Daily Journey Updates
Friday, August 10, 2012
Expedition Update - 11:30 PM EST
New update from Participant Coordinator, Kathleen Connelly:
The ship awoke to the bump and growl of ice along the hull as we neared the town of Illulisaat. Around 9am it was off in the zodiacs, zigzagging through the ice and entering the inner harbor of the town. The harbor was packed with boats, there was a real buzz about the place, boats scurrying backwards and forwards, the fish factory humming in the background. The main activity was to hike through town to take look at the Ice fjord. It is a breathtaking site and you can easily see why this is a world heritage site. Other points of interest on the way were the vegetation and archeological site of Sermermiut, home to many Inuit cultures. On the return, there was a chance to visit the many souvenir shops in the town and then back to the dock for the trip to the ship to enjoy a late lunch. During the afternoon, the ship sailed slowly through the car park of majestic icebergs. There was a chance for two great presentations, one by JF and the other by Bill. These had barely finished when our evening plans changed. The ship had found some excellent ice, the weather conditions were perfect so off everyone went in the zodiacs for a cruise along some colossal icebergs and through fields of ice. It is virtually impossible to find words to describe this experience.
The walls of polished ice, the crackling, twinkling brash ice was beautiful.
What a way to say goodbye to Disko Bay. A vibrant diverse recap and briefing drew another day to a close.
Expedition Update - 11:00 AM EST
New update from Expedition Leader, Geoff Green:
We arrived in Illulissat, Greenland this morning amidst hundreds of massive icebergs (see photo below). Illulissat is located near Jakobshavn Glacier, which is a huge outlet glacier that produces roughly 10% of all of Greenland's icebergs. It also drains 6.5% of the entire Greenlandic icesheet. Some 35 billion tonnes of icebergs calve off and pass out of the fjord every year! Icebergs breaking off the glacier are sometimes so large (up to a kilometer in height!) that they are too tall to float down the fjord and lie stuck on the bottom of its shallower areas, sometimes for years, until they are broken up by the force of the glacier and icebergs further up the fjord.
Our team was greeted this morning by the Mayor of Illulissat in the Town Chambers. The students are visiting the town this morning then after lunch we'll be going to see the ice fjord. We had a great day yesterday and everyone is having a fabulous time!
Please note that, although our expedition was delayed in Iqaluit, we will be returning to Iqaluit and Ottawa on Sunday, August 12 on the same flights as per our originally scheduled itinerary.
New videos from August 10: Arctic climate change and zodiac landings!
Photos from August 10:
Entering the harbour in Illulissat
Angel Deer and Laakuluk Bathory
A huge tabular iceberg gleams like pewter in the evening light
Our vessel the Akademic Ioffe
Entering the harbour in Illulissat
Fishing for cod off the coast of Greenland
Holly Fleming, Kieran Sheppard, Emma Arsenault, Ocean McLeod and Emily Morin
take a stroll down Ilulissat's boardwalk
Maggie Saviakjuk and Nancy Tooktoo
Student Journals - August 10
Today i got up in Ilulisat Greenland, so exciting! I bought and spent a lot, im most excited for flying and knowing on how much i have spent, like its crazy! i took out 3000 kroners almost and and holy I feel like its expensive. We will soon be back in Canada. Ha ha I had a crazy long hike 2-3 hours of walking a steep hill and then walking down ouch! my knees still hurt but oh well having a great time, took a lot of pictures! and Clara hope ur following this if you are reading this, want to send some money? sorry running out and already bought u something.
See ya in a couple to 3 or 4 days
Hello everyone! We have been in Greenland now for the past two days. As we have crossed the line out of Canada I have been missing home. These past days have been absolutely busy as we are nearing the end of our voyage. Yesterday we went to Disco Island and visited the community. We arrived an visted the museum, it was full of the most unique and contrasting things, such as the tradtional clothing and portraits. There were very many old artifacts from way back in the day. I stopped to think as we were there that I felt so lucky to be living in a world so beautiful. The lands and culture of the places in Disco Island we visited felt so rich and real. One of the highlights of my day yesterday was seeing the soccer field, which was covered with gravel. The view to the waterfront was phenomenal: the ocean was covered with ice bergs. I got to kick around on the field with Calvin, Tyson and Emmanuel. It was a long and well earned day.
Today we went into the community of IIullissat to see the smaller ice bergs that separate from the hugest ice cap in the world. We walked through town and hills called the "yellow hike". This led us to the water close up where the ice bergs were located. It was such a peaceful site; all of us took lots of pictures. Then we eventually kept walking through the hills leading us back to the town. We went to go see the mayor, who gave a wonderful speech. It was so nice and inspiring. After we came back and went shopping I bought 3D post cards. The trip seems like it has gone by so fast but at the same time I will be glad to be home to share my experience with everyone.
