Daily Journey Updates
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
***We've just added a new video below called
'Ice'. Scroll down to see why the team is stuck in
***Scroll down to see today's photos and journal
Expedition Update - 9:00 pm EST
New update from Expedition Leader, Geoff Green:
We've had another eventful day in Iqaluit! The weather has been simply gorgeous and we took advantage of this with a brisk hike this morning in the surrounding area close to town. The community has been buzzing in recent days about our official 2012 Arctic Expedition Launch event and it did not disappoint! We served up an amazing community barbeque over lunch at Sylvia Grinnell Park. The turn out was great, the food delicious and we heard some inspiring farewell speeches. A big thanks to First Air and the Government of Nunavut for their support of our Launch!
We planned to be setting sail this evening but alas it was not to be. Ice in the harbour has prevented our departure for the time being. So the team is back at Arctic College for the night. We've had an evening educational program and we will try again to get to the ship tomorrow morning. Updates on our departure status will be posted here as soon as possible. Keep checking back for the latest information and remember that ice and weather conditions in the Arctic are unpredictable. Flexibility is key!
Expedition Update - 7:00 am EST
This morning, the
team woke up to magnificent sunny blue skies and the discovery that there is
still quite a lot of ice in Iqaluit's harbour making access to the ship
(anchored off shore) very difficult. They will be checking out of the Arctic
College residence and heading out on a hike this morning. This will be followed
by the official Students on Ice 2012 Arctic Expedition Launch event at noon!
They are keeping a close eye on the wind and the tides in the hope that the ice
will clear enough to allow zodiac access to the ship. Keep checking back here
for updates as the day progresses. It is sure to be an interesting
Video shot on August 1 in Iqaluit: 'Ice!'
Photos from August 1!
"Speed dating" with Meg Beckel of the Canadian Museum of Nature
A fun break during speed dating
Matty McNair stands in the depression of the remains of an ancient sod house
and describes the life of the people who lived there
The ice that is blocking our exit from Frobisher Bay.
Angel Deer, Maggie Saviakjuk, Amanda Akeeagok, Dave Henry, Poasie Napartuk
stop for a rest break on the hike in Sylvia Grinnel Park.
Inuit elder speaks to the students during the BBQ celebrations.
Amanda Akeeagok presents a gift to the Premier of Nunavut, Eva Arriak.
Danno Peters and Alana Krug-Macleod check their photos.
Marine Poirie and Ariana Vaisey look at tiny Arctic flowers through hand-held magnifying glasses.
Student Journals - August 1, 2012
Nothing is boring! Today was a time of many more "first"s. First off, I started the day with a "first" of seeing Looty's Inuit carvings that were towering at 10+ feet. Second off, I hiked on the Silvia Grinnel river learning about diatoms and water. Third off, I heard an Elder and the Nunavut Premier speak. Fourth off, I heard throat singing. Really, the list could go on and on! And, while I say "I" repetitively in this first-person perspective, it is actually "we" in a global perspective. We all did so much! It was very shared - like how somebody talks to someone, the other listens, and the process repeats itself in a loop between the two people.
Disappointment showered in with our ship's situation, and I'm not sure how many more "first"s and excitement I can still have. Piet Hein once said in his grooks (poetry) that Things Take Time (T.T.T). Our situation is very much proof of that. However, I am so glad to be on this trip! Here's a shoutout to ClimateOne and my family for making this trip possible! I may not be able to hear from them, but I'm glad that they may hear from me wherever they might be.
The Ice Beach
Pri:vet ('hello' in Russian)! Yesterday was our first full day in Iqaluit and we thoroughly experienced the community. We visited signature places such as Frobisher Bay, the dogsled breeder, Legislative building, and the Nunavut Museum. Each location added a new flavour to the taste of Nunavut.
The landscape of Iqaluit is truly unique. Each building is painted a vibrant colour, the terrain is tinted lavender from the dwarf fire weeds, and the beaches are unbelievably eye-opening. Coming from Markham, Ontario, the beaches there contain the usual sand, seaweed and rocks. Iqaluit beaches are pretty much the same - except that they have truck-sized ice blocks left over from high Arctic tides.
Geoff said that seeing those ice blocks are a rare sight. I would never have pictured myself walking in boots and a winter jacket on sand with enormous magnificent statues of ice; snow white on the top and sky blue at the bottom. It's that kind of scenery that can only be found in the Arctic.
I am extremely grateful to Earth Rangers for sponsoring me
because they are the reason that my journey started with an Ice Beach and it
only gets better.
