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Students on Ice | Natural Heritage Building | 1740 Chemin Pink | Gatineau QC J9J 3N7

Daily Updates

Happy Birthday to Expeditioner Simon Shaimaiyuk!

 


The expedition team on board the Clipper Adventure!

(All Photos by Lee Narraway)

August 4 - Student Journals...

Alice Wilson, Ottawa ON

I haven't written any journal entries yet, but I guess it's better late then never. These last two days have been my favourite days yet. Yesterday morning I had my first sighting of Canada since we left and it feels good to be back in my country.

Today we continued farther into the Saglek Fjord, along with some students, elders and the bear watch from the camp. Zev (who is only six) taught me how to fish, but I never came close to catching anything. Other people were more successful and we got to witness some elders cutting up and preparing arctic char – which of course was way more delicious than anything that could be bought in a grocery store or market. There was even a hike to a waterfall and lake, which required crossing a creek (which I had to do barefoot since I didn't think of wearing rubber boots).

Once at the lake the park ranger said that whoever wanted to go in the lake to swim could. Seeing as how I told myself I would try everything on this trip, so I went right in. It was awesome! Not as cold as I would've thought.  We also went in the ocean to join the arctic swim team, which was fun until you couldn't feel your feet anymore. The morning ended with a great meal of both fresh fish and delicious desserts from the ship.

Jack Pong, Hong Kong

 

The trip is almost over, just 2 days remaining. I feel both "It has been just 2 weeks?" and "It's already been 2 weeks?" The trip passed both quickly and slowly. I can't believe the trip is already over, but then I can't even remember how it was like back in Iceland. The trip has been nothing short of incredible. Both the students and staff on the trip have truly shown their passion for the environment and their dedication to this cause. I have been inspired by people and the things I've seen to really make a difference in my own community. The passion inside everyone one of us is on fire, but we have to keep the fire going even after the expedition when we face the realities of the world. I believe that this expedition has really helped me grow as a person and hopefully I can take advantage of all I've learnt and experienced back home to make meaningful change.

 


Saladie Snowball, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Quebec

 

The past two days. I have been hanging out with my sister! It was so good being around my family again! I just want to live where she is living right now because it is soo beautiful! I wish being in Labrador could last a week. I finally ate country food and I had soo much! We were all well fed. Nothing can beat this in Labrador with the elders! I had to say good bye to my sister yesterday evening and we cried even though we will see each other again but we have missed each other so much. I realized that we are so close! North Arm was soo great! Polar dipping and the view under the water. I wish I could go back and do it all over again. I don't want to go back home yet. Oh yeah, It feels good to be back home! CANADA! :D  peace. I'll keep you posted!



Victoria Wee, Coquitlam, British Columbia

Food, food and more food! Appetizer, soups, salads (and dressing!), entrees, vegetarian, dessert, and from the bakery. Phew! That, my friends, is the dinner line-up each and every wonderful day of our stay on our floating home. With all this good food coming our way, all is bliss, happiness, oh, just simply sublime. With such conditions as these, it's no wonder that yesterday night featured our expedition's first ever eat-off. Things started innocently enough when Cassandra, Bo Yeon, Angie, and I sat down to dinner together. Then came the blue framed menu. Was it just us or did it seem longer and more glorious than usual? A video camera was pulled out and a documentary was born. In total, from the bread to the kidney soups, to the (multiple) entrees, to the mocha cakes and sorbet, it was a perfect ending to a perfect day. As we trundled from one end of the ship to the other for the evening recap, the ship gave an unexpected lurch forward. It could have been our extra weight rolling toward the lounge, but we will always hold it was a wayward rock.




Sylvia Cloutier and Becky Okatsiak


Bella de la Houssaye Crane

 

Bridget Graham, Beachburg,Ontario

Today has been an amazing day and it is only like 4 o'clock. It felt great to be outside all day! We went on a hike to see a waterfall and then to a lake. The waterfall was wonderful, and at the lakeside we saw some wolf and bear tracks. Then I got some time to sit and soak it all in. Emerald and I got to sit and watch Ingrid cut up some fish that she had just caught and then we ate some. In the past two days I've eaten caribou, narwhal, seal and raw fish. I've learnt a lot about the cultures all over Canada and I am very proud to be Canadian. I am really loving this whole experience and I really don't want to go home - sorry mom and dad. I am looking forward to sharing all of my experiences with everyone and I really do believe that this experience has changed me. Oh today was also wonderful since I was able to swim in the Arctic Ocean, hard to believe but it wasn't actually that cold!