See you all very soon.
Hello! Today we walked through a community in Greenland. We visted tons of stores and bakeries and such. Also, we went on a hike to go see the ice fjord just outside on the community. So far, it's been a pretty good day. This trip has honestly been the greastest experience of my life. Its just amazing to see all the things I've seen, go where barely anybody as gone before, where almost nobody lives. I'm having the time of my life here, and I don't really want to leave. Hope everything is going well back home!
Mike Jensen (staff)
For anyone who’s wondering if I’m still alive – the answer is yes… although barely. Today really tested that boundary… but more on that later. Let’s see if I can wrap up what’s been happening in the past week.
Since our amazing and somewhat-famous (I hear) escapade with the Coast Guard, we finally set sail up the east coast of Baffin Island aboard our floating classroom, the Akademik Ioffe. We spent the first day really getting acquainted with our new home – it’s a world class icebreaker but it’s no first-class cruise ship. She’s well-fitted with comfy cabins, a top-of-the-line dining room, comfy lounge and a cozy library. The only downside is the lack of a room big enough and practical enough for our big all-hands briefings – the only space that comes close is this claustrophobic and improperly seated presentation room on the first deck. But enough about the ship…
The east coast of Baffin Island provided me with a bit of a missing puzzle piece. On my 2009 expedition, thick ice prevented us from going as far north on our itinerary as planned. Naturally, we made up for it with different stops, but I always wondered what those missing places were like. This year, I found out, with stops at Monumental and LadyFranklinIslands and Sunshine Fiord. Both were beautiful sights, of course… our cruise around LadyFranklinIsland provided us with a few good polar bear sightings. And Sunshine Fiord with its majestic cliffs led us to a perfect landing spot – and an infamous SOI hike.
Avid readers of my blog will know what these SOI hikes can be like. The never-forgotten “short” hike in Auyuittuq National Park, the gruelling and exhausting trek to the bird cliffs of Diana Island, just to name a few. So it’s with a bit of experience that I headed out on this one at the tip of Sunshine Fiord. Aaaannnd… it wasn’t so bad. Did I make it to the top? Nope. Did I kill myself trying? Nope. Was I disappointed? Nope. In the end, I saw some amazing sights, talked to some fellow expeditioners and ended things off without having to drag myself into a zodiac. Now THAT’s how you do a hike.
Our final stop in Canada was a community visit to Qiqitarjuak, a small hamlet of about 500 people. Again, regular readers will know that community visits are usually the highlight of our expedition – they provide the human side of the scale, as compared to the natural side. And Qid did not let us down. Almost the entire town came out to greet us with warm and friendly welcomes at the dock, and a lively and vibrant celebration in town. There was throat singing, square dancing, taste-testing (whale, clams and char), and lots and lots of happy children, students and adults. It was chaotic and fun-filled and no one wanted to leave.
But Greenland awaited us, and we set sail across the Davis Strait with our eyes on this exotic land.
And then came the seasickness.
Now I’d patched myself up from the moment I stepped foot on the ship, not wanting to have any sort of heavy swells sneak up and catch me unawares. And for the first few days, calm seas prevailed and many of the students (and some staff) began to think themselves immune to the ocean’s effects. And admittedly, the open seas were pretty tame compared to what I’ve experienced on previous voyages. But nevertheless, the rocking and rolling of our vessel caused some upset stomachs and for most of the day, students could be seen lolling about with green gills. I’m happy to say that most of the effects slipped past me, and I once again praised the almighty Patch. I even managed to present one of my activities to a great group of about 13 students.
Our arrival in Greenland was to a small inlet called DiskoBay. For some reason, the name titillated me the entire time, and I walked around the ship singing and dancing to Staying Alive. Hmmm… perhaps the Patch was having some adverse affects…
Anyhoo, our first stop was a small village called Qeqetarsuaq. Sound familiar? It should… it sounds very similar to the town we had just left before crossing the Davis Strait, and was a nice link between the two countries. But where the Canadian Qiq overwhelmed us with a sea of welcoming humanity, Greenland Qeq was quiet and sleepy. That’s not to say we weren’t welcome. But arriving early on a Thursday morning probably meant not a lot of townsfolk were rushing out to greet us.
I could have stayed in Qeq for days, exploring the different nooks and crannies of this beautiful little village. I snoozed for a bit on a rock down by the coastline, with majestic icebergs slowly lumbering past me. We checked out the local museum, spent some time figuring out the exchange rate between Danish krone and the Canadian loonie, and all in all had a truly enjoyable time.
Which brings me to today’s adventures, but I’m afraid that will have to wait for hopefully another blog entry. The eyelids are heavy and the bunk is calling me. Good night everyone!
