mètres, ce qui n'est pas très gros vu la taille du bateau, mais tout de même! Comme moi, plusieurs ont trouvée le réconfort à travers les biscuits soda, les gravols et les sofas. Tellement qu'à un certain moment, le bateau ne contenait que des “dead bodies”. Doctor Terry m'a dit que 80% de l'équipage était malade! Nous avons finalement survécu et nous reprenons tranquillement vie. Je dirais que le seul point positif d'être sur le pont a se changer les idées est que nous avons aperçu nos premiers icebergs. Notre bateau semblait perdu dans la brume et puis soudain, une énorme forme bleue sortait de l'eau, “in the middle of nowhere”, a seulement quelques mètres du bateau. C'était géant, imposant, impressionnant. Le problème est que comme j'étais malade, je n'avais pas ma camera... je garde le souvenir dans ma tête...

Nous sommes sortis sur terre, ce qui a fait beaucoup de bien à nos estomacs et équilibrés fragiles  débalancés! Nous marchions à travers ce paysage rocailleux et brumeux, où la végétation tente de se frayer une place parmi les roches. Nous étions à la recherche de bœufs musques, puisqu'il y en a beaucoup sur l'ile, mais la visibilité réduite ne nous permettait pas de voir bien loin. En revenant vers la plage, entre deux roches, nous avons aperçu un énorme bœuf musque male mort depuis quelques saisons et drôlement bien conserve! C'est une chance que nous ayons vu cet animal de si près! Espérons que demain, mon estomac se portera mieux!

P.S. - J'ai mangé des bleuets et des canneberges!


Paul Hamilton teaches students how to collect & process water samples
at Diana Island

Hardy Strom, Student

Diana Island

Today was quite the day of ups and downs.  As soon as I was up, seasickness hit me, along with many more on the ship.  Although being sick for all of the morning and part of the afternoon, I could not help but feel this is an other of the many experiences that come along with this expedition.  Good or bad, I can almost say that this trip is incomplete without being sick over the side of the boat, almost. 

Our zodiac trip and hike to Diana's Island was a nice change to the constant rocking of the boat.  The rocky hills and beautiful scenery combined with an eerie fog made for an extremely awe inspiring moment.  Although no living muskoxen were found, we discovered a carcass of one, which was almost as exciting but most likely more educational, because we could see it up close and discuss a cause of death.

We just finished supper, so I'm hoping to keep it down when the ship starts moving.  I heard tonight we a filming a discussion segment for the national, and then a good nights sleep will be apreciated.

Well, that's all for today, love you mom and dad, and whoever else has read this. 


Ingrid Skjoldvaer, Student

Ottawa/Kuujjuaq/Diana Island

First journal entry! And my first day on board Lyubov Orlova. I'll start with a short summary of the last few days (since I so far have neglected my journal duties...)After a long flight of about 11 hours I finally arrived in Ottawa Wednesday night. I was so excited to meet the rest of the expedition team at last after months of waiting. The following day we were the guests of honor at the Launch event of the expedition at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Eirik (the other Norwegian) and I met up with Kari and Randi from the Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa.

Friday morning we boarded our flight to Kuujjuaq in Nunavik, Quebec. Two events stood out for me that day: In Kuujjuaq we visited the local community centre where the local kids can hang out, play, dance, watch TV and have a hot meal. I think places like that are super-important in a small community like Kuujjuaq where there are not many things to do for youth. The other major event yesterday was when we finally boarded the ship after days and months of waiting for the expedition to begin.

Today (7th of August), the majority of the expedition members (me included) have spend the day being seasick in pretty rough seas. So until 4 pm our lectures of the day were more of a personal kind, learning not to puke towards strong winds. We anchored up off shore Diana Island. We were told the chances of spotting musk-oxen were quite big. The landscape here is bare, spectacular and to quote my fellow Norwegian Eirik, resembles the high mountains of Norway or the landscape in Finnmark. Unfortunately we didn't spot any musk-ox except a dead one (which our musk-ox expert David said was the next best thing).

I'm really enjoying days here in the Arctic. Tomorrow is my birthday by the way. I'm turning seventeen!