 

Nausheen Rajan, Orlando, Florida

The Arctic is home to me now. Its beauty is mesmerizing and I just can't help but wonder, 'Wow.'  Learning about how the culture intertwines with nature is a privilege. Yesterday we had a wonderful opportunity to hear a representative of the U.S. State Department speak upon environmental issues and the extent of the U.S. involvement. I've also joined Mock Arctic Council which is very interesting, and I'm curious to see how that takes it course. We also visited the Kangidlusuk Base Camp yesterday. The base camp is becoming a very important research station for scientists and acts as an educational centre for the Inuit youth. It was interesting watching the culture and nature react to each other. Today we went on a hike at Torngat Mountains National Park. The people are so friendly here, and have a lot of wisdom to share. The Arctic Swim was chilling, but an unforgettable experience. The most exciting part was that I learned to fish! (I caught a piece of wood and a person, but I still feel pretty accomplished). Trying caribou and hearing the elders speak about their culture was a gift. I hope that in the future that this cultural ground remains, as it is not only a beautiful thing- but valuable in many ways. As I look to the mountains and the ocean surrounding me, I feel peace. Even if it's as simple as skipping rocks.  I can't wait to share my stories with everyone when I get back home.... I can't wait to educate my community. Most of all, I can't wait to make a wave of change.

        

Students join the Arctic Swim Team in the North Arm of Saglek Fjord!

Yashvi Shah, Niagara Falls, ON

 

With only three days left on the expedition, our time aboard the Clipper Adventurer has been an extremely busy one. Our first landing of the day involved a mock Arctic Council workshop right on the shores of Labrador! It may have been the first meeting to ever have been held in this truly appropriate place. Myself along with 28 other SOI-ers had the opportunity to learn about the values, mandate and general makeup of the Arctic Council. I represented Sweden and although I knew very little about its position in the Council itself, it was interesting to have that spontaneity in argument.


The second landing was by far my favourite. I'm not sure what an appropriate name for it would be but I am confident in saying that it played a critical role in my journey. We were instructed to take a few moments out of our day and hike up to the waterfall and listen to Labrador. I began making my way up but before I knew it, I was asking myself questions like "why" and "how" and found myself so inspired to go home and use the tools and network that SOI has given me to take not only a step, but a leap forward, into a greener and more sustainable future.


Yesterday was really an important day for me because I was able to reflect on just how far I've come on my journey but more significantly, I was able to revisit my action plan that I will initiate when I return home. Sometimes, it takes a surreal set of experiences and an extraordinary group of people to help you discover yourself, your values and your goals. That is exactly what my voyage to Iceland, Greenland and Labrador with the Students on Ice team has done for me.


Michael Gardiner, Torbay, NL

Today we landed in North Arm Labrador. Today was in my opinion the best day so far. The schedule was completely open; we had to choose between different workshops on the beach. The key was we could drift from workshop to workshop as we pleased. I got to taste caribou, mussels, narwhal and about 30 mosquitoes. The way they cooked it was on a flat rock on a fire. We have recently been told stories by Jason, one of the younger (25ish) Inuit on board. He taught us about respecting animals. He told us of how his mom used to tell him not to play with his food because it was disrespectful to the animal who had to give his life so that they could eat. I like this idea because I feel like when I'm home, I don't think about that steak I just ate as a real animal.

 


Simmi catches dinner!

 

Cassie Jones, Montreal, Quebec

August 4th was sublime. That is the word of the day here at SOI.  Today we went to a fjord with some of our friends from yesterday. I am continuously meeting people with interesting lives and careers who are telling me stories and teaching me new things. Probably one of my favourite parts of this trip is that everything is a hands-on experience. Each person, place, animal and plant has a lot to teach you about the environment and life. Everything has a story to share.

