STUDENTS ON ICE EXPEDITIONS | Natural Heritage Building | 1740 chemin Pink | Gatineau, QC J9J 3N7 CANADA | 1-866-336-6423


International Polar Year

August 13, 2008

Photo by Lee Narraway

Late night update!

Yesterday was another stellar, action-packed day, filled with two landings, a zodiac cruise, workshops and an icy Arctic swim in the ocean! The morning was spent in Kivitoo - visiting an abandoned whaling station and exploring the surrounding hills and valleys. After lunch, and some workshops, the ship entered the beautiful Canso Channel - and everyone disembarked for more adventure.

Read below for details...

Student Journals

Cori Eide, Student

What a day in the Arctic. No yoga for me today. I decided to sleep in and rest up for our last hike and most especially for the Arctic swim.

I was actually excited for breakfast today because yesterday I woke up feeling seasick and only got worse throughout the day. After today’s breakfast everyone geared up for the next expedition hike and landing with the zodiacs. It was a fun ride for most because we actually had to hold on. I don’t think anyone managed to keep dry, as it was very windy.

On shore we had free time to reflect or to explore. Others and I sat by the waterfall and realized that we have 4 days left, but only 3 of those days on the ship. As time went by the sun shone more and layers of clothing were coming off. It was a bit odd being in the Arctic in shirts and shorts, especially coming from Alaska.

In the past couple days we have formed “Pod” groups but to me they are really like “Family” groups: people you can talk and share opinions or problems with. Today in our family group we talked about ideas and things we can do to give back to our communities, because some of us received a scholarship for this expedition. We also want to promote knowledge of global climate changes and its effects.

I gave a lot of thought of how I can do my part. In conclusion, I want to start the recycle center back up back in Nome. I would like to continue in the Future Teachers of Alaska club to teach a couple of classes about Global Warming. Also, I would like to give a presentation and workshop to the state of Alaska in October during the state-wide conference known as AFN. But most of all I have personal goals that I hope will catch on with the people around me. Just three days left on board of the Lyubov Orlova and I hope the good weather stays around.

Photo by Lee Narraway

Jessica Albert, Student

Today has been an awesome day so far! After breakfast we made a Zodiac trip to land. Once we were on land we separated into small groups of about 11 or 12 students and talked about changes that we are planning to make once we get home to our communities, province, or country. After we discussed different issues, we all gathered to take a group picture. We eventually changed into our shorts as it was so hot. We all began our hike up the hill to the top. Once we got there it was so beautiful: there was the perfect amount of wind, it wasn’t too hot, too cool, or too foggy. We were beginning to get anxious to become part of “The Arctic Swim Team”. We made our way down after taking many pictures of the scenery and friends. At the bottom everyone changed into their swimsuits and shorts and made a wet Zodiac trip over to a sandy beach. We almost got wetter on our way there than when we actually got to swim! The minute we got to the beach we took off our coats and boots and ran straight into the water. Although we were only in for 30 seconds, it still counts. It was the “3 Big Steps then Dive strategy” (originating on the beaches of Lake Superior). Everyone had so much fun -- it was definitely my favorite day!
Photo by Lee Narraway

Rohit Mehta, Student (written on August 11)

I am in the Arctic!

Today, we hiked up towards a glacier in Sam Ford Fjord. For me, this experience was unlike any other, for I rarely have opportunities to hike magnificent landscapes. I couldn’t stop thinking about my surroundings, and I wouldn’t have wanted to.

The setting was unbelievable, for it was as pure as it has been for thousands of years. There were waterfalls stringing the top of the mountains, and they flowed down in very clean streams. In fact, I drank the water right out of the stream for the first time in my life, and that made me feel very connected to nature.

As we continued to climb the mountain with the glacier in the distance, I took time to really appreciate the landscape. Large rocks were scattered around the hillside, while the glacial river raged down the valley. The peaks of the hillside were as high as 800 feet, while some rocks littered along the valley were bigger than elephants.

All in all, this experience really made me appreciate the arctic, and its natural beauty. I did not imagine the arctic to be more than ice and snow, cold winds, and chills. Was I ever wrong! This land is full of geological history, a variety of plants and animals, and nature at its finest. As I sat on a rock and reflected on my surroundings, I recognized how lucky I am, to be in the arctic.

