Arctic Expedition 2013

Follow the journey : July 23 - August 7

Students on Ice | Natural Heritage Building | 1740 Chemin Pink | Gatineau QC J9J 3N7 | 1-866-336-6423

Daily Journey Updates

Expedition Update

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Davis Strait

 

The expedition itinerary has been updated because of icy conditions! Click here to read the new itinerary

 
Update from Expedition Leader Geoff Green

Today students were treated to the rare sight of northern bottlenose whales as we crossed the Davis Strait from Greenland to Baffin Island! Bottlenose whales are not spotted often so we were truly fortunate to have seen them so close to our ship. We woke up to open waters this morning and the real test of our "sea legs." In true expeditionary style, we've adjusted our journey to fit the realities of nature.  Ice conditions surrounding Resolute have set us on a different course, slightly south.  We're heading now to the town of Pangnirtung on the coast of Cumberland Sound - hoping to see some incredible polar bear habitat along the way.  From there we'll make our way to Iqaluit.

Today marks the half-way point of our journey and what an adventure it has been!  We crossed the Arctic Circle for the third time and caught our first glimpse of the Canadian shore.  And as the boat rocks and rolls, so do the conversations.  A fantastic overview of the Arctic foodweb, from plankton to whales, was capped later in the day with the bottlenose whale sighting.

Students attended a diversity of workshops:  songwriting, craft-making, sea bird identification, a critical discussion on the draft global mercury treaty.  Our second Arctic Hour of the day focused on climate change and sustainability, informed by perspectives from geological history, oceanography, changes in ice, and - of course - political and social context. The students' insightful questions pushed important dialogue that continued over ice-cream sundaes. As we make our way, Canada-bound, the friendships and feelings of community on board have made this ship a different and special kind of home.

One of the day's highlights was the annual 'bottle drop', which is now an SOI tradition. Students put their personalized messages in over one hundred bottles, sealed them up tight and, one by one, they took turns launching them overboard! This is all part of an experiment to track ocean currents and determine if the currents are changing. Our ship's GPS location was recorded at the time each of the bottles was thrown. If and when a bottle washes up on shore somewhere and is found (we hope!), the instructions inside the bottle request that SOI be contacted so that we know where the bottle ended up. Over the years, roughly one of every 25 bottles has been found.

We're all looking forward to calmer seas tomorrow and more great adventure and learning opportunities as we land back in Canada. Onward we go!

Please check out the previous days' entries for more stories, photos and journal entries. 

You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook too!

Photos

 

Nancy spend the day at sea reflecting on her journey and writing a message for the bottle drop.

Annie-Caroline and Oliver work on their letters.

Making the bottles water-proof for their trip into the ocean!

Tegan, Bryan and Maddy work on their letters.

Duane Smith of the Inuit Circumpolar Council during a discussion on climate change.

A message sealed inside!

Maria prepares to share her message with the world!

Students work on Inuit crafts with Annie Petaulassie during reflective time.

Norman works on his journal during the evening reflective time.

Vinay positions a 65 million year-old juvenile Hadrosaurus jaw bone cast during a Canadian Museum of Nature palaeontology demonstration.

Jennifer asks a question during a discussion of climate change.

Diane works on her journal during reflective time.

Cecile celebrates the start of the 10th Annual SOI Bottle Drop to track ocean currents.

Marius prepares to throw his bottle during the 10th Annual SOI Bottle Drop to track ocean currents.

Kristine launches her bottle during the 10th Annual SOI Bottle Drop to track ocean currents.

 

Journals

ANNA ABELLA

Barcelona

Hi all, sorry about yesterday's entry, never managed to translate it to English, it was such a busy day!!!
But I am sure you managed to read from other participants about our amazing day in Uummannaq.
Today is our day at sea, crossing from Greenland to Canada. It has been an incredible day full, full, full of science. We listened to numerous presentations from the scientists on board. Incredible research, ideas and questions from the students have been shared!
I want to use this blog to thank everyone for sharing all your knowledge and passion with us.
Thanks,
Anna

 ******

LEANNA ANGNATUK

Kuujjuaq, Qc

Today was a very long day because we had to only use one arm all day!!! (Faith day). We had to try using one arm all day, and I cheated a little bit. The girl who has inspired us is named Fefe (real name: Faith). She was born with only one arm, she is 17 years old. She uses only one arm in her everyday life, so we had the chance to try it out!!! 