For example, today I learned how to fish from an interesting man who shares the same background as me but now lives in Goose Bay. He used to work on homelessness, sustainable and affordable housing. I got to discuss the issue of homelessness over fishing. Sadly, I did not catch a fish. Maybe because I was not in the water.

We again ate outside on a beach. The food was being cooked on the surfaces of a rock with a fire lit under. I had the opportunity to try arctic char and caribou, which were delicious. It was a wonderful experience to see and try to cook and live off the land.


On the zodiac ride to Rose Island, I saw a minke whale and a seal nearby. The fog had fallen and the sky and coast were clear. The island is sacred because it is in the Torngat Mountains which is the most powerful spirit of the Inuit. It is also a sacred place because of the traditional and wise knowledge the ancestors who are buried there possessed. We went to the island to hear the story and witness a story that begun depressing but became a happy one. Around 1971, an archaeologist removed the bodies and remains of the ancestors of the Innu. The archaeologist had the consent to execute the project from the Newfoundland government but he did not have the Innu’s permission. Their bones were being passed around in classrooms. When they realized the bones were missing, they made a case to get them back. They got around 113 bodies but later on, the university claimed they had more and sent them back. The story ended happily because the government and universities the second time took the initiative to right a wrong. There was something very powerful about the story and the place that could not be denied.


Kiran Dhatt-Gauthier, Sudbury, ON

Entering the North Arm of the fjord was, and here I will use Geoff's favourite word, "awesome".

The Captain deserves a raise for having to put up with us and our wild excursions, as no other boat anywhere close to this size has ever dared to venture this far into the North Arm.

At one point, the water was only 6m below the keel, but being the true expeditioner the Captain is, he inched forward until we could resume breathing.


The Elders and students happily tagged along in their own fishing boats, speedboats, or trollers, and would sometimes feel the urge to pass us to wave hello accompanied by massive grins on their faces.


As always, Dr. Fletcher was on shore, explaining the "Look towards the motor, and swing yourself out." principle repeated at all Zodiac landings.


Truthfully, I think that its growing on us, similarly to the Pavlovian experiment, so much so that it has become as casual as slowly rolling out of bed after hearing Geoff's ever happy voice announce, "Goooooooood morning Students on Ice." on the PA system.


Back to the story, so, we kicked off our day with a landing along the shore and had the once in a lifetime opportunity of fishing Arctic Char in the frigid waters of an uninhabited shoreline, along with learning of old Inuit ways, or sitting down to take in the magnificent view.

Luckily for Zev and Fletch, the two juniors on the trip, catching fish was as effortless as an albatross' flight, reeling in catch after catch of monstrous Char.


The fish was then taken to the female Elders, to be cut and divided for the male Elders to put onto scalding hot stones, heated by a pile of burning wood which filled the air with a beautiful aroma, fighting for dominance over the salty smell of the ocean 10 feet away.


At the turnaround point for the hike, we were greeted by a photographer's dream, perfectly still waters reflecting mountains on both sides, and an extreme athlete's dream, water very few degrees above freezing.


Being somewhat of both, I took the chance to snap a couple shots, strip down into some swimming trunks, and dive right in to what was something like the worst idea I've had in a while. For the official Polar Bear Dip, however, we had to repeat that feat (rhyming to the beat) in the ocean, which most of the SOI crew joined, and miraculously, no one lost any toes, fingers, ears, or noses which we were all very grateful for.


25 minute showers ensued, but we all had fun watching waterlogged Polar Bears walk up the stairs to the living room, and flop down on the couches, waiting for Geoff to end the "awesome" day at the nightly recap.


Victoria Wee, Coquitlam, British Columbia

Salutations! Wooh, it was great to step on land after spending a full day at sea yesterday. This afternoon we went ashore to visit the KANGIDLUSUK Base Camp. After a tour and refreshing hike in polar bear territory, we had a barbeque dinner! The ship's cooks and the camp's elders worked together to prepare a fantastic meal. I loved how the two groups, the SOI delegation and the camp party, mixed and mingled. I've got to say though, a definite highlight of my evening was waltzing on the beach. Ian and JR worked their magic on their guitars and the whole group danced and danced away. It was a magical moment. As I looked across the snapping bonfire, time came to a standstill and looked on as well, as the whole laughing, happy group pranced and dipped and swooshed over the rocks. Aaah.

