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Isafjordur Landing and Denmark Strait

(All photos by Lee Narraway)

A zodiac whisks participants to shore from the Clipper Adventurer


The team had a fabulous farewell landing in Iceland today that included their first zodiac cruise of the expedition, a 2 hr. hike, exploring magnificent bird cliffs - home to thousands of puffins - and an art class on shore!

Wild Icelandic orchid


Michael Gardiner, Torbay, NL

Today I awoke and felt for the first time that I am rested. We stopped at a dormant volcano crater. As we reached the top of this desolate mound, that resembled a hollowed out mountain of asphalt, I saw a small white flower growing out of a pile of stones. It made me realize that life will go on. In the harshest environments we have desserts, the Arctic, even to the depths of the sea life will go on. The question we need to ask ourselves is do we want this life to go on? As we change the world we get further and further away from what we have evolved to deal with. Although in some cases evolution allows for certain species to survive we have no way of guaranteeing our own survival. I feel it more here than ever that we need to stop separating ourselves from the natural world. The idea that we are separate from nature is as we can see harming the natural world. We need to realize that the natural world is not this far away place removed from the world we live in. Everything we do everywhere changes and becomes a part of the natural world. Here I feel so lucky to feel this connection in such a strong manner. In this place of volcanoes and massive geological forces it is so easy to see the magnitude of the forces of the earth. 


Kendal painting amid a bed of wild flowers


Allie Hrabchak, Princeton, NJ

The beginning of this memorable day started off with an adventurous zodiac trip. We were able to see several types of birds including the famous puffin which I know many people were looking forward to seeing. All the zodiac drivers were able to give us information on all the different species and even passed around a dead bird for a close up inspection. After riding around for a while, we were dropped off back on the coast of Iceland. There, guided by J-F, we hiked up a small mountain. Along the way we stopped and inspected some bird eggs or plants of which we found. Unfortunately there was too much fog at the top for us to fully enjoy the amazing view, but we could still see how high up we were. After returning to the ship, many people enjoyed the numerous workshops that were offered, while others were too busy vomiting to appreciate it. Needless to say, the dining room wasn't very full tonight.

One Puffin out of thousands at the bird cliffs

Ilona Morel, Monaco

I think this day is going to be stuck in my mind forever. We had so many emotions. It started with a hardcore little walk to see for the last time the beauty of the Icelandic landscape. After, we went on a zodiac trip to see birds. It was really unusual to see so much birds flying all around us. We've learned a lot about biology through the zodiac cruise. We were supposed to fish zooplankton et phytoplankton to see what kind of food the birds were eating, however we've only fished jellyfish. Then we went back to the ship and that's the moment when the nightmare started. Actually I'm not sea-sick but there were so many people throwing up that it makes my stomach hurt. Although we took advantage of the situation because the dining room was pretty empty. That's just the beginning.... we have also tomorrow ALL day of sailing.

Kendall Melissa White, Bear Island, Lake Temagami, Ontario, Canada

It's my first time being on the sea, and it's quite spectacular. The ocean is so quiet yet under the ripples and waves is a sound more perfect than any man made music. It is a silent sound, the sound of the ocean. Below the grey water lives hundreds, thousands, maybe millions or more aquatic animals calling the world we so overlook their home. On our first day we were greeted by many porpoises, one of many inhabitants of this world. This is a world that has been unseen by so many but affected by all.

In these past few days my life has been severely altered. The image of global warming changes when seen through your eyes rather than a screen. It was almost impossible to believe that the small glaciers we are now seeing were once considered giant not that long ago. Seeing the glacial rivers was magnificent because life is so dependent on them.

We spent our last day on Iceland today and I sat on the shore painting how I felt about the beauty making it more abstract than realistic. Then we took a zodiac ride and saw birds including PUFFINS! We were escorted back to the ship by some dolphins. It was the perfect ending to a perfect place.


Kaileigh and her Viking hat

Kiran Dhatt-Gauthier, Sudbury, ON

A few journals in one.

