Daily Journey Updates
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Expedition Update - 4:00 pm EST
***Scroll down to see today's photos, video and journal entries!***
***Just posted! Check yesterday's Daily Journey Update page for photos, student journal entries and a comprehensive rundown of Friday night's dramatic Coast Guard rescue operation!***
***New photos and journal entries have also been posted on the August 3 Daily Journey Update page***
New update from expedition leader Geoff Green:
It's been an amazing day so far. We started this morning cruising through the ice. At about 8:00 AM we approached Monumental Island and stayed there for about 30 minutes. We saw 3 polar bears - a mother and two cubs - in the water swimming. As we watched them, they climbed up on an ice floe and fell asleep in front of the ship. We continued through the ice and then embarked on a zodiac cruise to Lady Franklin Island, the first time an SOI expedition has ever stopped there. Here we saw 7 more polar bears and lots of birds surrounded by towering cliffs. The weather has been beautiful all day so we did a 2-hour zodiac cruise. Some of the bears were on the island and others were in the water so all the students had a chance to see them. After lunch we saw walruses on the ice - and I mean many walruses! All in all, it’s been very successful day with heaps of icebergs passing by and plentiful sea ice all around us. We are now sailing north up the coast. More workshops are scheduled for this afternoon and we're on the lookout for whales. Tomorrow we hope to go on a hike at Sunshine Fjord. Stay tuned! More photos and videos are coming soon!
The story of our Canadian Coast Guard rescue operation on Friday night seems to
have generated quite a stir, making headlines across the country! Check out
some of the articles on our News page.
Update from Participant Coordinator Kathleen Connelly:
We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning and a calm sea streaked by white lands of pack ice. We could clearly see Monumental and Lady Franklin Islands.
Breakfast had only just finished when a cry went up; a family of polar bears were swimming close by. Mama bear in the lead and two siblings close behind.
We let them get underway and continued our exploration of the ice. It was decided to make a zodiac cruise at Lady Franklin Island. On our way, we passed the same family of bears again, but this time they were relaxing on the ice. The captain eased the ship as close as possible and everyone got a great view. The bears, used to us by now, were unimpressed by our presence and promptly curled up and went o sleep. The ship got as close as it dared to the Island, much of these waters are uncharted. The zodiacs were laundhed and off we went and what an adventure it proved to be. Bears on the land and in the water, seven altogether. We also saw colonies of Black Guillemots and Gulls and some incredibly impressive topography with two particularly massive cliffs. There was so much of interest: great geology and a surprising number of plants and mosses in the most unlikely places. It was then back to the ship for a late lunch. Rest?! No chance! Halfway through our lunch, a mother walrus and her pup were spotted on the ice. The students took part in a variety of workshops in the afternoon: Arctic Dinosaurs with Kieran, Inuit Land Claims with Madeleine and Laakkuluk, Oceans with Eric, Maria and Paul, ‘So you want to be a reporter’ with Whit, wildlife research techniques with Richard and sketching and journaling with Kara. We were once again interrupted at dinner by a sighting of the most incredibly shaped iceberg. Three solid pillars of ice rose from the water and backed on to a dramatic rose coloured sky as the sun sank and moon rose over the horizon.
This was a truly magnificent day.
Video shot on August 5 on the Akademik Ioffe: Polar Bears!
Photos from August 5!
Nap time on the pack ice.
A mother polar bear and her cubs on an ice floe.
A lone bear swims beneath the cliffs of Lady Franklin Island
A zodiac full of students is dwarfed by the towering cliffs of Lady Franklin Island
Geoff Green and students check out the rock patterns on Lady Franklin Island
A pair of polar bears climb the rock on Lady Franklin Island
A mother walrus and calf rest on an ice floe.
Student Journals - August 5, 2012
Hi readers! Sorry for not writing much. This is my first journal entry
because I've been so busy and I've been having so much fun. The last week has
been amazing but today has topped it all. Today we saw a polar bear mum and her
two adolescent cubs. I wish you all could have been there. In the last week
I've hiked all around Iqaluit and got to see an incredible amount of sea ice
that drifted into Frobisher Bay. Two days ago, we left Iqaluit. We took a barge
to a Canadian Coast Guard ship then took zodiacs to our ship, the Akademik
Ioffe. I can't wait to see Greenland but I realize, now more than ever, how
fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful country. I miss all of you guys back
in Ottawa and I can't wait to show you my pictures.