 


Students sample country food!

Paul Kleist, Kuujjuaq, Quebec (written in Greenland – August 1)


Today was a good day. We went swimming at a hot springs at the same spot where the Vikings had been before. The real Vikings, the Minnesota ones. It was weird swimming in warm water with an iceberg floating behind us. I had a lot of fun. Then I went on the zodiac cruise and we went beside the iceberg. It was neat to see the part of the iceberg that was under water as we floated over top of it. It was a light blue color.

We then headed back to the ship for lunch as we travelled to Nanortalik. When we got there, we went to a museum and we watched an old-style umiak demonstration as well as a kayak demonstration. I’d like to try that some day.

But the best thing that happened was I found out that I had family there. While watching the show, someone called out my name and said my aunt and my cousin were here. It was my grandfather’s sister and her son. It was hard to communicate, but we got by talking in English. My aunt hadn’t seen my grandfather since the 1980s.

We hung around and talked for a bit, and then it was time to head back aboard the ship. I gave her a Students nn Ice t-shirt, and she was really happy about it and I felt good giving it to her. I’d like to go back to Greenland again some day and meet more of my family. I’m having a great time on the ship and meeting new people. I miss home a little bit and I’m excited to show my new friends my hometown.



Derrick Gill, Memphis, TN

Today was awesome!!!! I got to sit down and talk to the elders. I enjoyed their stories, food, and way of life. I became an official member of the Arctic swim team!!!

Migliorero Maria Caterina, Monaco

Every day on the Students on Ice expedition is a new experience, characterized by a wide range of emotions as well as learning. It would be impossible to choose a day over another as they are all so different and equally full of surprises (encountering blue whales, seeing wonderful landscapes...) but the day spent in the Prins Christians Sund Fjord is definitely one of those I am not ready to forget. In the morning we walked on a glacier and then went for a zodiac cruising, navigating in the middle of icebergs. It was a first experience for me and hearing the loud noise of the ice melting and getting detached from the glacier made me understand even more the extent of the human imprint on nature. In the afternoon we had workshops in another branch of the Fjord and the landscape was just like a dream; the Clipper Adventurer in the green water of the bay, the sun shining, the contrast between grass and ice on the mountains behind us… I will probably always keep this picture in my mind, and as I get back to my every day life it will be a source of inspiration, a reminder of the fact that there is something bigger than just our own little world and that we to act in order to preserve the beauty of this earth.



Cooking country food, music and dancing on the beach!


 

Emerald Kains, Whitehorse, Yukon

The past few days have been amazing! We have been seeing some phenomenal fjords, glaciers, icebergs, and I have made awesome friends! Yesterday I was lucky enough to try narwhale which was impossible to chew. We are in Labrador, and just cruzin' down to Rose Island where we will head out for another zodiac landing.  So much has happened within the past two weeks and I don't want to come home! However, I can't wait to share all my photos with everyone back home. Today I had the most delicious Artic Char.  It was caught and cooked all within an hour so it was very fresh! A couple days ago we saw about nine Finback Whales on the side of our ship.  They were so close and there was so many it was spectacular!

 

Mike Jensen, Expedition Staff Member (written in Greenland - August 1)

What do you like to do when you get a bit of cabin fever? Obviously, you want to get outside. If it’s summer, there’s lots to do – gardening, go for a walk, take in a garage sale. Winter is especially tough to combat cabin fever, but with co-operative weather, you could still get out for a walk, some snowshoeing, or even a trip to the mall for some shopping.

None of which you can do on a moving ship.

It’s safe to say that cabin fever is in full force aboard the Clipper Adventurer, after two full days at sea – one, travelling across the Denmark Strait from Iceland to Greenland, and the second trying to poke our way through thick ice and fog to actually SEE Greenland.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been kept busy with Students On Ice’s educational program, filling our time with presentations, workshops and activities. But there’s been a certain amount of eagerness to stretch our wings and do some explorin’!

Well, the wait was over this morning. As we awoke, we were greeted to some clearing fog and the beautiful landscape of Greenland ahead of us. Despite a similar environment to Iceland and areas I had already visited around Baffin Island, I was surprised to see a landscape that was noticeably different.