Besides Faith day, we got to see two northern bottle nose whales up close, and all the other things we did were very fun. During the afternoon it wasn't very fun, however, because I got sea sick, then I had gravol to calm it down. So I got really sleepy then all hyper, then all sleepy again:). So, yep, that was pretty much my day today.

 ******

NEIRA AYLWARD
St. John's, NL

Hello Internet and Mom!
This is my first blog post after one of the most overwhelming (in the best possible way) week in a while. I can't count the number of times my intention to blog has been shattered by a sighting of "WHAAAALES!!!!!!" and my walk to the library turns to a dash to the deck -- if I'm not already watching from my cabin window. It's awe-inspiring to be in a position where "Seal or No Seal" is a real game, as well as a useful educational tool in distinguishing seals from sea ice. And speaking of icebergs: over them. Our visit to the UNESCO site of Ilulissat Icefjord has upped my standards.

Community visits have added a human dimension to the expedition (as if the flora and fauna didn't suffice), supporting the host of cultural resource people on the ship. Today we're dropping messages in bottles into the Davis Strait so I am patiently awaiting my reply from the Queen. I also ran out of chocolate bars so I have been relegated to the chocolate the crew places on our pillows. The humanity of it all. We will be hiking to the Arctic Circle in a couple of days at a national park! And will maybe see orca whales and polar bears. And I won't tell you (Mom) how close we went to the icebergs in zodiacs. Over and out!

******

MAYA BURHANPURKAR

Horseshoe Valley, Ontario

Hello everyone! I apologize for my lack of blog posts; I have been having such an amazing time here! Every spare moment I have been looking at the beautiful Greenlandic landscape from the deck, not writing blog posts in the library :)! Since today is our day at sea, I will try to write two blog posts about the past two days, which, I think, have been the most inspiring and wonderful days of my life.

As I opened the blinds of my room two days ago, I was treated to a wonderful surprise - ICEBERGS!!! We were in Disko Bay, where the Jakobshavn Ice Fiord spits out an incredibly large number of massive icebergs! It was perhaps the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life with the deep blue colour of the water contrasting the bright white colour of the massive icebergs, making for a picturesque scene.

Seeing the icebergs from the deck of the ship was unbelievably amazing but what was even more wonderful was going on a 45 minute zodiac cruise on which I got to see the icebergs up close - so close that I could see the water dripping off the icebergs as they melted and the marks made on the icebergs from erosion by water and wind. When I saw this, I experienced a rather humbling feeling because of being so close to such massive chunks of ice and snow.

Not only did we get to see icebergs, we were also able to see a group of humpback whales! I am not sure how long I was on deck watching them as time seemed to stop as I again felt the humbling feeling of knowing I get to share this earth with such magnificent creatures.

Later on that day, we had our second community visit in the trip to the town of Ilulissat. While we were there, we got to explore the area as well as hike our way up to the Jakobshaven Ice Fiord, from which all of the icebergs we had seen earlier had come from. Although I would have liked to see more of the community, I found that I was unable to leave the ice fiord for a long time, despite the swarms of mosquitoes that were following me. The ice fiord was just so big and beautiful. There were two peaks that almost looked like mountains in a sea of smaller chunks of ice in the fiord. It saddened me to learn that the ice fiord will soon stop producing so many icebergs.

All in all, it was an amazing day. Words simply cannot describe the power of what I saw or felt. I now truly understand the importance of preserving this beautiful area.