Jacob Swan, Student

Ungava Bay

Jacob here.  As we cross Ungava Bay towards Diana Island, half of the crew is sea sick. The seas are super rough and it’s disheartening to see so many seasick. Even some of the Russians who crew the boat are sick. In happier news, we've seen three icebergs so far off the port side, and are heading to island where we will hopefully see Musk ox. Haven’t  gotten sick yet, so hopefully my sea legs come soon because at the moment walking is very very difficult.  Until next time.  Jacob


Khloe Heard, Student

At sea somewhere beyond Ungava Bay, Khloe Heard 18.  Today is day 4 of my Arctic Adventure, everyone around me has a green tinge to their visage due the 3 meter swells that the boat is powering through. I have never seen so many people suffer from seasickness, but I guess it is character building.

 I saw my first ever iceberg, it was amazing. I didn’t realize they were so blue with so many different textures and stripes. Wide open water with these icebergs I did not know that happened. You can see them eroding away from the waves. Just spectacular!

The plan for the day is to anchor at Diana Island and take a zodiac and go and see some Muskox and do a little bit of hiking! I am looking forwards to it! Until next time!




Students Estelle, Andrew & Alyssa

Marine Riponi, Student

Mon Dieu, quelle sale matinée !! Mal de mer horrible qui a touché beaucoup de monde, dont moi. J'ai assez mal dormi, me réveillant tout le temps. Au matin, quand je me suis réveillée, j'avais le cœur au bord des lèvres et j'ai vomi quelques minutes plus tard dans un sachet. Le docteur m'a donné un médicament, et je suis allée admirer l'horizon, puis je me suis endormie sur le canapé, au milieu de tous les autres malades qui m'ont rejoins petit a petit. Je me suis réveillée plusieurs fois et, a 13h, je me suis réveillée une dernière fois et le mal de mer avait miraculeusement disparu ! En fait, c'est juste que les vagues allaient maintenant dans le même sens que nous, du coup le bateau ballotait beaucoup moins. Pendant cette horrible matinée, j'ai loupe les 2 premiers icebergs. J'aurai voulu aller les voir et les prendre en photo, mais j'étais trop malade pour m y résoudre.

L'après midi, on a eu un speech sur comment monter et descendre d'un zodiac puis des mesures de sécurité sur le bateau en cas d'urgence. Nous avons ensuite fait un test qui s'est bien passe.     Nous avons enfin embarque pour notre première expédition sur le sol Arctique, sur Diana Island! C'était GE-NIAL ! Le sable de la plage est gris, il y a des algues orange et des petites herbes vertes. Ensuite le sol est couvert de mousse différente de celle que l'on connait, il y a de petites herbes, du lichen et des petites fleurs. Le sol est mou, gorgée d'eau, comme le ciel ( il y avait un brouillard pas possible ). Nous étions en plusieurs groupes, j'étais dans le premier. Quelques personnes du staff étaient devant et surveillaient pour voir s'il n y avait pas de danger, comme un ours ou quelque chose comme ca. Mais non, aujourd'hui nous n'avons pas vu d'ours! Sur le sol, on voyait des crottes semblables à des crottes de bique en plus gros. A certains endroits, on voyait aussi de la laine. Et ces deux éléments appartiennent aux bœufs musques! Ce sont des sortes de bisons, en plus petit et au pelage plus clair. Nous étions d ailleurs sur les traces d'un troupeau de ces herbivores arctiques, mais nous n'avons trouve que le cadavre de l'un d'entre eux, mort de vieillesse l'hiver dernier d'après notre spécialiste. Il a surement été grignoté par des renards, mais pas par des ours ou des loups car ceux ci détruisent les os, alors que la les os étaient intacts. Les dents aussi étaient bien visibles et pas pourries. On voyait encore les orbites des yeux, vides. Les bisons musques on un petit cerveau protégé par leurs cornes très solides. En dessous, un peu sur le cote et exorbite pour pouvoir voir le prédateur derrière, les yeux. Après avoir admiré le cadavre et profiter de son odeur, nous sommes retournes sur la plage pour repartir, mais avant nous avons vu un os de baleine échoué, que nous n'avions pas remarque en venant. Après quelques photos, nous sommes retournes sur le bateau.     Le soir, après un super bon diner, réunion dans la salle de conférence pour une … conférence sur l'Arctique par rapport au Canada et aux États Unis, et le possesseur de ce magnifique territoire. Personnellement, je pense que la Terre n'appartient a personne, et qu'elle nous permet juste de la fouler.     Enfin, nous avons regarde 3 vidéos filmées par notre camerawoman, j'apparais sur la première en tant que personne interviewe, sur la deuxième en tant que personne atteint du mal de mer et sur la troisième en tant que personne couchée sur le sol pour étudier les insectes arctiques. D'ailleurs, nous avons croise une araignée. Finalement, nous avons chante tous ensemble, puis je suis venu finir le journal. Là je me fait gronder car je dois aller me coucher!!