Large, jagged peaks loomed over us, with a sprinkling of snow and ice near the top and blending into a palette of green and brown near sea level. It was like a scene out of Lord of the Rings, one student said, but there was no amount of CGI that could imitate what nature had done so well.

With breakfast done, we began our foray into Prins Christians Sund (by the way, I spelled this wrong in my previous blog entry! Sorry!). This body of water slices into the southern tip of Greenland, with countless tendrils of mini-fjords branching away from the main artery. As we slowly navigated our way along the sound, every corner was like an unwrapped present waiting to be opened.

As we traveled along, all eyes were peeled for wildlife – seals, whales, polar bears. Sadly, nothing appeared to us except stark natural beauty. So it was with a bit of surprise that we came across a small village of colourful buildings nestled comfortably at the summit of one particularly tall set of cliffs.

It was a stark reminder that the Arctic is not just home to a large number of animals, plants and insects, but to people as well. Finally, as we turned yet another corner, we came upon the sight we had been waiting for – the Greenland ice cap.

If you’ve ever looked at a map or atlas with Greenland on it, you probably have noticed that most of the island is covered in white, as a good portion of it is one giant glacier. On previous excursions, I’d only seen hints of glaciers from afar.

But here was one, right in front of us. And what a sight it was. Shining bright white in the mid-morning sun, it stood proudly in our path, daring us to come closer. Littered in the water in front of it was the evidence that this was a force of nature to be reckoned with – an active, calving glacier.

Healthy glaciers are in constant motion, gravity pulling them inexorably downwards. As they near sea level, the water eats away underneath the glacier, weakening it until the point that “CRACK!” a portion of the cliff face gives way, or calves, and shards of glacier tumble into the ocean as newborn icebergs.

It truly is an amazing scene. We clambered aboard zodiacs to get a front row seat… from a safe distance, naturally. As we slowly made our way through the detritus of ice cubes, you could hear the snapping and popping of the ice that had already broken away, punctuated by sharper cracks from the glacier itself. We crept closer, waiting and watching.

But nature has patience. And we didn’t. Despite the constant crackling, the glacier remained solid and static. Not willing to be thwarted, we made our way to a second glacier in another mini-fjord. This glacier was not as healthy, and had receded away from sea level. But not far enough that we couldn’t reach it easily.

Within a few steps of jumping out of the zodiacs, we became Students ON Ice for the first time. As we stood upon the glacier, one of our resident glaciologists, Eric Mattson regaled us with loads of info on these mighty works of nature.

Eager for more glacial fun, we zipped back to the ship for some lunch and a quick hop over to a THIRD glacier. This too, had receded, but still showed evidence of active calving. In fact, as we went our separate ways to conduct some shore workshops, a firework-like crack echoed through the valley as a portion of glacier avalanched down the slope.

Up to this point, I hadn’t actually witnessed a calving. So with a bit of determination, I climbed to the highest safe vantage point, and plunked myself down in the soft tundra with cameras in hand to see if I could out-wait this glacier and capture it in action.


Glacier 1, Mike 0.

After 90 minutes of glacial contemplation, nary a flake had calved away from the glacier. With a sigh of disappointment, I packed up my gear and trudged down the hill to the zodiacs. As I did, I realized just how much nature imitates life.

Bear with me. So a glacier is in constant motion, gravity pulling it downwards until it begins to shed its layers, just as new snow accumulates and becomes a part of the glacier. For a healthy glacier, it’s a recurring cycle. Break the cycle, and the glacier becomes unhealthy.



Life’s a little like that. Instead of gravity, time pulls you forward, slowly but surely. And like a glacier, you accumulate new experiences and people that become part of you. But at the same time, you need to shed the old baggage and weight so that it doesn’t drag you down and make you unhappy.



For me, I’ve been so grateful to have had someone come into my life and have her become a part of me for the past three years. At the time, I had thought I had managed to “calve off” all the negativity that I had dragged along with me for many years. But it turns out, I haven’t. And like a glacier, it’s unhealthy.



I’m not going to be so grandiose and say that I had an epiphany as I walked back to the zodiacs. But it did give me the resolve to work harder at calving off the old ice as time goes on. All it takes, is a little patience.