******

MADELEINE COLE
Iqaluit, Nunavut

What a gift and a privilege and a dose of serendipity that we were able to spend the afternoon in one of the most beautiful corners of this planet: Uummannaq. The geography, the people and their history, the weather, and even those great marine mammals, the fin whales that swam all around us as we moved down the fjord to Uummunnaq, all of it came together to make for a most memorable day. So many powerful visual and olfactory experiences: men in Greenlandic kayaks, bowls of natsiminik, amazing beadwork, dogs (lots of dogs), Becky and our students singing and drumming, the children's orchestra, the excellent film Inuk which we watched in sealskin anorak and sitting on the skin of nanuq in the cold, cold old blubber processing house. But my most powerful memory comes from one of our Greenlandic students. Seeing the look in her eyes, her broad smile and the excitement in her voice and every muscle in her face when she realized her prime minister was present for the celebrations was so amazing. It was as if Aleqa Hammond, the first woman prime minister in Greenland, was a rock star. I took a lovely photo for our student, standing with her prime minister. If all youth could be as proud and engaged about the leadership of their country, what a better world we would live in.

******

LEXIE CORDEIRO
Rumford, Rhode Island, USA

Finished the last day in Greenland off right, with a zodiac ride with a Greenlandic Cow Clown!! Anyway, they say this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I don't want it to be. I want to come back to Greenland and the Arctic region to make a difference in the future. Being in Greenland these past few days has been amazing. Standing beside huge glaciers knowing that they used to be bigger, or standing on a mountain, knowing that the Greenland icecap used to be there, is disheartening. Seeing the true effects of global climate change up close is a wakeup call. This experience is breathtaking. Being able to sing for the Prime Minister of Greenland was amazing. I'm so fortunate to be on this expedition and I couldn't be here without my many sponsors. Thank you so much to Kitchen Countertop centre of New England, Acadia Institute of Oceanography, of course my wonderful parents, and many more!!

 ******

CHRISTOPHER CRANE
Princeton NJ

This is my first time writing a blog aboard the Sea Adventurer. Today is a sea day where we are traveling from Greenland to Canada. We have been sailing since last night and today was a very fun day of learning. We started off the day with an amazing breakfast made by the incredible crew that works so hard for us. As the day went on we saw Northern Bottlenose whales which added to the very long list of whales we have encountered on this trip. Yesterday we went to the town of Uummannaq to celebrate their 250th anniversary. During our day-long visit to the town of Uummannaq we met the Prime Minister of Greenland who was there celebrating with us. We also saw a kayak race which, at the end, the winner rolled his kayak. The race was a long race around the island in which around 15 people competed. Some of us also took an hour hike to Santa Claus’s house. According to most people the house was scary but I did not get to see the house (because I was too lazy to take the two hour round trip). Three days ago we went to a small town of about 100 people and we played a soccer game against the town. Even though team SOI lost we had a great time. The people of Greenland have amazing skill through soccer and it was great to compete against them.

******

TEGAN GALLILEE-LANG
Coquitlam, BC

Hello! Today was our sailor aptitude test. We had a full day at sea and had to deal with the rocking of the ship. If you've ever been to Playland in Vancouver, it feels exactly like an endless musical express ride, without the centrifugal force. I talked to the chief mate and he said that this motion is better than they expected. A lot of people are feeling nauseous; some didn't even get out of bed. I felt nauseous at times, but always recovered when I went outside. I'm wearing a seasickness patch, so I'm hoping that is what's keeping me from feeling really unwell. I learned a bit about Inuktitut today, learning phrases such as 'how are you' and 'I'm good' as well as the Inuktitut alphabet song. I can also now write my name in Inuktitut! We saw some northern bottlenose whales today and at one point they were about 15 metres from the ship. I was really excited to fill out my customs form today because I usually check the airplane option for mode of transportation, but today I got to check the boat option, which is a lot cooler than an airplane. The highlight for me during arctic hour was definitely the talk about the grolar, a hybrid grizzly/polar bear. I learned that the grolar is fertile because its parents come from the same recent ancestor, so their DNA is more similar than, say, a black bear and a polar bear.