Mike Jensen, Expedition Staff

Ottawa – Kuujjuaq

Greetings from the Lyubov Orlova heading north through Ungava Bay! We set sail just a few short hours ago after a flurry of activities throughout the day brought us from our meeting place in Ottawa to the friendly town of Kuujjuaq on the northern coast of Quebec to zodiacs that carried us to our new home for the next two weeks. 

Where to begin… well, first, I hope this is getting through to everyone. So far, I have either been updating this blog personally, or emailing it to someone personally. But now, I have to rely on satellite technology to beam this update to you. Hopefully some pictures came through as well. 

Ottawa this morning was rushed. We were up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am to pack our bags for the airport. Our flight to Kuujjuaq was uneventful, but our arrival was not. For starters, there was a driving rain through most of the day. Having packed most of my wet weather gear safely in the backpack that was on its way to the ship, it didn’t take long for the rain to soak me to the skin. 

But despite the cold weather, the reception was far from cold. After some speeches, we were treated to a BBQ of hamburgers, caribou skewers and potato salad. Then it was off to explore this fine town. One of our stops was to the Nunavik Research Centre, where they are conducting cutting-edge research on many northern issues. 

Finally, it was off to the beach for our zodiac rides to the Orlova. It was funny – as we approached alongside, I was struck by a thought I had the day we DISembarked from the ship last year. After the two incredible weeks aboard her, saying goodbye was tough. So I just thought to myself  “see you later”. And as I climbed aboard her for the first time this year, a wave a familiarity ran over me.  

Last update, I talked a bit about home, especially its impact on the northern students. Being aboard the Orlova does feel a little bit like home and it hasn’t take long for the routine to settle in for myself, or the new students. Before long, we weighed anchor and headed off towards Ungava Bay. 

Speaking of the students, they continue to mesh very well in this short time. Obvious cliques are forming, which are discouraged in the long run, but are fine for now. Sadly, the friendship and camaraderie hasn’t extended to one of the Northern students, who I mentioned last update has come down with a severe bout of homesickness He has made the decision to stay in Kuujjuaq until he can safely fly home.

I guess in the end, if your attachment to home is greater than your desire to explore and participate in the adventure, then the choice is pretty clear. 

Tomorrow we are off to Diana Island, home to a LOT of musk oxen apparently. Hopefully my seasickness will stay abated as it is right now, and I will be able to carry on with whatever happens to come along.


Jessica Magonet, Student

Diana Island

Snowflakes, seasickness and silence

It's our first full day on our vessel and, already, the expedition has been filled with adventure After visiting Kuujjuaq yesterday afternoon, we boarded zodiacs and head off to meet our expedition vessel. In the thick fog, the Lyubov Orlova was at first a mere spec on the horizon, but as we drew nearer, we saw her in all her majesty. Russian sailors greeted us as we arrived and pulled us aboard. After presenting our identification, we were led to our cabins.

We spent the rest of the day familiarizing ourselves with our new home and at 8pm, at high tide, we set sail.

After our first supper aboard, I went out on the deck, and tried to absorb the sheer vastness of Ungava Bay. Blackness spread out before us in every direction and the sky was an eerie violet. As a Montrealer, I often forget that my country is largely characterized by the emptiness and silence of the North. 