Bye for now,
August 5th, Akademik Loffe, Nunavut, Canada
Dedicated to my family, Evangeline Angnetsiak (My Youngest Sister) and Stacey Angnetsiak (My Oldest Sister), James Angnetsiak (My Father), Helen Angnetsiak (My Mother) and Joyce Angnetsiak (My Second Older Sister)...
Two days ago, at night, we came onto the 'Akademik Ioffe' around 1:00 to 1:30am, And I was exhausted. We had to rush to the beach to go get ready for going to the Coast Guard ship that would take us to our ship. First what we did was put on our life jackets quickly, and second was going on to the barge twenty people at a time to the Coast Guard ship. And it was great! Iqaluit people were waving at us goodbye which gives me a smile. We were stranded for two days at Iqaluit, NU, staying at the 'Old Residence' of Nunavut Arctic College, so we are two days behind schedule to go to Greenland. However, we have lots of time doing stuff like activities, workshops, volunteering, and also writing journals, which I'm doing right now... I'm learning a lot of things at activities and, also at workshops. Now I am having free time writing journals and volunteering, and its a lot of fun, also having free time hanging around at the ship's 'Lounge'. At 8:00 we had dinner - I am still not very use to this ship, 'Akademik Ioffe.' The dinner was not my kind of dinner; back home we eat a lot of meat, like Caribou, Ring Seal, Maktaaq (Narwhal) and Polar Bear's Meat and blubber, but this kind of dinner wasn't my kind of dinner so I didn't eat. Students and staff were eating, and since I got bored I was at the gym doing workout, alone. And it was good, just got exhausted, so I went back to my cabin to go sleep, but I had no choice but top of the bunk bed! But I slept well...
Day one and yesterday at 'Akademik Ioffe', I woke up early morning and go to 'Men's Shower', had twenty minutes shower and it was fantastic! It wakes me up a little! After the shower I went back to my cabin to dressed up, after the cabin I was going to the 'Kitchen Room' to have some breakfast but, finally it was my kind of breakfast. After I ate, I went downstairs 'Deck 1' to go to the gym, exercising and working out for about one hour. I was still alone working out, but I had loud music! And it was awesome! First I used was weight lifting and I was exhausted! But I had great time! After the gym I went upstairs to 'Deck 3' and to 'Bar Lounge' just having free time, drinking coffee and hanging out with my only friend, Kelvin Ivalutanar. I didn't make bunch of friends but I wanted to keep it that way, just only Michael Milton, Emanuel Maktar, Kelvin Ivalutanar, and Terri, Ocean, and Jacqueline... We also had workshops to do, and I was in group one, Siqiniq (The Sun) and other group was Taqqiq (The Moon). And we were separated into two groups. The Moons were in 'Deck 1' doing something, and The Sun was preparing a 'Bottle Drop'... It was interesting making Bottles to drop but we haven't dropped the bottles into the ocean, yet. After we made Bottles, the dinner was served and this time we weren't lining up. I was in the 'Table 5' and had a choice, either Beef, Salmon, and something I really don't know. Since I didn't want a Salmon I chose Beef and it was great! We also had dessert and it was Caramel, It was a kinda fancy dessert and I tried tasting it, and I didn't really like it, so I left it behind. Got tired and went back to my cabin to get some sleep.