******

ELIANNY HERNANDEZ
Providence, RI

Today is "Faith" day so we are experiencing having one arm and I accepted the challenge so am writing this with one arm, have to eat with one arm, use the bathroom with one arm, and do many other things with one arm. It is also a whole day on the ship because we are heading to Canada! I am so excited to experience what I see on the ship while heading to Canada. Yesterday we went to Uummannaq and we celebrated the 250 anniversary with them so we saw a kayak race with the people from there. We also sang a beautiful song for the people and Prime Minister of Uummannaq and they loved it! They were all so happy and so was I. We had lunch there and some of us tried seal meat and whale meat, but I didn't because I did not want to eat an animal I want to see alive. Everything has been a great experience and we just have one more week till its time to say goodbye. I cant wait to share my experience when I come back!

*****

CAITLIN JAKOBSEN
Nanaimo, British Columbia

Hello everyone,

Today is our one and only sea day, across the Davis Strait. While it's been hard for me, being stuck on a ship, I've gained some things from the experience.

First, I've finally had some time to watch the ship and look at the ocean. Staring out, all there is to see is blue ocean, stretching off until you can see no further, until you can comprehend it no more. I understand now why the first explorers thought the world was flat. The alternative is just so overwhelming, I can understand not wanting to wrap my head around it either.

Nevertheless, our ship is a remarkably powerful vessel. I lean over the bow, fascinated, watching the mighty ocean froth and eddy under the cutting blades of the motor, scaring the otherwise flat surface of the water in half moon shapes that hold an eerie resemblance to smiles. These white capped shapes and trail of water, stretching behind us, is the only evidence that we were ever here.

Soon, however, that will change. As soon as this entry is finished we will be casting off bottles with messages over the side of the ship, in an event known as the bottle drop. The goal is that the bottles will be found and will be reported to Oceans Canada to help map ocean currents. We were also told to put our own message in the bottles.

Writing where I was, I realized how cool this whole thing really is – and how lofty my goals were. (Apparently I want to invent some new form of renewable energy or solve world hunger, among other things). Who knows? Maybe by the time the bottle is found I actually will.

PS: Hey family. Love you, miss you. Can't wait to show you the pictures when I get back.

******

SILAS JONES
Portugal Cove, NL, Canada

Quite a lot has happened since I last wrote, so I will try to compress the events.

Yesterday morning, in the Uummannaq Fjord, whales were spotted. After some observation, it was determined that they were Fin whales. They were large and torpedo-shaped, with very dark brown and grey skin, and a short spike of a dorsal fin. Fin whales are the second largest animal on Earth after the Blue whale. They rarely breach. We followed them through the Fjord for a longtime, during which I captured some decent photos and even videos of the giants. Finally, the captain decided it was time to leave them. As the ship began to turn, one Fin whale rolled onto its side, and seemed to wave at us with a short brown fin. This rare and cherishable event was captured on camera by many of the ship's photographers.

Our actual destination for July 20th was Uummannaq, a town of 1,300 people. Uummannaq, which means 'like a heart' is named after the gigantic, heart-shaped mountain under which the town was built. Coincidentally, yesterday was the 250th anniversary of the town. We were incorperated into the celebration, which was attended by the Prime Minister of Greenland. Afterwards, we hiked around the <3 mountain and enjoyed the scenery. We then went to the Blubber house. Originally used for storing whale fat, it had been converted into a cinema of sorts. We donned seal-fur Anaraks, and watched a movie called Inuk. The movie was shot in Uummannaq, and all the actors were local townspeople. It was a deep story about Modern Inuit life.

Some time after returning to the Sea Adventurer, we reviewed our course. Resolute and Pond Inlet are both inaccesible due to sea ice. We changed our course to Pangnirtung, which is further south.

Today, we are crossing the Davis Strait back to Canada. We are preparing for a bottle drop, in which we write messages in bottles, drop them off the ship, and let the currents take them. There is contact information for both ourselves and for the research groups on the messages. Aside from the drop, most of today will be lectures and reflection.

Today is Faith day. Faith is a student who has been on a few SOI expeditions. She has one arm. And so, every SOI expedition has one day where everyone uses only their dominant arm. This entire entry was typed with one hand.