I awoke this morning to rocky waters and green faces. Though, at first, I was prancing around the ship, thankful for my seeming immunity to seasickness, I soon found myself leaning over the deck, retching into dark waters. The library became a sick bay and many of us listened to the morning lectures on kite skiing and Arctic mammals  through a window on deck, desperate for fresh air. Clutching our stomachs, and staring out onto the horizon, we caught our first sights of ice bergs, our noses dusted by snowflakes.

By lunchtime, the Captain had altered his course for smoother sailing. Everyone's mood improved considerably. Presently, we are preparing for an expedition onto Diana Island, where we hope to catch sight of some muskox!


Alyssa Borutski, Student

Hello Everyone!!

The last couple of days have been absoluty wonderful! After safely landing First Air Charter Flight 6902 to Kuujjuaq we walked from what they call the "airport" to the town hall/movie theatre, where we were greeted with open arms. The mayor of Kuujjuaq along with a senator and other distinguished guests and elders spoke to us and wished us well on our journey to the Artic Circle. Even though we were all tired from our five thirty wake up call in Ottawa that morning, the crisp breeze up here certainly woke us up. It was 11C in Kuujjuaq and pouring rain, which make it rather miserable walking through the town to visit the Nunavik Research Center. While there we toured through labs and watched a slide show about the work that is done there and how it related to the local community.

After spending the day in Kuujjuaq we eventually made our way to the beach to go through Russian security so we could get onboard the ship (the first bit of security that day might I was so nice to just hop off the bus and onto the plane without the hassle of security!). After passing through security we boarded Zodiac boats and drove for about thirty minuites in the pouring rain to reach the ship. When we finally reached the ship it seemed like a monster! It is equipped with a helicptor landing pad, many life boats, swimming pool and small gym, so needless to say, it is quite comfertable here!

At around seven thirty we set sail to Ungava Bay on our boat the Lyubov Orlova, or as nicknamed by Geoff, the Polar Ambassador. The fog horn blew three times and we began our journey north.

Today we got to sleep in and woke up around seven thirty--very seasick I might add. It has been like an epidemic aroud here, today's events were moved around today because everyone was so ill. There were plenty of complimentary barf bags everywhere, that most of us did take advantage of...well except for those who missed...haha! We also got the change to see our first iceberg today; it was magnificent and blue, and just a taste of what is to come!

Shortly I will be leaving the Orlova on a Zodiac abd we will be visiting Diana Island, as we are now out of Ungava Bay and have travelled to Diana Bay. We have been informed that there will be expedition staff members going to the island before hand and checking for a safe spot to land the Zodiacs as well as walking around with guns to check for polar bears.



Aanchal Ralhan, Student

Hey Everyone,

So we are now on the ship! The Lyubov Orlova!

And it is awesome! To get to the ship we had to take zodiacs out, that was fun but very wet! We are now just about to go hiking around Diana Island. To reach it we will be getting in Zodiacs! The weather is chilly today! But BEAUTIFUL last night, we also saw an iceberg today up close!! Hopefully we will get closer soon! Im meeting so many people, and everyone is really nice! Nearly everyone was VERY seasick this morning, but I wasn't, roughed it out! Our cabin has a porthole right on the ocean so that is cool too! Gotta go get waterproofed up!


Art Sateana, Student

Diana Island and leaving Unguava Bay

Well this morning we actually got to sleep in until 7:00 am. That was just like sleeping in all day to most of us. When everybody got up this morning and went for breakfast, a lot of people got sea sick including myself. The ship was rocking side to side, front and back it was sea sickening. I slept from 10:00am right to 1:00 pm cause I felt really sick.  Right now, we are across Diana Island and some people are getting ready for the zodiacs. We are going to be looking for musk oxen (Umingmak.) so I will be seeing them in a short while. Not to long ago we just did a briefing about ship safety and zodiac safety, it was almost 2 hours long. One of the pipes burst on the ship so when I got up this morning the floor was wet. I am going to go see the Bridge later on today to see the navigation route we are going to be on. I really like it here right now because I am not sea sick at all. Anyways, I'm going to go get ready for a long, fun day.

I love my beloved family so much.


