Daily Journey Updates
Friday, August 3, 2012
***Scroll down to see today's photos,
video and journal
Expedition Update - 11:00 pm EST
from SOI headquarters in Gatineau, Quebec:
Good news! We've received word that the expedition team (and their gear!) were all successfully loaded onto the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Des Groseilliers. This is the first step. We are now awaiting word on the transfer to the expedition ship. The team may now be out of cell and internet range so we may not have another update until morning but this is a promising start. We'll post the latest updates as soon as we receive them!
Alex Taylor celebrates the team's successful boarding of the CCGS Des Groseilliers
Expedition Update - 3:00 pm EST
New update from Expedition Leader, Geoff Green:
We have some encouraging new developments to report. As you know, we have been trying all options to get to our ship but the amount of ice in the Iqaluit harbour is simply incredible. Conditions like this have not been seen in Iqaluit as long as anyone here can remember. We have been waiting for the wind to shift but still no luck.
After much discussion with the Canadian Coast Guard, Captain Sylvain Bertrand has just received approval to attempt a landing in the Iqaluit harbour with his vessel the CCGS Des Groseilliers. If successful, our expedition team would then be transported out to rendez-vous with our ship the Akademic Ioffe where a ship-to-ship transfer would then take place. This operation is expected to last approximately 3 hours and will be attempted at high tide this evening around 8:00 pm local time.
Although this is an entirely safe operation, there is always the chance that Mother Nature will not cooperate. If winds are too strong or weather conditions are not ideal, the transfer will not take place. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best. Rest assured that we are in good hands with a Canadian Coast Guard vessel that can power through ice a meter thick at a speed of 3 knots. She is an essential tool in the Canadian icebreaking program (see photo below).
CCGS Des Groseilliers
Needless to say this latest development has been well-received by the expedition team. They have been packing up every morning and checking out of the Arctic College residence only to check back in later on. The students have been tremendously patient. They are upbeat and making the best of it. Our days are full of activities from hiking to workshops to artist demonstrations. The energy and team spirit is exceptional and the local community has really rallied around us. We've received incredible support from Mayor Redfern, Premier Aariak, and on and on. Bob Hanson has been hugely helpful with transportation around town and the Arctic College has provided exceptional service as we have extended our stay there.
I want to reiterate just how unusual this situation is. No boats are able to get in or out of the harbour. If the planned Coast Guard operation works out, it will be an awesome, virtually unprecedented occasion for this community. Given that the Canadian Coast Guard is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this would be quite a notable event. It must be emphasized, however, that we are not out of the woods yet. There is no guarantee that this operation will be a success. Stay tuned and we will keep you posted with updates as soon as possible.
the time being, the students are doing more workshops in town and at the
College this afternoon. Then we'll all be heading to the College for a snack. A
flash mob (!) is planned for downtown Iqaluit later this afternoon. Then it's
back for a pizza dinner and off to the harbour to board (we hope!) the CCGS
Des Groseilliers! Wish us luck!
from Participant Coordinator, Kathleen Connelly
Everyone up early but sadly the ice condition was unchanged so another day in Iqaluit was planned. The morning was taken up with a hike along the coast to Apex Beach. We walked past Matty’s son’s workshop where he is building a Greenlandic kayak. From there, the route took us through town to the beach and then a hike along the coastline. Once in from to the Old Hudson Bay Post, the group spread around the beach looking at the huge pieces of sea ice. From the beach, the anchored freighter, the Icebreaker De Groselliers and our ship, the Ioffe, could be clearly seen. While students enjoyed their day of fresh air, there was a lot of activity going on behind the scenes to try to get us to our ship and our good karma played a major role in this.
After lunch, back at the college, our afternoon consisted of a variety of workshops. With our extra unanticipated time in Iqaluit, our group got creative and the remainder of our afternoon was spent rehearsing and performing a flash mob in Iqaluit’s town center! In hopes of helping the ice clear from Frobisher Bay, our flash dance was a carefully student-choreographed dance to a medley of songs with lyrics about ice! The locals watched in amazement at the 120 staff and students moving about the square. Back at the college rumours of boarding the ship were finally confirmed by Geoff. We were to board the ship that evening. We celebrated with a pizza dinner and said a huge thank you to all the staff at Arctic College who so kindly accommodated 120 people with only a moment’s notice.
busy evening ensued at 6:30pm when all boarded the busses for the last time and
make their way to the breakwater. Upon arrival, we could see the Canadian
Coast Guard vessel anchored right in front of us. The cargo loading craft was
our link between the land and our ship. Everyone quickly donned full body
floatation suits and loaded up the coast guard barges. We were extremely warmly
welcomed aboard, greeted with hot coffee and freshly baked cookies. Donna and
Ashley performed a traditional Inuit throat song for the crew to thank them for
coming to our rescue! We then loaded zodiacs and by 1:00am, we were safely
aboard our new floating home! Once on the ship, we sailed away from our
precarious position in the channel. A totally unique and crazy day; it hardly
Expedition Update - 10:00 am EST
New update from Expedition Leader, Geoff Green:
This morning we awoke to find that the ice had not moved out of the Iqaluit harbour as we had hoped. We are assessing the situation and are exploring all possible options for getting students and gear to the ship today. We will have further updates throughout the day. Thanks for your patience and understanding during this exceptional situation.