PS. To Bali, from all of us with love. We wanted you to know that we were thinking of you this morning and wishing that you could have shared the experience with us.
Photo by Lee Narraway

Max Liddle, Student (written on August 12)

Today we got to visit an old whaling station. It was kind of cool and a little disheartening at the same time. It was cool in the sense that we got to see all of the remnants of the whalers like the bones and houses. Yet it was kind of disheartening to see all of the trash scattered around the beach. There was so much trash all over the place littering the landscape yet we could not do anything to clean it up. It was kind of neat though because we got to see what the whalers were eating. I found coffee cans, tobacco cans, corned beef and sardine cans. So in that aspect it was really cool.

Being there and seeing all that really got me thinking about how European influence affected the whole world. Before Europeans came to the North there were no tin cans and things that could really destroy the environment. When the Inuit people got European food in cans they didn’t know what to do with them, so they just threw them on the ground. I think that since the Inuit people now have manufactured food in non-biodegradable packaging, then they should have some more efficient way of discarding their trash. I don’t mean to say that all Inuit people litter, I’m just saying that from the communities I have visited there seems to be a lot of litter.

In recap of it all, I had a pretty good day. I’m excited for tomorrow. I have heard that we are going to go on our arctic swim! I’ll let you know how it is.

In the Expedition Spirit,

Max Liddle
Alexandra Polasko, Student

Life is not measured by the amount of breaths you take, but rather the moments that take your breath away, and today my breath was taken away more than just once. Today we raced the wind in our zodiacs as we made our way over to Canso Channel to do a team building activity, hike, and go for our Arctic swim! When we got to the island and stuck on our hiking boots we separated into our pod groups which are small groups of about 10 people with a staff member that helps us get to know each other and talk about climate issues. We discussed what we can, and are, doing to help slow global warming. About an hour later we went on a hike up the mountain and around the waterfall. At the top, the wind was blowing fiercely as I sat on the ledge of a huge rock and looked out into the peaceful horizon. On the rock, for a moment, the world stood still; my heart forgot how to beat, my lungs were stuck in time, and my eyes were lost in the sky; I was at a loss for words and breath.

The next time my breath was taken away, it was definitely not as numinous, but just as memorable. We headed over to a sandy part of the island, and went into the 40?F water for our Arctic swim! Nora, Oopick, Dakota, and I all flopped in, drenching ourselves from head to toe. After I came out every part of my body was tingling and my breath was, for the second time today, taken away. However, this was a different kind of feeling; I felt exhilarated and fresh, and after a warm cup of tea, some throat lozenges, and oil painting with Linda, we headed to dinner, and then to bed. As Edward R. Murrow would say, “Good night and good luck [to tomorrow and the rest of the SOI adventures].”
Photo by Lee Narraway

Délphine Rémillard Labrosse, Student

Aujourd’hui, je suis entrée dans le cercle très restreint des nageurs de l’Arctique. Je peux maintenant cocher ceci dans ma liste de choses à faire avant de mourir. C’était tout simplement génial… et glacial. À l’entrée de cette eau tranchante, le corps est happé par un choc électrique. Je dois vous avouer que ça prend du courage et une dose de folie pour se lancer à toute vitesse vers cet horizon azur et y plonger tête première. Mais maintenant, c’est fait. Voilà un pas de plus vers le but de nager dans toutes les eaux du globe terrestre. Photo by Lee Narraway

Graham May, Student

Every day I spend here in the Arctic, I try to do something that I have never done before, and to make a new memory that I never had before. Here this is easier than it might seem, since I am in a world where almost everything new.

Today my new memory of the day was joining the “Arctic Swim Team”. Swimming in the same water as icebergs was one of those experiences that you remember for as long as you live. As we plunged into the icy depth, I felt somehow closer to all the animals that shared the sea with us. It was almost an out-of-body experience. While I was physically freezing in the Arctic waters, mentally I was extremely calm. The cold water really cleared my mind, and I thought about my place in the world. All of this, however, happened in a very short space of time, since it was an extremely short swim.
Khia Thompson, Student

Amazing would be one word to describe today. We woke up this morning to “calmer” seas; and we headed off to breakfast. After breakfast we quickly got into the zodiacs to hike in the Canso channel. The view from the Channel was breathtaking. Before we hiked up the channel we all met in our pod groups and discussed what we were going to do after the expedition was over. Later on, around 1pm in the afternoon, we were finally able to do our Arctic swim. The water was quite cold but the temperature outside was pretty warm. I was really proud of myself that I actually went into the Arctic Ocean and I know that not many people can say that they have.
Photo by Lee Narraway