Day two and the staff woke me up knocking on the door, and it was Steve Sheppard (My competitor from basketball). After he woke me up early morning at 7:00, the breakfast was at 7:30. The room was very cold when Steve woke me up. He was wearing a winter jacket when he entered the cabin (My cabin number was 312' which is 'Deck 3'...). After waking up, I dressed up and had an idea going shower, but I didn't, it was 7:30 and I went to the kitchen and grab a plate, had some scrambled eggs and two two hot dogs and also cereal frosted flakes, and one cranberry juice. After had breakfast I went back to the bar lounge going to do journal which I'm writing right now. And the announcement was called and there were three Polar Bears, two huge cubs and one mama Bear. I was looking out right on top of the highest top, and kept looking for three Polar Bears. Couldn't really find them but few minutes later some staff yelled and found it right towards bow, which is the front, and they were huge! I took a picture of them few times. I tried zooming, but it was all blurry and I tried to take a picture of them with Binoculars and it totally worked! I forgot what I was doing because I got too excited just watching three Polar Bears and rush back to 'Bar Lounge' to finish this journal. After a couple of minutes the announcement was called again, and Jeff was saying that three Polar Bears were back on the ice and one of them were standing up! Almost all students were rushing to the bow which is front of the ship and one of the Polar Bears really was standing up looking right at us! Had fun watching them but this time I didn't take a picture. I rushed back to the bar lounge to finish this journal. And in forty five more minutes we're going Zodiac riding to go to the nearest and highest icebergs. Don't know which is which going first, either the moon going first or us, the sun, is going first. The announcement was called but students were talking loudly and a lot so I didn't hear much of it, and right now my hands are tired making this journal and I'm gonna end it now, many more to come making journal entries....
P.S. We went out in zodiacs to go near the 'Lady Franklin Island' and to see if we'd see Polar Bears and we did! But first I'm gonna tell the story how it begins; First the announcement called and said zodiacs begins right now and the sun groups are going first, so they went all rushed to go get their outdoor clothing and I did, too. But actually I lost my spring and thin jacket and, also my Students On Ice vest. But since I didn't look well or properly, I found my spring and thin jacket, the color is black and has stripes on it with white right inside. I just feel bad that I didn't find my Students On Ice vest. I had to rush to the 'Mud Room' to get life jackets on and get ready for the zodiac boat. We went into the zodiac and went near Lady Franklin Island to look around, and actually found two adult Polar Bears! Which made us surprised! And since we took a picture we moved on right beside the Island and found birds nesting, and sea gulls were probably trying to attack us when we got too close to their nests. We didn't climb the cliffs because we had to stay in the zodiac to be safe, out of the Island, because there were Polar Bears right on it. It was pretty scary too, getting closer to the birds nests because sea gulls were really attacking us which made our heads and faces more like a target. And when we moved on we found another bear! Again we took pictures, and we moved on, again. Found another two Polar Bears and took another picture! We did the same thing until we were speeding the zodiac a little faster, and almost hit a Polar Bear that we didn't see! And scared us pretty bad because it was very close and the Polar Bear was a male. Pretty much we spotted ten Polar Bears in three or four Islands. Back to Akademik Ioffe we raced, and we beat Scobie Pye which made us first place out of five or six zodiacs. I'm little bit homesick since the day I arrived at Iqaluit, but right now, I'm having so much fun doing this Expedition...
Tyson Angnetsiak, Pond Inlet, NU.
TODAY IT HAS HAPPENED...
I HAVE SEEN NOT ONE, BUT SIX POLAR BEARS.
This news needs to be capatlized for it is one of the major reasons why I pursued this adventure- to see these creatures like I'd seen time and time again on a tv screen. And now I've seen them in real life. It's one of the many things we've done where I have to stop and think, "Ok, I actually did that, I didn't imagine it." To use a Geoff phrase : "You have to take time some time to stop and reflect about where you are."
I miss home a little bit. I even miss Samuel which is kind of weird because I didn't think I'd have enough time to really spend on missing people. I guess the reason I was thinking about home a little bit more than usual is because I've become pretty good friends with Sam(uel) Anderson, and his name steadily reminds me of my Sams and back home.
I haven't gotten seasick yet and we've had many adventures trying to get here. I love you all and miss you dearly, I'm sorry I never could call but I didn't have any service and still don't, and the phone's only able to be used for emergencies.
Much love from Monument Island,
Wow!! Today was one of the best days we have had by far. Since we have made it on the ship as you all know, we have settled in and made our way through the waters of Frobisher Bay. The ship has moved at a rapid direction towards our destination. I have had some amazing experiences so far from the time we land in Iqaluit to arriving to the ship. So far we have spent the past days sailing through the waters.