Tomorrow is our last day in Greenland. Fog and ice continue to be our enemy, but it looks like we should be able to visit a community, and that’s always a highlight of our expeditions.


North Arm, Saglek Fjord

Alicia Klaassen, Ottawa, ON

I'm finally writing my first journal with only 4 days left in the expedition. I apologize to my family in case you started to think I was dead. Yesterday was our first day in Labrador and our first official day back in Canada (yay Canada, eh!). Even after being in Greenland and Iceland, seeing my first iceberg, seeing seals and whales and beautiful yet alien Arctic landscapes, it felt good to be back home, although the Arctic did lack the mosquitoes and heat of Canada.

We arrived at Torngat Mountains National Park yesterday morning, took the zodiac over to base camp in the afternoon and came back after supper in the evening. My highlight of the whole experience was actually the "hard" hike I chose to climb up to the Inukshuk at the top of a high hill behind the Parks Canada base camp. It started off okay. I had my hiking boots on and bug jacket zipped up all the way, but soon realized I was going up a mountain without a water bottle.  A couple minutes later my laces randomly came undone. Not good signs, but all the other groups had left so I went on this one. The hike up wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, although I did wish I had brought shorts on the expedition because my bug jacket was making me overheat. Every time we had a water break, which happily was often, I got a chance to stop concentrating on not spraining my ankle and look back at the awesome view. It was amazing, every time, seeing how far we'd come and looking out at the park. When we finally got to the top of the mountain, I walked up next to the Inukshuk. It was a good size, definitely pretty against the background, but for me the view is what made the hike worthwhile.

Being here, like in Iceland and Greenland, and being on the open sea is so overwhelming, the sheer largeness of everything. Torngats Park seems to never end in every direction.  I couldn't imagine spending a month surrounded by all this every day.  To live here, like our guides do for the summer, must be exhilarating and kind of intimidating, being isolated like this in nature. But to see it passing through is something I'll never forget.

Also I just want to take this opportunity to say HAPPY 11th BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!!! Hope you like the souvenir presents your getting when I come back!

 

Jack Pong, Hong Kong

Today was the tryouts for the Arctic swim team in the very very cold ocean. As people started running in the ocean, you could hear cries of help and oh my god, it's so cold. However, that didn't stop people from joining the fun, it was an opportunity not to be missed and everyone wanted to share this experience. Although the water was the coldest water I've ever been in, it was probably the most memorable swim I will ever have. How many people can say they've been to the Arctic and swam in the ocean? Everyone took pictures, everyone screamed because of the cold and everyone including me had a great time. I feel that this group has really bonded like a family and hopefully we can have even more memorable experiences like this in the next few days.


Amaya Cherian-Hall, Whitehorse,Yukon

 

In the last few days I ate:

                  raw caribou

                  cooked caribou

                  beluga

                  narwhal

                  arctic char

                  seal

                  raw kelp straight from the ocean

 

I saw:

                  5 seals

                  some minke whales

                  5 polar bears

                  a few black bears

                  3 or so caribous

                  lots of waterfalls

                  a beautiful lake

I

                  fell asleep on a rock completely surrounded by a waterfall

                  swam in the cold ocean

                  clapped for customs officers

                  visited the Torngat base camp

                  fished

                  hiked

                  made new friends

                  much much more..

 

I was

                  in awe

                  inspired

                  happy

                  educated

                  grateful

 

Thank you so much Leacross!!


I love you family
!

 

Shaquille Starks fishing for Arctic Char!

 

Afternoon Update!

We just received a great update from Niki Trudeau - our Participant Coordinator explaining today's activities. It is very rare for us to hear from Niki on board - as she's usually wrapped up with a million logistical matters... But clearly today was very significant and special...

Read on...

"If we thought yesterday was a great landing, this one blew it out of the water! 

At 6:30am this morning, 10 Inuit elders from Nunatsiavut and 10 youth involved with the kANGIDLUASUk program joined our ship as we sailed from base camp to the North Arm of Saglek Fjord.  The elders interpreted the land and told stories as we sailed deeper into the fjord.  Legends of giants and hunters were first communicated to us in Inuktitut and then translated to English for the rest of our team members.  We have been graced with another beautiful day, with temperatures, probably reaching mid-20’s and the sun shining all day long!