Leah Pengelly, Student

Hey, today was yet another incredible day in the Arctic.  We have to come up with new words to describe how amazing our trip is. Ann Hanson gave us a word in Inuktitut for something that is more than breathtaking; wakalunga. Today was definitely wakalunga! We landed on a beach where we hiked up to a lake. We basked in the warm sunlight, ate blueberries and took many group photos. After going for a short hike around the lake we got back in the zodiacs and prepared for our Arctic Swim. We stripped down quickly and ran into the water. We were in a protected bay so the water wasn’t absolutely freezing but still fairly cold. When we got back and were warmed up we went to our workshops and had some amazing discussions about the environment. We have made “pod” groups to discuss things we can change in our lives, our community and the world. I am really excited to get back to my community and share the knowledge I have gained these last two weeks.    

Louis-Philippe Dury, Student

Cette excursion est une source de partage incroyable.  Partage de quoi? Les fragrances et les aromes de cette beauté aride, les points de vue à couper le souffle et les milieux magiques, des connaissances scientifiques, nos perception et nos conceptions ainsi que de nouvelles expériences tel qu’un bain dans l’eau glaciale dans cette mer que nous connaissons si peu: l’océan Arctique. 
Photo by Lee Narraway

Photo by Lee Narraway

Mabel Lee, Student

Today was one of the best days ever! I stumbled out of bed and enjoyed another beautiful day. Starting the day off, we had another great breakfast. Today we went on one of our last hikes of the expedition. As I hiked I took in the gorgeous landscape all around me. The hike was really refreshing. I felt as if I was a part of nature. The mountains, the water, the sky-- it was all so amazing and so fascinating. Later, we went on our first ever Arctic swim of the expedition. I quickly dove into the water and when I came out, I was freezing cold. It was a first time experience for me and it was awesome.
Photo by Lee Narraway

Rohit Mehta, Student

I am going to talk about my high, low, wow, and now moments. This is a concept we used in our breakout groups that formed two days back, where we had small discussions about ideas we could focus on after our expedition.

My high today has definitely been swimming in the arctic waters. If it wasn’t for the Mountains in the background, I could have been convinced that we were on a beach along the Atlantic. After we stepped off the zodiac, we held each other and ran into the water at full force. As I dove into the water, screamed, and ran back; I realized that the water wasn’t as cold as I had imagined. What’s more, the sun was unusually warm and quickly brought our bodies to room temperature. Laughing and screaming with the rest of the group, I dried off in the cool breeze and headed back to the ship for lunch.

My low today was seeing a few of our brothers and sisters recovering from being sick lately. We have had a few coughs and colds on board, and plenty of sea sickness yesterday – myself included! As I write this journal, there are few coughs and ill expedition members on board, but the majority of us are doing great.

My wow moment was when Rachel Eisner had a brilliant idea before lunch. It was announced that we are all supposed to bring our plates to the front of the lunch room after we ate. When I asked Rachel what she was up to, she said she had an idea, but wouldn’t say any more. I quickly realized that all of our food waste was being collected, and I understood that she was doing a waste audit. What blew me away was later in the day, when she sent the staff out during our nightly recap and they each came back holding a plate full of our food waste. She talked about how we must set a great example by not wasting, and why it’s so important for us to only consume what we need to eat. Further, she made us think about our job as role models, and even encouraged us to be more considerate by stacking our plates after meals.

My now moment is thinking about this expedition paradise as coming closer to an end, yet the power of this network, and our action plans is beginning. I recognize that I will look at my life differently upon my return; I hope I can adjust to my new life.

PS - Zoë we miss you and wish you were here! Thank you for all your hard work in the office!

Stay Tuned for Further Updates!


[HOME] [EXPEDITION DETAILS] [EXPEDITION ITINERARY] [DAILY JOURNEY UPDATES] [August 2] [August 3] [August 4] [August 5] [August 6] [August 7] [August 8] [August 9] [August 10] [August 11] [August 12] [August 13] [August 14] [August 15] [August 16] [August 17] [POST JOURNEY UPDATES] [EXPEDITION TEAM] [EDUCATION PROGRAM] [PARTNERS] [NEWS] [LINKS] [SOI TESTIMONIALS] [CONTACT US]

© 2008 Students on Ice Expeditions
All Rights Reserved

Natural Heritage Building
1740 chemin Pink
Gatineau, QC J9J 3N7 CANADA