Video from August 3 in Iqaluit: the Coast Guard rescue!
Photos from August 3!
Annie Petaulassie shows Prizzi how to embroider.
Students perform in a “flash mob” at the Four Corners in Iqaluit.
Ekaterina teaches a Russian language class.
Soap carving class
Bill Lishman and students turn ivory soap into works of art outside the Old Residence in Iqaluit
Rosemary examines a polar bear skull
Working on embroidery
Terri makes friends with a sled dog puppy.
Working on a project in the sewing class.
Students examine a Greenland kayak and learn how they are constructed.
The Calamus was the last of the double-ended wooden research vessel
based on the design of the famous Fram
Student Journals - August 3, 2012
I woke up at
6:40a.m. 4th day in Iqaluit, 3rd day of not going on the ship. We walked about
2 and a half hours to Apex on a trail.15 of the SOI team were sewing a wall
hanging with the help of Annie Petaulaasie.At 3:30p.m. we started rehersing for
the flash mob at the NAC. After the rehersing we started walking to the four
corners at 4:35p.m. Avery Kinainak started to play her violin and the mayor
said she needed to pay a federal fee to play on the street. 4 of the students
started dancing to Blowing in the Wind and when Ice Ice Baby started half of
the students start to dance, when the other chorus started we all started to
dance as well so it was pretty awesome. 6:45 p.m. we go on the bus and we went
to the dock we get in a waterproof suit, I was on Barge 1. 7:50 p.m. we are on
the Canadian coast guard ship, we waited for the rest of the SOI crew, after
the crew arrived we started to sail to our ship Akademic Ioffe. We arrived on
our ship at 12:00a.m. and we had to wait again for the rest of the crew and it
took them one hour so we had a briefing about the ship. I finally went to sleep
around 1:45 a.m.
The past twenty-four hours have been flooding with intensity and excitement. Due to the excessive sea ice in Frobisher Bay, our ship, the Akademik Ioffe, was unable to come close enough for S.O.I. to safely board. However, after many phone calls and extra nights at the Nunavut Arctic College, Geoff managed to devise a plan - and boy was it crazy.
Yesterday, the S.O.I. family went on the school buses for the last time to the harbour, we dressed up in orange life suits (not vests), and went on barges at sunset. A barge is basically a steel platform of a boat used to transport baggage and supplies while being strong enough to crush sea ice. It was my first time in Arctic waters and I could not have asked for anything more. From the barges, we boarded a ship of the Canadian Coast Guard in order to sail us closer to the Akademik Ioffe. The Coast Guard ship was my first time being on a ship and I was bubbling with happy curiosity. Everything looked like the inside of ships you see in movies and documentaries and I loved it. In order to get to the Akademik Ioffe from the Coast Guard ship, we had to take the zodiacs through the Arctic night and black waters. The zodiacs are black inflatable boats usually used to transport people through fairly clear waters. By the time we were all on board, we had travelled in four different types of vessels and it was one in the morning.
The joy of finally
being on a ship kept me awake for an extra hour. The last thing I saw before
going to sleep was my cabin porthole with the Arctic sunrise of deep orange
gently striking the sky of a spectrum of blues that reflected off icy waters.
It was phenomenally breathtaking.
We have been
trying to get on the ship all week now. There is still to much ice in the
harbour to board. We have been keeping busy with workshops and tours
We have seen many new and exciting things, including the ice that has stopped us from leaving, and we have learned all sorts of new things. I have learned about the flowers and plants here, the birds, the town history, and about the wildlife that lives here. Each day seems to go by all too fast.
Talk about a crazy day! I remember I said in my last post how there was a good chance that we would be boarding this morning; however, we got the news that it was likely that we'd have to wait yet another day. So we went about our day, starting with a long hike from Nunavut Arctic College residence to Apex Beach. We had our lunch at NAC, and then participated in a workshop. We also had a dancing flash mob in the centre of Iqaluit (although I missed the cue and wasn't in the flash mob because I was playing with an adorable Husky nearby). Late in the afternoon, we were told to quickly grab our carry-ons and go straight to the cafeteria for a briefing. We were getting on the ship in a very unexpected way! We were bussed to the pier where we met the Canadian Coast Guard! Their barges took us to their ship, Des Groseilliers, where we waited for all of the staff, students and luggage in the Coast Guard lounge. Once everyone was on board, the Coast Guard brought us to our ship. One sailor took out a button accordian and played music, while another taught us some knots during the ride - it was awesome! When we were close enough to the Akademik Ioffe, her zodiacs came to the gangway of Des Groseilliers, where we boarded the black boats and headed for our own ship's gangway. You would think that would be the end of the challenges, but our zodiac's engine stalled not once, but twice on the ride over! We did make it to the Akademik Ioffe, and everyone was onboard and briefed at 1:00 am - it definitely wasn't long until we were all in bed!