Today so amazing and unique things happen for the others and I on the ship. Early this morning we spotted Polar Bears, Yeah that's right Polar Bears!!!! It was such a fantastic experience for me seeing as I have never seen one or three in that case in my whole life. We tracked them through the water and found them later located on a huge ice sheet. They were rolling around enjoying the sun and relaxing plus taking naps. It was so cute, they were so playful and at peace. Later on, during the morning we had our first water adventure in the zodiacs. I am in Zodiac group Sun known as Siqniq in Inutituk. We had a awesome driver named Alex, we went around a few islands and I mean huge islands. Around these islands just as we pulled up we saw two Polar bears than boating along we saw some more. All together we saw at least 8 Polar bears in one day, can you believe that because i can not still wrapped my head around it. After we came back I took a few naps during the day long events. We had some work shops today such as; subject on different species of birds in the Arctic. I went to the most interesting workshop called Land agreement and territory rights presented by the mayor of Iqaluit Madeline. I found it so fascinating. And to end the day off we saw the most beautiful ice bergs it was so unlike nothing we have seen so far.
I miss you all and keep posted. : )
Carolyn Dawe (staff)
“Three Bears” I shouted as I burst onto the bridge of the ship after spotting the first polar bears of our Arctic journey. While the Russian officer looked at me rather skeptically, after spotting them as well, the ship stopped so that we could spend time observing this magnificent bear with her two cubs swimming gracefully through the water. As if posing for our ship, the bears eventually emerged onto the sea ice where they spent their time lounging, playing, and goofing around before settling down for a nap. It was a magical moment never to forget.
Today as a whole was just an incredible day with an unbelievable number of wildlife sightings, a zodiac expedition, time observing enormous icebergs, engaging workshops and peaceful time on deck. In total we saw approximately 9 bears, and even spent time observing a mother Walrus and her pup hauled out on the sea ice. I couldn’t have dreamed a better wildlife day, and feel like this day can’t be beat… but I keep saying that, and it keeps getting better and better. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!!!
Today we had an unexpected visit! We were visited by 3 polar bears. We watched them swimming for a while. We left them alone.
POLAR BEAR!! POLAR BEAR!! POLAR BEAR!! POLAR BEAR!! POLAR BEAR!!
This morning we were all sitting in the dining room casually eating breakfast, when an announcement came over the intercom. Geoff had announced that there was a polar bear sighting on the port side. All of a sudden breakfast didn't seem so important. We all rushed onto the deck to see these polar bears.
For a while afterwards we spent time on the deck watching these incredible creatures swim around the ice and play on it. It is only the second day on the sea and we are already seeing the majestic beauty of the Arctic. I can't wait to find out what other animals we will see during the day and the rest of the days to come.
Today is our second day aboard the luxurious Akademik Ioffe! The process of reaching the vessel has been a great adventure, including the Canadian coast guard, barges and swift zodiac rides. The crew aboard is welcoming and the food and accommodations are excellent! Everyone is thankful that we are finally on the ship and the education program has definitely started to kick in. Projects such as the Bottle Drift Project, which measures oceanic circulations are very interesting and fun to be a part of. Thankfully we have seen about 6 polar bears today and everyone is thrilled for more sightings of wildlife!!
Okay, so we are on the ship at last. It took us a couple of extra days, but we're here now. That's all that counts, right?
These last couple of days have been a whirlwind. I can't even remember all that we have done. From playing gym soccer to Inuit leg wrestling games (Rachel beat me... sensitive subject) to a flash mob in downtown Iqaluit, we have done it all. I even ate raw Arctic Char (Bucky, that one is for you). Overall, this has already been the most amazing experience of my life, and I can't wait to see what else the coming days bring!!!
It is Sunday but I am writing for the past few days since so much has happened. I am happy things turned out the way they did, eating a midnight snack with a beautiful view outside my porthole. Yesterday we spent the day on the ship and I loved it. I feel like I need to take pictures so I won't forget how spectacular everything is. While I miss my family I am having a blast and cannot wait for what's next.