One final thing. Today we spotted Northern Bottlenose Whales, a species I had never seen nor heard of. They were dark, smoky grey, and their bodies were the same shape as a Narwhal's. They have a triangular fin larger than a Fin Whale's. Bottlenoses are a species of beaked whale, and so they have a dolphin-like beak. There were at least two of them. The whales were headed towards the bow, and came within thirty feet of the ship before diving. Seeing a new species was definitely the highlight of the Davis Strait.

*****

EDMUND LAU
San Francisco, CA, USA

One of the many aspects that makes up this expedition is the people you meet. The many cultures, personalities, and backgrounds are what differentiate us, but when you bring them all together, you've got the multiple personalities of a single union. We laugh together, we think together, we share inside jokes together. Although the icebergs and whales and landscapes may take your breath away, it makes it a hundred times better when you share an experience with someone else.

Everyday, you learn something new about a different culture. Canadians don't actually pronounce the word "about" as "a-boot," no matter what American television tells you. You learn that seal meat looks like chocolate cake, but tastes like a crumbly fish. You learn that despite all of our differences, we have all been brought together by one thing: a love for the environment and the Arctic. I hope we can share more experiences in the years to come.

*****

SARAH MAEDEL
Switzerland

What if you were a penguin on an icecap that decided to flip? What would happen? Icebergs: gentle giants of the sea, cruise ships of the North. Luckily I don't have to worry about the penguins as they are down South.

Big lazy logs bob up and down. They're like buoys. The icebergs unlike their little brothers and sisters (ice chunks) replicate the stretched out mountains, some with jagged edges, broken glass sticking sharply out of the top of the cliffs.

There just aren't enough hours in these ceaseless sunny Davis Straight capped days. "You look buoyant" notes a professor. Buoyant but not resilient like those bobbing, some hovering icebergs. A marshmallow of jackets, pants and fluff lined boots. Soft on the outside hard on the inside. Not hard through the core,no iceberg, no heart of ice. That's what it takes to survive here. An incredible hardness with an undeniable chutzpah.

Last night I just wanted to sit for one second and enjoy the slow jazz played on the baby grand. There was something about fine fingers plucking away at piano keys. Something alluring, calming, comforting. Music is beautiful because it has no demands, no price like so many things in life do. All it is is sweet melodies.

Once the music slows and kids take a shot at the keys I leave to the observation deck my favourite haunt on the Sea Adventurer. The evening reminded me of the alpine glow. Soft colours, that are pastel hues brighten the horizon. Too beautiful to resist. Islands of icebergs- again- float around. At the face of the bow all I can see are scattered icebergs and a veil of silken sky: a soft buttercup sky. I wonder will we get cabin fever? Remember the Muppet's Treasure Island where they sing the Cabin Fever song, ludicrous forms of the creator's imagination. Not when this boat is so big and cradles us gently, rocking back and forth with its ever roaring engine. Not when this grand vessel is so serene.

Part 2

We are at sea. The water no longer cradles the cabin's contents. The vast ocean is bordered only by a topaz sky, shape shifting clouds, and Vater morgana icebergs. The boat is hauled back and forth, bow to stern. It is time to leave Greenland and head to the great white north of Canada.

The momentum we have gathered cannot be matched by the Fulmars that dance around the ship's bow. My perch on the observation deck is the massive seat on a gigantic see-saw. I'd hate to be lost at sea on the Davis Strait where the only "land ahoy!" are islands of icebergs. This cold climate is not foreign to me, luckily. Quite the opposite. I'm used to the warm sun stretching, trying to caress my face obscured by a fluffy fur hat; face obscured by that bomber plane style hat whose edges are soft but fan out protecting me from the claws of the sun. The wind whips a little, edges of pants and pages fly about- little, busy flies with no apparent objective. Air fresh as a ski slope. The sea as grey as the sky of a dark Swiss day. It is not unusual, save for the sea which is crueler than the Swiss Alps because being in the midst of Davis Strait puts me a day's travel from any land. The sea: a beautiful, forever churning, threat.

Even as I write this a rickety chair in the library rocks from leg to leg and the books sway from one end of the shelf to the other, A4 size dominos. Twerk n' pop could not keep her balance on such a shaky ride. No sea sickness, though, because even more than when on a plane I feel so at home at sea in the Sea Adventurer.