Carson Hardy, Student

Diana Island

This morning takes only one word to explain what happened.  Puke!  Approximately half of the expedition team was throwing up due to seasickness.  We went through safety briefings and then boarded the zodiaks and went to Diana island. On Diana island, myself and Deron went with Paul, the water guy, to go sample water.  We measured the pH levels, ppm, conductivity and the amount of organic matter in a litre of water.  We also gathered water samples from many different areas of the water that we will look at tonight.  My gear seems to be working, I was warm and dry.  Visibility was very poor at times because of the fog, we even got lost.  We found a musk oxen carcass on our way back through the fog, very eerie.  Got another presentation to go to, and I've almost written my 200 words, bye.


Eirik Stein-Andersen, Student

Diana Island, Hudson Strait

Hey everyone! Just to start off I'd like to say that the Arctic is a fantastic place! Today we woke up to a pretty rough sea in Ungava Bay. When I walked out of my cabin and went to the lounge, I suddenly saw the effects of SEASICKNESS! Good thing we had a lot of barf bags! We had a lecture on terrestrial mammals, but people felt so bad that they had to leave. I was fortunately one of the few that didn't suffer at all from seasickness.


When lunch came around almost everyone started feeling better. In the afternoon we had our first zodiac expedition and landed on Diana Island with the hope of seeing Muskox. There are no trees or bushes and it reminded me of the mountains  in Norway. We explored around in search of muskox, but we didn't really get to see any because of the fog. On the way back we ran into a dead muskox. It was pretty cool, and the weight of the head was unbelievable. We eventually went back to the beach. We loaded the zodiacs and off we went. The shore looked like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie. It was beautiful!

Loving the Arctic,



Hannah Jacobs, Student

Diana Island

We just got back to the ship after an amazing landing on Diana Island. We hiked through the mist covered hills in search of musk ox and while we didn't see any that were currently alive we found the carcass of an adult male musk ox that most likely died last fall or winter. Along with the musk ox we found a whale vertebrate and a caribou antler. Although the land looks sparse, it is teeming with life. Jolly showed us mountain sorrel which is delicious and quite lemony, nut weed which tastes as it sounds and beautiful blueberries and sweet cranberries left over from last season. Earlier today we watched a fantastic film of a youth expedition across Greenland which included Matty Mcnair's two children Eric and Sarah. We also had a wonderful presentation on Arctic land mammals from David Grey. As a past zodiac rider I was assigned  to play Captain Preparo in today's zodiac briefing in which I demonstrated how to be properly prepared for a zodiac excursion, I was fully decked out in super hero clothes with a pashmina cape, a swimsuit over my clothes, a duct tape P on my chest and super hero sunglasses. All in all I can say this has been a superb day and it’s not even over!


Joseph Qiqut Huyer Upton, Student

Diana Island

“Good morning students on Ice” is what I woke up to today thinking it would be an amazing day full of excitement. It really was but a much different experience than what I had in mind. It was a really choppy day with some big swells and in the shower the water was swaying back and fourth. I went to breakfast late expecting to get whatever was left but when I showed up I discovered that only half the people were there. I later discovered that almost everyone had been seasick except me so there was puke everywhere. There were two presentations in the morning and people were coming and going because of seasickness. After the water settled we went on an amazing hike and saw some really cool things like a musk ox carcass and some field berries which were delicious. All in all it was a great afternoon but not so much for the morning. 


Kamil Chadirji Martinez, Student

Hudson Strait, Nunavut, Canada

Today was my first day ever in remote Tundra in Diana island.

It is also the first uninhabited landmass I have ever visited.

I know where ever I will be in my future I will see today as a triumph.

I have dreamt of seeing arctic tundra all my life.

I had a rough start to my day at 3:00 am with violent waves in Ungava bay.

In my mind I was thinking “what have I gotten myself into”. I vomited for half the day.

I don’t like Ungava Bay there’s nothing nice about it but my mood quickly changed as I approached Diana Island all the vomiting was worth it.

 When I arrived I thought the terrain resembled a sea floor with the mist giving the illusion of clouded water. All the vegetation was odd under a few inches in height. The island seemed lifeless with barely any insects. The plants where colourful with hues of red, yellow, orange, lime green, and the sand was black. Things that appeared to be sturdy rocks were balls of plants. We spotted an old musk ox carcass but the live musk ox fled at our arrival.

I hope I will see ice formations later on.