Steve Sheppard (staff)
King of the Arctic
Hello Daniel, Isaac and Hauna! I love you guys and can't wait to see you next week, However, I do want to tell you and everyone else who will read this about the day that we just had. We sailed all night last night and arrived in a place called Monumental Island and Lady Franklin Island. Again I woke at 6am to a beautiful sunny morning and spent an hour on deck before wakeup call for the students at 7:30. Breakfast was 8am, it is a buffet breakfast with all that you would get in a fancy restaurant. This is like being on a floating hotel really, and the food is super. We were enjoying our breakfast and Geoff made an announcement that there was a mother polar bear with her 2 cubs swimming near the ship...breakfast can wait! We enjoyed those bears for a while and watched them get up on the ice and play and sleep. What an amazing experience, but wait, there's more. After we finished with the bears, we got ready to do a Zodiac cruise to Lady Franklin Island. This was probably one of the most beautiful Islands I have ever seen, with huge cliffs, stunning caves, and deep coves. We circumnavigated the whole Island in a couple hours and we saw 4 more Bears!!!!! Along with some sea birds, but the bears took priority. We had the opportunity to touch some ice bergs before heading back to the ship about 2 miles away. We got back in time for lunch and sat down to eat, only to be interupted again by an announcement that there was a mother Walrus with a baby on an ice pan on the side of the ship...dinner can wait! After spending time on deck taking photos, we headed inside to take in a presentation or participate in getting our bottles ready for the bottle drop. I also took in a presentation from Richard Sears, who is a whale researcher on the north shore of Quebec (He's also from Boston Isaac, so he wants us to come to a Bruins game with him). Well by then it was dinner time, but guess what, another interuption!!! This time for one of the most spectacular Ice Bergs that I have ever seen! The fact that the sun was setttiing on one side and the moon rising on the other while we circled the berg didn't hurt for photo opportunities!! We just finished our daily recap, and now all the staff are sitting in the lounge chatting and relaxing after a long day! One of the greatest days ever in the outdoors! Tomorrow we are heading to Sunshine fjord, so it should be a great day! Until tomorrow!!
Today, there were 3 polar bears, a mother bear, and 2 baby bears. They were swimming at first and a couple hours later,they were on pieces of ice. We are currently on the way to an island which supposedly is the home of a couple walrus. My zodiac crew's name is Taqqiq and we will be going on a zodiac in about an hour. It's been 2 days we've been afloat, and I'm a little sea sick, feeling nauseous,dizzy and light headed. I'm surprisingly homesick: I just miss the quietness and like feeling like I'm home! I guess I'm just not used to living with these qablunaaqs!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today we saw polar bears! It was very exciting. At first when we saw them they were swimming. I got a very good view of them from the bridge. There were three.
Later, we saw the same bears on a chunk of ice. They were rolling around and licking there paws. It was the first time I have ever seen a polar bear that was not in a zoo. I found it very interesting. We have also been spotting seals. Other than a few birds we have not seen any other wildlife. But for being on the ship for only two days, we have seen a lot.
There is lots of ice to look at. Some are just small chunks and others are huge icebergs. Just to think that they are a few hundred years old is an interesting concept. We are possibly going on our first zodiac excursion today. I am very excited. I think we all are!
The word of the day is sublime. Indeed, it was. After joining Madeline, JF, Mary and Jennifer at breakfast, Geoff announced that there were three polar bears on the port side of the ship. One mother and two, almost full grown cubs! My first experience with polar bears, and it was spectacular. I took plenty of photo's and watched the two cubs follow their mother to a resting place on top of the scattered ice sheets.
Following this sighting, we headed off to Lady Franklin Island!! We ended up
turning around and going back to the polar bears. They had actually climbed up
on an ice sheet, and the captain angled the boat's bow straight for the bears.
I have found the perfect place on the ship. There are small overhangings\decks on either side of the bridge (steering room.) No wind reaches me, a small roof provides shade, and of course the spectacular view always adds the dressing to the salad. All of us are extremely fortunate to have such weather and calm serene skies over our journey.
Some of the other breathtaking sights of the day were
- towering cliffs of the lady Franklin Island and five more polar bears
(this makes 8 or 7 polar bears! and it wasn't even lunch yet!)