*****

FEFE MALTON
Houston, Texas

Today we crossed the Davis Straight. Today was also Faith Day! Which has been amusing for me to see how everyone does the things that I do on a day to day basis. In the morning everyone gave it their best shot which I really appreciated but as I suspected many of the people began to "regenerate" there arms through out the day. I noticed that those who seemed more closed minded gave up with in the first three hours and those who were more open to differences among people or those who were more open minded remained dedicatd to the challenge. Seeing those people not give up really impressed me as well as make me really happy. I felt as though I actually made a connection and got through to some people, it's not easy, and that we all come in different packages. Hopefully I showed people that those who are most different have the most to teach. In the middle of the day we saw Bottlenose Whales. Many people also released their bottles into the ocean. I release mine either tomorrow or the day after and I am super excited! Today we also had an Arctic hour about Arctic dinosaurs, phytoplankin of the oceans, cross breeding of Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears and we had workshops. For the workshop I learned about Mercury in the Arctic and how it effects the rest of the world as well as the Minimata Convention.

Again I miss all of my loved ones! I am having a great time and I am so thankful that I have the privileged to be on this fabulous journey.
PS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM

******

ROSALIE OQALLAK

Arctic Bay, NU

Yesterday when we were at Uummannaq for the 250th anniversary, it was fun and cool to be there.
We walked up to the hills and the view was so nice the mountains were so huge. After that, we went to the movie called Inuk. It made me feel sad, but reflected how the little boy was like his father -- a hunter.

Today, we are doing bottle drop. We learned about whales.

We are not going to Pond Inlet and Resolute Bay anymore because there is too much ice and the ship would not break through it. I am sad because I really wanted my friends to meet my parents in Resolute.

******

JOSEPH QIRQQUT NIMIQTAQTUQ 
Gjoa Haven, Nunavut

Today I went to the Inuktitut workshop. We learned the Inukitut alphabet; it's taught as a song. I knew some words - but these were in a different dialect. We learned to say "how are you" and to answer "good." Some words are the same but some are different.

It's tricky because I want to learn my home dialect. At home I know only words, but I don't speak the language. I wish I knew it. I'd rather learn from friends and family than from paper. There's a big difference between learning words and learning how to speak. It's important to learn to speak so I could talk to my grandparents.

Last year at school we went on a day trip to the lake and my grandfather, who works at the school, came with us. When he saw me out on the land, playing football and other games with my friends, he said it was like I was so happy. No matter what happened, whether I was winning or losing, even when I fell down I got up smiling. It was the first time he really saw me. He was finally seeing how I was as a person, even without communicating. Just by watching me.

******

JESSIE SITNICK

Toronto, WWF-Canada

"Agape, an expression of intense spiritual affinity with the mystery that is to share life with other life...We are clearly indebted as a species to our intelligence. We trust our future to it. But we do not know whether intellegence is reason or whether intelligence is the desire to embrace and be embraced...whether intelligence is, in other words, love." -- Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

I am writing to you from the middle of the Davis Straight. Today we crossed the Arctic circle for the 3rd time in a week. We are exactly half-way through this journey and it is hard for me to describe the magnitude of what has transpired in this short time. However, what I know for sure is that, at it's core - this journey has been about relationships. The forming of deep, personal affinities between people and nature and between people and people.

Yesterday, we followed fin whales into the Uummannaq fjord. All of us shoulder to shoulder against the rail of the boat watching these giants--the 2nd largest whales in the world--curve out of the water. It felt like an omen.

Uummannaq is named for the heart-shaped mountain that stands like a beacon above the town. We arrived on the occasion of its 250th anniversary celebration. The streets were filled with families. We were embraced like honoured guests...food, music, so much welcome. Children played on the rocks. One jumped into my arms; another signalled for my camera - took my photo in the blubber house among her friends. I know just one Greenlandic word: Koyanuk. Thank you. It was enough. Later we watched Inuk, a movie filmed in this town - the actors were people from the village, the lead a boy from Uummannaq's Home for Children, well-known in this region. The film, featured last year at the Cannes Festival, is a window into the intergenerational struggles and pain of one Inuit family grappling with rapid change. Change in the ice that touches everything else. The story (based on real-life events) formed a centre of gravity for many of us here, sparking the kind of questions that are hard to ask, hard to answer. But something happens in the conversation. Something that matters.