P.S: Note to my parent's I forgot to tell you a picture was taken of me

in the Ottawa Citizen on the day of the museum so please look for my article and save it for me.


Students hike through the fog on Diana Island

Meagan LeMessurier, Expedition Staff

Sailing the North West Passage

Hi Expedition Followers,

So today was eventful, it started with waking up with a soaking wet floor and a soaking wet suit case.  A water pipe had leaked during the night and soaked our floor, but in good spirits we took it in stride. The rest of the morning was spent looking after multiple sea sickness casualties. Besides the sea sickness, the morning was filled the presentations, boat and zodiak safety lectures, and an evacuation drill.  The sea sickness affliction only lasted until just after the lunch hour when the ship was put to anchor and the first zodiak launch of the expedition was underway to Diana Island with the hopes of seeing a herd of Muskox.

Unfourtunately the only people to see a live Muskox were the landing crew and the gun men.  Although this was the case all students got to see the remains of a Muskox that was left behind from the previous fall season.  Besides the Muscox Diana Island offered amazing scenery and wonderful sense of awe. The land was filled with ridges that offered a mystery at every breaching.  This mysteriousness was only increased by the weather experienced on the island.  The rolling fog and dense mist created a wonderful experience.

Tonight there was a Questions and Answers Panel held by Peter Mansibridge that proved to be very informative. The plan for tonight is to move further West in the hopes of seeing some sea ice and to visit communities along the way.  I promise more to come, so stay tuned faithful followers.


Megan Schlorff, Student

Near Diana Island, Nunavut

Today was my first full day in the Arctic and my first visit to the territory of Nunavut.  Thankfully I didn't suffer from seasickness as many others did.  Thank you seabands and Gravol!  I didn't feel 100%, but I sure wasn't a member of the Horizontal Club.  The highlight of the day was our first landing in Diana Bay, Nunavut.  We took a quick zodiac ride from the ship to the island and then went exploring.  I was amazed as a stepped onto Arctic soil for the first time.  The island appears deserted from far away and it seems as though there are only rocks and plants but once you set foot on it you realize that it is full of life.  The best way I can describe it is to say that it is untouched.  There is basically no human activity to destroy any wildlife or natural habitiats, and as a result there are plants covering almost every surface.  I found myself constantly looking down at the ground soaking in all of the unique vegetation.  There are no lights or distractions surrounding us, just more land straight ahead, so it makes perfect sense to look down and watch where you are stepping.  I tasted some delicious wild blueberries that were growing on the island.  I officially tried out all of my gear for the first time today and my rubber boots are definitely waterproof! 

Hi Mom, Dad, and Jenna. - Love you!


Waterfall on Diana Island

Moe Qureshi, Student

Diana Island

Dedicated to Kathleen, who wants to hear a good story

I learned a lot today. Mostly about seasickness. When I got up my clothes were wet for some reason. Turns out a pipe had a small leak on the guys floor and it got in our room.

I was feeling really sick, and I thought breakfast would make me feel better. As I walked through the library it was completely full of seasick people. I ate a lot and drank lots of liquids... turns out that is the worst thing to do when you're seasick.  I went back to my room and fell asleep. It was the best nap ever.

It's tough telling all the stories in 200 words. Plus there's enough good stories to make 4 reality TV shows.

We also landed on Diana island and had an amazing hike. We also saw a carcass of a dead muskox which was pretty cool.

Now I have to take a break from writing because it's time to attend a lecture.


Olivia Rempel,

Diana Island, Hudson Strait

Slowly, and with caution the zodiac cuts through the fog and shapes begin to emerge. First the dark outline of cliffs, with patches of green vegetation. Then the rust coloured shoreline of Diana Island. This feels like the opening scene of 'Shutter Island' and dramatic background music would be appropriate.

Two figures appear on the beach and they reach for the zodiac as its bottom scrapes the shoreline and a swell washes it ashore, spraying me as I hold my camera high above my head. I slide off the zodiac and into the water, my rubber boots keep my feet dry as I trudge ashore and follow the rest of the group into the fog. As I climb off the beach and enter the tundra, which is unneven and mossy, with litchens and small flowers here and there, I spot our tourguide. Matty is wearing the classic red expedition jacket with an ear flap hat with the flaps tied up, and slung across her back is a massive rifle, a precaution against polar bears. With Matty in the lead, we hike up rocky outcroppings, through boggy streems and across the tundra for hours in search of muskox, as the ocean gets further and further away it dissapears into the fog entirely, and the vast tundra before us makes me feel incredibly small.