Tune in next time when we board the ship!
These past days have been such an amazing experience for me. I have met so many great people from all sorts of nations, such as Germany , Russia, USA , France and all over Canada. The day eventually came to where we went to go see a carving made by some Inuit elders from different communities up north, it was such a site and unique from what I am use to back home. The carving was made out of stone not wood which was so awesome!! The figure was so beaitiful I couldn't believe my eyes. Then after we went to Silvia Grinell Park and hiked through the rock hills and saw amazing scenery. We seperated into three different groups: Animal adaptation, plant researchers and geographic sightings. I was in the Animal adaptation group, we saw very little birds and butterflies but not much was around. Soon we came to these amazing waterfalls flowing so fast it reminded me of the course of life and made me appericate wildlife and nature so much more. Being away from all of the city and focusing on the Arctic has made me realize so far that this is someone's home and we need to perserve it.
Students on Ice had their launch off shortly after we had a BBQ with hotdogs and hamburgers etc. We had speeches from Elders and the Premier of Nunavut. These people of the Arctic are so passionate about their home and surroundings it has been such a big eye opener. I feel as if this is home and I have been here forever but that's not the fact. We also have had workshops and greetings from people from the commuunity. We haven't been able to board the ship yet which is kind of a bummer but we'll get there. I am having so much fun and learning a lot from my peers and leaders so far its been an awesome experience.
ttiillo everybody !
I finally arrived in Iqaluit and met the other students. This city is so different from the European cities, everything here is made to be functional, therefore it is not so pretty but it is nice anyway. Today, when Julia and I arrived in the residence, we had to go in a bus which drove us to a place where there was seA ice that drifted in overnight because of the very high tides. Afterwards we went to see Maddi and her sled dogs, she explained to us how to manage the equipment, how to act with this kind of dogs, and then she gave them meat.
Today is the third day of the expedition and the second day in Iqaluit. We were fortunate enough to experience what this exotic community is like, as well as visiting many exciting points of interest. Today we went on a hike and ended it with a barbecue at Silvia Grinnell Park. This was a great opportunity to really take in all the scenery and to experience the beauty of this very northern community. The plan was that we would board the ship right after our barbecue, where many people from Iqaluit accompanied us. Sadly this plan did not work out because of excessive amounts of ice, which made it impossible for us to reach the ship safely. This is why we have to stay in our Arctic college for one more night, with the hope that we can board our ship tomorrow! For the rest it has been great to meet people from all over the world and hearing all the great stories from both students and staff. Hopefully all goes well tomorrow so that we can finally start our expedition with the Akademik Ioffe. I am very grateful for being part of this and especially learning from the elders here and the great stories and advice they give to all of us. Until now it has been an enriching trip in many ways.
Mike Jensen (staff)
Tuesday July 31st, 2012
Greetings from Iqaluit, Nunavut! It’s been a hectic, but rewarding couple of days here in the nation’s newest territorial capital. Since my last check-in, we hopped aboard our chartered flight (thanks to the generous support of major SOI sponsor, First Air… we love First Air!) that flew us direct from sweatily-oppressive Ottawa to the cool and drizzly Iqaluit. It was quite amusing to see many of the much-underdressed students, including our two Tennessee boys – Derrick and Kevin, make a quick bee-line for the terminal.
We were immediately bussed to our home for the next two days – the dormitories of Arctic College. The accommodations were definitely a bit sparser than what many were used to, but it was warm and the people welcoming. For the rest of the day, we were treated to some presentations and introductory games. The highlight for me was seeing a former SOI alumnus from 2010 – a great guy named Jonathan Alexander. Big Jon was a memorable student for me – quiet and introverted at the start of the expedition, yet Mr. ChattyPants by the end. And now, at only 18, he’s a Conservation Officer at some local parks and has serious plans to take studies in Environmental Technologies. He remembered me right away and it was obvious that SOI had a positive and continued influence on his young life, and it’s a great source of pride that I played a small role in it.
After a good night’s sleep, it was a mad morning of student-staff Speed Dating (nothing creepy, just a way for all the students to get to know all the staff), followed by a great presentation on the Arctic by our resident polar explorer and expert, David Fletcher and the former president of ITK, an Inuit socio-political organization, Mary Simon. But being in the dorms for 24 hours was getting a little claustrophobic, so it was time to hit the town.