As the days have passed, I've watched young people from very different worlds connect in ways I wouldn't have thought possible. And I am a part of that too. For tonight's journaling session, I read the quote above and asked "how have your relationships, your friendships shaped this journey?" I hope you have the opportunity to read those stories here. For me, those moments of connection are the context for everything else. The only way to make sense of--to truly understand--what is happening between and around us.

******

MARIE SUERSAQ
Greenland

Today has been a looong day! I woke up with sea-sickness, not so fun. But today is Fefe Day! It means we all have to put our non-dominant arm behind our back to experience how Fefe's everyday life is like. It was pretty hard... and it's hard to concentrate at the ''Arctic Hour'' classes we have because of the ginger-pills. (They make us so sleepy!!) :D Hehe.

To be with all these students from all over the world is so amazing! It's hard to try to see my own country with other eyes, because it's the place I grew up at. I see icebergs everyday, but most of the students don't. I just learned so much in such a small time, and to hear what they say about Greenland really helps me to be proud of my identity. I feel like it's my first time to be REALLY pround of being half Inuk. :D

******

REX TERCEK

Washington, DC, USA

Hello Everyone,
It has been almost four days since I last wrote a blog, and a lot has happened since then. We visited the small town of Itilleq, which has a population of 100. We hiked up the side of a fjord, toured icebergs up close in Zodiacs, visited Illulissat and the amazing ice fjord, saw whales, toured Uummannaq during their 250th Anniversary, and crossed the Davis Strait.

As I write this we are approaching Canada, but the trip could have ended in Greenland and it still would have been an amazing experience. Probably one of the most incredible moments I experienced was at the ice fjord. After walking down a long and windy boardwalk, we came up to a wide view of this field of ice. One particular iceberg towered so tall that it seemed almost like a mountain. With a few friends, I decided to climb up a sloped hill that jut out into the fjord. Once we got to the top, I had almost a 250 degree view of ice, and no pictures or description could encapsulate that moment.

There are many other memories and times that I can't wait to share when I get back home, but my time at the ice fjord was the most special to me.
--Rex

******

EMILIE WELLES 
New York City

Today we spent the day at sea. Even though I am on my third expedition, I got pretty sea sick. I didn't think I would, but I did, and in doing so I unfortunately missed the fried chicken lunch. The best thing about the trip so far is in fact what happens in the dining room. Not only do we get to eat the most amazing food but the dining room is set up for couples, which means there are small intimate tables ranging from two to six people. They are perfect for sitting down with the members of the staff and learning everything there is to know in a personal situation. Tonight I sat with three men who all have incredible backgrounds from working at the Canadian Museum of Nature to long histories in the EPA. And on the topic of food, I had seal yesterday in Uummannaq, Greenland. I have eaten a raw seal rib before, but that tasted like blood and I didn't really taste the seal. This time it was cooked, and I can safely say that I am never doing that again.

I have been working with our musician on board, Ian, on another song that I wrote today. I think I am going to perform it one of these nights in the student spotlight, a new activity at night where the students can perform, share stories, show art, or really do what ever they want to for the rest of the group. I am excited to hit land tomorrow and have a few moments off of the rocking ship. Our course has been changed due to sea ice so we are now headed south to the places I visited on my last SOI Arctic trip. I can't wait to see how much the places have changed.

 

Arctic History

From 2013 to 2016, Students on Ice is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition (CAE), which was the first Canadian government funded expedition. At the time, it was the largest multi-disciplinary scientific expedition ever mounted. 

The 1913 Expedition was jointly lead by explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson and zoologist R. M. Anderson. Where Stefansson was headstrong, Anderson was meticulous and therefore reluctant to work with Stefansson. This tumultuous relationship continued after their return to the South: disputes over content prevented the first two volumes of the Expedition’s research from being published. 

Photo courtesy Canadian Museum of Nature.

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