We landed at the end of the North Arm of Saglek Fjord at about 10am.  We had students hiking to a waterfall and lake and participating in workshops on land: cooking country food, catching Arctic char, music, writing, art and a visit to an old Inuit hunting camp (complete with tent rings and food caches).  It has been the most organic and authentic landing so far (possibly ever, for me).  We were so lucky to have elders with us on land to prepare raw Arctic char, cooked Arctic char, caribou, mussels, bannock and tea.  Food was prepared on a flat rock, propped up above an open fire.  Elders spoke about the land, its history and their experiences growing up in this place.

Students flowed in and out of workshops taking in as much as they could.  Zev Heuer, one of our youngest expeditioners caught a fish and Simmi Sigmundsson caught the largest fish of the day!  Music could be heard from an accordion (played by the park superintendent) and guitars and at one point, a dance broke out on the beach!  Everyone was relaxed and totally enveloped by the experience. 

After another huge feast on the beach, we took group photos and had our Arctic Swim!  

The team braved the icy waters, but most found it a refreshing break from the hot day!

We just got back to the ship and the energy is off the charts!  This day will definitely be one of the most memorable for many expedition team members.

A black bear was just spotted on shore, off the port side!

We are now heading out of the North Arm, to the end of Saglek Fjord, where we will do another landing and cruise at Rose Island.  Rose Island is a transition zone for polar bears and many have been spotted here within the last few days.  Rose Island is also the site of the largest repatriation in North America.  There are over 100 Inuit grave sites on this island. 

This afternoon/evening, we will alternate landing and zodiac cruising at Rose Island…since only about 30 people can be there at one time.  We are pumped to see bears!

While one group is zodiac cruising/landing at Rose Island the other will attend a presentation called “Dreams & Resiliency” by Jesse Mike.  While the second group is cruising/landing the first group will attend a presentation on the International Polar Foundation by Isabelle du Four.  

This has truly been an incredibly enriching experience for everyone involved. 

More to come tonight!  Sorry this is so late.  We’ve been going non-stop for two days!"

 

Morning Update!



Saglek Fjord

Our team had a FANTASTIC day at the Torngat Mountains Base Camp yesterday.

As the team arrived into Saglek Fjord, SOI educator and former Newfoundland Labrador cabinet minister Trevor Taylor led a talk on Fisheries and oceans on the back deck of the ship.

The team received a very warm welcome from students at the Base Camp, Elders and Parks Canada staff. After landing, our team was given a tour of Base Camp and surrounding countryside by local students in the base's kANGIDLUASUk program.

The entire group was visited by some Students on Ice supporters who flew up by Labrador Air Twin Otter. This group included, Margaret Beckel, CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature' Mark Graham, senior researcher at the Canadian Museum of Nature; André Préfontaine, President of Canadian Geographic; Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada; Martin von Mirbach, Director of WWF-Canada's Arctic Program; Susan Nochasak, Minister of Education and Economic Development; and Philip Earle, the CEO of Air Labrador whose company graciously helped transport our SOI partners to the camp yesterday.

All of the above organizations have been extremely helpful in assisting us with this, and previous expeditions - and all have sponsored students or educators on this journey of a lifetime. Thank you!

Once ashore, the group divided into three and were led on an amazing hike through the hills and across the tundra, up some steep trails, and ultimately to the peak of a mountain. It was absolutely beautiful and stunning. Waterfalls, rivers and wild flowers were everywhere.

After the hike it was time for a big community feast! The Clipper Adventurer provided a big barbeque for the whole community and the Base Camp provided lots of country food, including seal meat, caribou and some cooked and smoked Arctic Char.

After dinner, the students had some free time to explore, mingle and play some volleyball down at the beach before the Base Camp set-up a huge campfire. Lots of impromptu songs and dances broke out and it was amazing to see so many students from all of the world come together in such an extraordinary place.

Suffice to say, everyone was exhausted by the time they got back on the ship late last night.

We would really like to thank our friends at the Base Camp for helping organize this day - in particular, Angus Simpson and Gary Blaikie of Parks Canada - and Mandy Arnold, Director of the kANGIDLUASUk youth program.


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