First up was one of the most surreal experiences of my four expeditions. As mentioned last entry, we have a bit of an ice problem in Frobisher Bay. It’s decided to stick around longer than usual, and the entire bay is packed with a dense collection of “bergy bits” – relatively small chunks of ice ranging from large trucks to small houses. Normally floating in the water, we arrived to find that hundreds of them had been temporarily stranded on the ground by Iqaluit’s famous tide. By walking through the muck for about half a kilometre, we were able to walk amongst these bits of ice, take amazing photos and videos and carefully climb aboard the smaller flat ones to truly become Students ON Ice.
It was like walking through an alien forest of icy-blue “vegetation”, and will definitely rank high on the list of unique opportunities that only SOI karma can create. As I said to fellow staffer, Eric Mattson – “I’d cross that off my bucket list… if there was any remote way that my imagination could come up with adding that to my bucket list in the first place!”
We then toured the Museum and Visitor Centre, and the Nunavut Legislative Assembly – both of these places I had been to before when visiting here at the end of 2009 Arctic. Then it was off to visit Matty McNair’s dog yard. Matty is a well-known explorer in her own right, having travelled by dog sled to both poles of the Earth. Her beautiful dogs were a highlight for me, but a slight tinge of homesickness coursed through me as I thought of my own dogs and cats I left back home. Although well looked after, some of them are elderly, and I can’t help but worry about them and miss them.
So now, after an evening of some music, presentations and planning, we are preparing for tomorrow. I can tell you that one huge hurdle has been overcome – our ship, the Akademik Ioffe, has made it to port, thanks to the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Terry Fox.
Major hurdle #2: how to get 120 people and thousands of pounds of luggage through the dense sea ice to safely get aboard our floating classroom. Stay tuned!!
UPDATE: August 1st – We had a great launch event today at Sylvia Grennell Park, with well wishes by Inuit elders and the premier of Nunavut. But despite all the good SOI karma we could muster, the ice just didn’t co-operate. Instead of Students On Ice, we’ve become Students Stuck In Ice. Spending another night in Iqaluit!
The Arctic, it has surpassed anything I could have dreamed it would be. The people, the landscapes, and just the things I have learned so far are amazing! And we haven't even got on the ship yet! When I applied for this expedition I never thought that the Inuit Elders were going to be one of my highlights. I met one Elder named Elise who taught me so much about Arctic plants and had a great personality, and she didn't even speak English! I can't wait to see what I'm going to learn next.
Today was a bright and sunny day! So sunny that I actually got a sun burn.
Yes I know a sun burn in the Arctic, you may laugh all you like but in my
defense I was wearing 60 block!
We spent the morning hiking along the Silvia Grinnell river studying subjects such as watersheds, geology, habitats and wildlife, and plant life. Around lunch time we arrived at the falls and Silvia Grinnell Park (where we held our pre-launch BBQ). We then continued hiking around the river, falls, and park late into the afternoon under the nearly cloudless blue sky. I even managed to snap a few pictures with my Scout flag.
I even managed to find a GeoCache today during our afternoon hikes (My second in Iqaluit this trip).
Sadly our "Pre-launch BBQ" did not immediately precede the boarding of our research vessel as it was supposed to. Due to the build up of ice in the bay we will be in Iqaluit for at least one more night.
Yours In Scouting (and slightly pink),
Daniel (Danno) Peters
Hiking was a lot of fun today. I was walking with the group who were looking at wildlife. We saw birds and insects: a couple ravens, a few seagulls, and then a catapiller, and butterflies. After the barbeque, I went with another group to look at rocks. I started to learn about how the mountains were formed. Now i am looking forward to getting on the ship and sailing away. :)
Greatings from Iqaluit!
First off I want to thank the Foundation Albert II of Monaco for making this trip possible for me. For the past two days I have been living very differently from my usual routine: my schedule has depended on nature for the first time in my life, and this obviously created an immediate connection with it, which is very new to me. I miss my family and friends very much but being so out of contact has a real charm. As Geoff said "The Arctic can lure you into its beauty" and he was right, it is really mesmerizing! Nature's beauty is inviting but the people may be even more welcoming. I have made great friends already, met incredible staff that are so available to any question, and interacted with Inuit elders that were eager for us to learn about their land. Man and nature live so harmoniously up here, it is really inspiring. My camera and I are taking in every second of this great adventure.
As for tomorow, we are going to go with the flow, quite literally in this case as we are dependant on the ice to embark the ship!
On August 1st, we were told to get up early morning at 7;30. At Pond Inlet, NU, I'm a early riser, my father, James Angnetsiak usually woke up at 6;45 to go to work at Canadian North, Agent. He is also my role model as being a father, hard worker, has confidence, never gives up on us and to the whole family. After, I woke up I had nothing to do but going to the gym to play basketball, and which nobody was there, I played by myself usually by myself. But I finished early because someone was complaining about waking them up by bouncing the basketball, and which was my fault.