So today marks one day with the Students On Ice family! WOW. They are an incredible group of people and I couldn't be anymore blessed to be around them. Today, we spotted 8 Polar bears... no big deal. Nevermind, it was magnificent! We were all in the middle of breakfast when we heard an announcement that a mother and her two cubs were swimming; so we all ran out and watched for about a half an hour. A little while later, Geoff makes another announcement saying that we turned the ship around because there were three polar bears on a large sheet of ice. They were the cutest! They were stretching, cleaning, rolling around and were clearly very interested to know why we were there.
Today I woke up late because I didn’t hear Geoff and my roommate tried to wake me up but I didn’t hear her either. After we went to the town of Ilulissat in Greenland. First we went on a hike and we saw many icebergs. It was like a big pile of ice. I liked the hike and then after we went to the community hall and met the Mayor of the town. They were nice and they had some pop for us but we didn’t know what name it was. I went shopping after and bought a sweatshirt and a mug and I went to the bank. I also bought soccer socks which I am excited to wear back home. We got back to the ship and I saw JP’s presentation called “How to eat an Elephant” about going to the top of Mount Everest. Now we just got back from a zodiac cruise where we saw more icebergs. I want to stay here longer because it is awesome.
Writing this, I am reflecting back on today and yesterday. Yesterday was our first day in Greenland (closest I've ever been to Sweden)! We explored Disko Island and I hiked the blue hike. It was a busy day and my legs are still sore from it. Writing this, I just finished an interview with CBC radio and earlier today we visited and hiked in a town in Greenland. The interview was interesting as it gave me a chance to reflect and think about the experience of this trip, something I had not thought about. I've realized how my perspectives have changed and through new experiences, I have gained new values or opinions. Whenever we hike and reach a summit or I stop and look back, I realize how small I am or how beautiful the planet is. Before this expedition I had never stopped to consider how diverse Earth is. While Ottawa is beautiful and I miss it deeply, I decided that I want to travel and experience the world. I believe people are the sum of their experiences therefore, I wish to be rich with culture and knowledge from around the world.
I'm not in Canada anymore! I have so much to say!! First we went to Qikiqtarjuaq on August 7 and I got to see Marissa and met some family! We had some mattaa, fish, and ammumayuqs. I brought some mattaa with me on the ship thanks to Marissa's mom. We watched people throat sing, carve, qisiliriq, and igak. People were square dancing, and there were some people who were selling carvings and lots of other things. I didn't want to leave Qikiqtarjuaq, I'm glad I got to see Marissa.
After we left Qikiqtarjuaq we were making our way through Davis Strait on August 8. I was in my bed most of the day because I was so seasick. I really wanted to go home and just be on my bed where it wasn't rocking from side to side hehe. I missed some workshops and briefings but I just couldn't handle walking or sitting or just being in a crowd. I'm glad the worst part is over with though. Now we only have a few more days on the ship and I dont want it to end!!
We went to Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland on August 9 and it's such a colorful community! We got to visit the museum, store, post office and just walk around the community. The food here is so different, and I got to send a post card home :) I think I'm going to make it home before the post card does. For $100 in Greenland money, its $20 in Canadian. It got confusing at times trying to buy things. We came back to the ship for lunch and it was out on deck! It was so nice to eat outside. After lunch we went back to the community and went for a hike. There was blue group, they went up the mountain, the red group went to the waterfall and the yellow group took the easiest route. I ended up picking berries instead with Monica and Salumie, there were so many!!
Today, August 10, we came to Ilulisaat, Greenland. It's pretty much the same as Qeqertarsuaq but a lot bigger and more stores. We went for another hike and we got to see a lot of icebergs. We saw a sod house, its made of rocks and soil. The stores are awesome, I'd love to live here someday. I'll write more tomorrow! :)
Miss and love you mom! See you in 6 days!
Today we woke up to another colorful town in Disco Bay called Ilulissat. We spent some time in town, mainly hiking on the outskirts. Unfortunately, we accidently followed the wrong path for our hike! We took much longer than expected, and I didn't wear thick enough socks so I got blisters early on. Brutal! It was very pretty views, especially of the icebergs, but I still don't really know if the pain in both my feet and in my back were worth it. I was very nice, however, to shop in town! I bought souvenirs for myself, friends and family, and used a bank machine to take out some Kroners (the currency here in Greenland) - I guess I'll find out the extra charge when I get home! This evening we went for a zodiac cruise in Disco Bay with hundreds of icebergs! It was incredible, they were by far the biggest icebergs I've ever seen! My memory card is still missing, and I'm still incredibly sad about it. There's a photo competition on board, and a lot of the photos I would have entered were on that card. I'm very worried that I won't find it - I have less than 48 hours left on the ship to search for the millionth time.