After being whisked to Toronto and into the care of welcoming family friends in what seemed like minutes, I started to feel the rush of adrenaline that creeps out from its old hiding place and surges into your brain, promising along with it, an unforgettable voyage. Meeting old friends and new acquaintances, the Students On e staff members threw around my neck the most valuable item on the trip, my name tag. In the first few hours, greeting fellow countrymen, and foreigners alike was comparable to starved sharks tearing at each other for the last morsel of food. Here, I truly felt at ease, nametag around my neck. Being known as the most talkative person on the golf course (excluding bad days), I could talk my new friends to death. Yet, no one minded and even explored their personal archives to unleash a fury of exotic places and projects in which they had taken part of, most of which left me in jaw-dropping awe. Then again, none of us could compare any of our stories to the Arctic as it represented the Unknown, nature's last frontier, giving both serenity and unparallel excitement to come. With a towering arsenal of glaciers and their floating exiles, flowers that were tough (if not tougher) than nails, and a very select few creatures who withheld their ground against Darwin's theory in a daily struggle for survival, and landscapes carved by an Artist with an ever-insatiable desire to weed out any imperfections, no city--slicker could imagine the beauty of his own back yard.

And just like that we were off, flying into the unknown un the body of a steel carriage with fixed wings. However, as a polar opposite to the flight to Toronto, after what seemed like we had already circled the globe twice, I realized that we had just passed Sept-Iles, Quebec. Obviously, time needed to recalibrate itself, stranding us over the Canadian landmass until a more regular rhythm was put in place. In the same time it took to reach the edge of the St. Lawrence river, we had skipped over the pond to Iceland, welcomed by stern passport officials, our very own local tour bus guides, and who else but Iron Maiden and their tour plane. Not being a huge fan of death metal, I found it easy to resist the urge of scaling a barbed wire fence and demand autographs from the internationally known group. However, Iron Maiden and their gargantuan plane did strike up a conversation amongst fellow bus riders, allowing everyone to participate actively and create a flurry of controversy and spawning debates in which both parties were livid. These debates ranged from political systems and their effectiveness, to beautifully told stories which got everyone laughing provided by the legend himself, Dr. Ken Kontio. Our debates had to end, sadly, as we entered the Blue Lagoon.

Posing for pictures before heading out on a 2 hour hike

SOI Educator Annie Petaulassie

Trevor de Zeeuw, Burnaby, B.C.

Today we got to make our first zodiac landing of the expedition. After another 5-star breakfast, the SOI crew was split up into our two zodiac tour groups. The Clipper Adventurer was anchored in a large inlet off the north western coast of Iceland, and the inflatable zodiacs dropped 11 of us off at a time on a rocky shore line just below a hollowed out valley. A group of about 30 students headed deep into the valley and climbed the wet, rocky slopes. We hiked about an hour to the first view point, I took plenty of pictures along the way. The view point had a gentle(ish) slope leading up to it, only to show jagged cliffs to the chilled waters below. It was an awesome feeling, safety on one side and danger only a slip away. The next point on the trek was a long ways to a view of what I was told is a bird colony. The only disappointing part of that is when I finally got there, thick fog had rolled in quickly and I wasn't able to enjoy the view.

Once back on the ship we hit rougher seas in the Denmark Straight. The swells started off small, only about 1m tall, but many of the students don't have their sea legs quite yet. To their misfortune, the weather only got  worse. I personally enjoy the rocking of the boat, it's actually really fun. The ship is now equipped with "sickness bags" in all handrails around the ship. They disappear quickly. To no surprise the dining room was rather empty today, many of my sea sick friends looked at me with envy after I finished my 5 course meal. The biggest down-side for me is that with barely 20 of the 70 students able to walk, I find myself above the bridge whale watching by myself because everyone else is too cold. I don’t have much trouble with it, I've been wearing shorts on the ship as my go to attire. 

The World's Greatest Art Class


Zev Heuer, Canmore Alberta

We've set sail for Greenland!