Students listen to directions during their ship lifeboat drill

Tegan Schellenberg, Student

Diana Island

Today was the first full day in the cold of the Arctic, and as far as cold goes, it wasn't actually all that bad. Standing on deck to watch the horizon (which was done often as most of the students were sea sick) was certainly tolerable. It was quite a shock going outside and seeing nothing at all, only the rolling sea kept us company. That void was however filled twice, with the first two sightings of icebergs. It was strange seeing a chunk of that great “unknown,” which is the Arctic, just floating past. When the ship stopped in the late afternoon near Diana island, the thought of walking once again on solid ground was certainly exciting. So exciting that most people were ready for the Zodiacs before the Zodiacs were ready for them. Once on the island, the most appealing aspect was the silence. I have never been capable, no matter how far I've hiked back home, to escape the sounds of traffic and basic society that to finally be able to hear only the running water of a stream and the wind as it meandered past was incredible. It's amazing how ignorant one is to the true sounds of the Earth if he lives only within city limits. Never in my life have I witnessed something so untouched, so natural. I can't wait until we find more places like Diana Island. It's like being introduced to nature for the very first time.


Sisters Nicole & Christina fasten life jackets during the ship safety drill

Mike Jensen

Today was a very busy day. Probably one of the busiest I’ve ever participated in on and SOI expedition. Despite the exhausting schedule, I’m feeling very rewarded about my contributions to this experience. The only question is will I get enough sleep to do them. But I digress…

As morning broke over our fine ship, we arrived in Douglas Harbour along the northern coast of Quebec. The plan for after breakfast was to head to shore and participate in one of seven workshops held by our very diverse expedition staff – anything from art to caribou hunting to water labs.

This was SOI’s first visit to Douglas Harbour, and that means you never know what to expect. That unknown is exciting but, at the same time, a bit dangerous. However, this landing spot was as safe as could be as we dribbled out of the zodiacs onto shore. From there, we split off into the workshops of our choice.

My choice, naturally, was the Journalism, Interviews and Responsible Citizenship seminar being held by none other than Peter Mansbridge. It was a privilege to sit in on his workshop and absorb a bit of the knowledge and experience that he has gained over the past four decades. I was able to let the “pure” journalist in me come out and have some frank media discussions with one of the most respected professionals in North America.
Couple that with some very intelligent and well-thought out questions from the students who also attended, and it was one of the most engaging dialogues I’ve been involved with since Journalism school.
It was a bit surreal, as Peter had picked a babbling brook to have this workshop. There were also some great
caribou sightings (a first for me on either expedition), lemmings and voles darting in and out of the underbrush, and even the appearance of a ringed seal right off shore from our landing spot.

After returning to the ship, we had a whirlwind afternoon with seminars, pod teams meetings (groups of 8 or 9 students with two staff), and other presentations. I’m one of the pod team leaders and my group is called the Arctic Ninjas (hooooooo-waaaaa!!!) and looks to be a very dynamic group.

Right afterwards, myself and a few other staff had a discussion about a Critical Thinking seminar to get the students thinking about the news and opinions they read and hear and to think about what they mean. I’m really looking forward to that.

But the highlight of the day occurred just a few moments ago before curfew. The sky had cleared for the first time of our expedition, so many students quickly rushed outside to see what was left of the sunset. As we did, we looked up and got a show of Northern Lights!! Despite the fairly bright twilight, they were quite visible and elicited a few oohs and aahs. Meanwhile, some of the students inundated me with questions about this phenomenon and I got to do some actual astronomy for a few minutes!
All in all, as I said, a busy but rewarding day. Tomorrow we are off to Digges Island, a well-known bird sanctuary just at the southwestern corner of Hudson Strait. Geoff Green mentioned something about a 250 metre hike up a cliff – something that I’m leery about. But I’m always up to the challenge…




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