After playing some hoops I went back to my room, 208 and wake both my roommates, Emanuel Maktar, and Michael Milton (They were both from Pond Inlet, NU). After I wake them up we had to go ready for breakfast, and I also was hungry. We went downstairs, saw few staffs asking about us if we were early risers, and yes we were.
Today was our first day and a brilliant precursor to the journey that lies ahead of us on this expedition.This morning some of us were woken up by the planes that kept flying by. Iqaluit is a beautiful, isolated little town which is surrounded by nature and queer other - worldly buildings which definitely add to its rustic charm. After breakfast,we visited one of the sculptures that was carved by a native artist, Lootie. It was astounding to see the wonders that can be created from a giant piece of rock. Later we went on a hike through rocky terrain in a place called Crystal 2 where my plant group looked at many mosses, lichens, berries and even the world's smallest trees through a magnifying lens. We were amazed by the spectacular colours we observed all around us. After hiking for a while, we finally reached our final destination-the barbeque.Over hot dogs and burgers that satiated our ravenous appetites, we interacted with the people of Nunavut including the Premier and the Mayor of Iqaluit. One of the elders inspired us by asking us to soak up all that we could and share our inspiration with other youngsters back home. I then attended the geology workshop where we learned about the topography of this region. I also took some time to just sit on a rock and look around at the beautiful Sylvia Grinnell Falls gushing down with torrential power. It was a truly beautiful hike which helped us get a glimpse into the polar region of Iqualiut. Unfortunately we could not get on our ship due to sea ice. But on an optimistic note we got to spend another night at the Nunavut Arctic College here in Iqaluit.
What an exhausting day! Hiking, hiking, then some
more surprise hiking. First however, we took a short walk to see a masterpiece
in progress - a local artist named Lootie in the process of carving giant
pieces of granite into a giant statue for the centre of Iqaluit. It was so
interesting to see this giant rock that still looked natural on some edges, and
had works of art carved into others. From one side a giant polar bear, and the
other an igloo in progress - so beautiful! After that we left for our hike,
following the Silvia Grinnell upstream. It was beautiful (although full of
flies) and was a wonderful path to follow. The sea ice scattered the backdrop,
we came across two waterfalls, and the mix of hills, sand, marsh and granite
painted stunning scenery! We had a barbeque at the top of one of the hills,
with the entire city of Iqaluit invited! The thick ice was still a concern as
to whether or not we could set sail today, so while staff were assessing the
ice conditions, we went on a "surprise" hike to other areas near by! I went to
the highlands, and down to the valley within a few feet of the waterfalls! One
purpose of the barbeque was to wish us luck in setting sail; unfortunately,
however, the ice conditions are not going well and we could not get to our ship
today. Hopefully tomorrow! I did hear that CBC aired a story to the effect of
"Students 'stranded' on Ice;" not really sure what was said, but to my friends
and family reading back home, not to worry we're fine and will be leaving soon!
First thing we wake up and get our luggage downstairs, we have breakfast and when we finish we went to Looty's sculpture and at 9:30a.m. we went on the bus and went for a hike. After we hiked at the Sylvia Grinnell Park we had our BBQ it was delicious and I saw some people I knew like Enooapik Sagiarturk, Jonathan Cruz, Sylvia Cloutier and her son.
The first day we didn't get on the ship. I got a tan because I didn't have any sunscreen. We saw beautiful little flowers on the side of the mountain with a microscope. We brought back our luggages up 3 flights of stairs. Later on Donna and Ashley throat sang for us.
Hiking was a lot of fun today. I was walking with the group who were looking at wildlife. We saw birds and insects: a couple ravens, a few seagulls, and then a caterpillar, and butterflies. After the barbeque, I went with another group to look at rocks.
I'm glad you all stayed tuned for today's update but I regret to inform you guys that we did not get on the ship! However, flexibility is THE key. If you're in the Arctic, there's no way you can get bored, especially if you're with Students On Ice. We went on a hike through Crystal Tue National Park where I layed down on a massive rock and just starred out into the ice; the view was magnificent! The Arctic Ocean is just spectacular especially when you're also being exposed to beautiful flowers and the perfectly blue sky. In addition, when you have throat-singers such as Donna and Ashley to introduce you to native culture, you'll never need TV... enriched and cultural entertainment surrounds us, you can't just see, you must look.