Kittiwake and chicks on bird cliffs


Cassie Jones, Montreal, QC

I've been dreaming of coming to Iceland and the North for many years. It is incredible to believe I have made it here already. It is a dream that I thought would take a lifetime to reach. I had thought that because I am young but I am slowly realizing that being young is a powerful asset; this trip can shape who I am and who I will be. On July 25th we met the President of Iceland who described the spirit of the North as one that is peaceful, accepting and harmonious. This is a spirit I hope to find here and welcome into my heart. I am in search of the spirit of the North. I have found it is one that flows through the land and people and trickles into others. It washes up on the shores of our mind eroding and transforming the shape of our ideas and filling empty holes. It is only the beginning of the trip and so much has happened already. So many wonderful people and the beautiful land filled with mystical natural occurrences the volcanoes, geysers, rocky terrain, and waterfalls. I am currently, driving under the sea for six kilometers. I look forward to the days to come and embarking the boat to venture to Greenland.

Bo tudies a carniferous plant

Katie Baba, Lincoln, New Brunswick

Iceland is absolutely beautiful. Over the last several days, we have been travelling away from the capital and towards northern Iceland. There are towering mountains every direction you look, the strong and patient Icelandic horses, wild sheep just a metre from the roads, and tunnels beneath mountains that last forever. All of the towns we have visited are calm and quiet. There is a patience to their pace of life that I am so envious of. I look around this place and I think... I could live here.

Today, was our very last stop in Iceland, but I will be back someday, and today was also the very first Zodiac landing. A group of us painted along the shore, working with oil paints. Then we got in the zodiac and saw bird colonies, and we were extra lucky and saw two dolphins. This adventure is incredible and I am enjoying every minute. Thank you so much to the Leacross Foundation, you have made my dream become reality.

I miss and love everyone back home. I will see you soon!

CMN's Julian Starr with Bo and Isabel.
Julian sure makes studying cariferous plants look fun!


Good afternoon! Our team is en route across the Davis Strait to Greenland presently.

Our Expedition Leader reports that the seas are a bit choppy. Most of our students are well and attending lectures and out on deck. A few are down for the count and in their bunks feeling a tad sea sick. However, all are in excellent hands! Our Doctor Kontio is looking after students who are feeling a bit green - and odds are, we will hear a full report of the choppy seas in tomorrow's journals!

Never fear though - everyone should have their sea legs by tomorrow! It sometimes takes a day or two but is very natural.

We have just uploaded photos and journals are yesterday's page!

If you are at home wondering why your son/daughter hasn't written yet - please keep in mind that journal writing is not mandatory. We generally have a contingent of students who love to write home and do so often -- but there is a near limitless number of activities on board the ship to choose from at any given time.

And often, students are happiest out on the deck, sitting on a bench and watching the seas roll by.... and who can blame them for that?



** Please note - we updated two new videos yesterday afternoon, as well as new journals and photos on our July 26th page!


Good morning!

We are awaiting journals and photos from yesterday's adventures in Akureyri and Siglufjordur from the team at present...

We have spoken with our Expedition Leader, Geoff Green, and all is well and they have had a very busy time during their first evening and morning on board the Clipper Adventurer.

After checking into their cabins and exploring the ship last night, the expedition team participated in mandatory lifeboat and safety drills before heading to the dining room for a big Welcome Aboard dinner! After dinner, the team spent some time out on deck, whale watching, before heading into the Lecture Room for an evening presentation by Trevor Taylor called "Vikings: Those Immortal Navigators." After more time on deck and journal writing in the communications room - it was lights out at 11 PM.

As of 7 AM this morning, the team is on an early morning landing off the northwestern tip of Iceland where they expect to zodiac cruise some extraordinary bird cliffs - home to tens of thousands of Puffins!

Click here to see the location of the ship on our SPOT GSP checker...

After this morning landing, the team will have a hearty lunch, head out on deck and wave goodbye to Iceland. Afternoon workshops include Visual Art and Inuit Craftmaking, Photography, Drum Dancing, and The Global Positioning System: GPS.

There will of course be more time to be out on deck watching Iceland the world go by.

Tomorrow is a sea-day. The Expedition Team will be crossing the Denmark Strait en route to eastern Greenland!

Stand by for more information - plus yesterday's photos and journals - soon to arrive!