-mother walrus and her cub
-a glacier modeling Moby Dick
After many interesting workshops the day was topped off with a beautiful masterpiece of a glacier! It's presence was announced over the entire ship just after I took my first bite of my dinner :) Very rapidly, all the dining room emptied and people dove for the doors leading to starboard.
Again... A magnificent conclusion to a crazy day involving all the elements;
ocean, ice, and rock. What a planet we live on. Simply sublime.
It's our second full day at sea and still no seasickness for me just yet. Lots of the students on board are taking medications for it already, but to me the ocean has been relatively calm. Yesterday was a day of ice, but today was a day of wildlife! We've seen 8 polar bears, 5 walrus and hundreds of birds today alone! First, early in the morning, we followed a mother polar bear with two large cubs as they swam and then climbed on some ice for a nap, cuddling together in a mound of yellowish-white fur. Later this morning we loaded everybody on the zodiacs and headed for Lady Franklin Island. That's where we saw 5 more polar bears, along with a whole lot of birds! Not long after coming back to the ship, walrus were spotted! About 15 of us made it to the deck on time to see three walrus resting on the ice before they dove into the water after seeing our ship. However, only a few minutes later another walrus was spotted on the ice. To our surprise, she was a mother, with a baby pup by her side! Afterwards we had presentations and workshops - we made our own 'Message In a Bottle' which we will be launching into the ocean farther north with the hopes that they will wash up on a beach and be found somewhere in the world, so as to learn about the oceans currents. Next I took a drawing and journaling workshop, where we drew multiple pictures - I drew a quick memory version of our ship, but with the amount of time and the moving of the ship, it really isn't very good! Although that was the end of our wildlife sightings, we still got to see icebergs at their finest! One in particular that we passed right after supper was absolutely incredible - it looked like three giant side-ways icebergs that plunged out of the water like skyscrapers! Paired with the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon on a clear evening, it was a stunning sight! The word of the day today was 'sublime,' and I have to agree that it refers to every aspect of today perfectly!
Second day afloat!
It's our second day afloat and good karma is following us! It's not even 10 o'clock in the morning and we have already seen 6 (!) polar bears! Three of them, a mother an two small bears, were swimming in the ocean, trying to find a piece of ice not too thin for them to get on at about 7:50. Though they didn't manage to do it, everyone enjoyed those 15 minutes. The other three polar bears were standing on the ice, looking at our ship, and we were looking at them and taking pictures! It was fantastic! Just awesome! I don't even have words to describe what happened, because this experience is really amazing! Hope good karma will not leave us and we'll manage to see lots of different birds and animals. Fingers crossed! We're going to have zodiac cruises if everything goes well, wish us good luck!
It was my first time seeing a walrus, it was on the ice and it had a baby with it. It was little and fat. I went to the bridge when Geoff said that there was a walrus. The bridge is where the captain is, though I didn’t say anything to him. I watched them for 10-15 minutes.
We also saw polar bears. I have seen Polar Bears before while hunting and camping and also in Pang. These polar bears didn’t look exactly the same, some of them were bigger and some of them were smaller. It wasn’t that exciting, but I was really glad to see them when I was on the ship and on the zodiacs.
I am happy to be here. I like some of the food, and I don’t like some of the food, but the ship is very nice.
I've been feeling seasick since we got on the ship. I hope I'll get used to it soon since I'm getting sick of not being able to enjoy this trip. It's awesome here but I'm always wanting to get out of this ship and go on the land. The food here is different for me - I miss having nattiq uujuq, mataaq, tuktu, and iqaluk. We saw about 7 polar bears and I took some awesome pictures! The water is starting to get rough and I didn't expect it to be this cold. I got up this morning around 7. I had a good sleep because I took a Gravol before I went to bed. We went for a Zodiac ride this morning. It was wavey but nice to see different scenery. I just saw about 4 aiviqs (walruses), but they went back in the water. I can't wait until we get to Greenland, I don't know what it'll be like there. Laakkuluk said they have different kind of chocolate, pop, cigarettes, everything. Speaking of Laakkuluk, she told an awesome story yesterday about Nuliayuq, also known as Shashuma Arna, and Sedna. While we were still in Iqaluit she did a Greenlandic dance called 'Uayingniq' it was so awesome!!