It was a very active and happy ship today, as we sailed toward Greenland crossing the Davis Strait. We’ve been in the ice and at sea now for two full nights and two full days and tomorrow morning we will arrive to spectacular Evighedsfiord, Greenland!
Its been a full day of workshops, discussion and seminars and the breadth of Polar knowledge and experience is remarkable.
Early this morning four distinguished experts shared a life time of work, research and experience on topics ranging from Arctic plants, polar bears, Arctic fish, and in the political sphere, the importance and impact of the Arctic Council.
Roger Bull, a botanist with the Canadian Museum of Nature, provided a Plant 101 session, identifying the broad categories of key Arctic flowers, showing their locations and characteristics that allow them to survive in the harsh high altitude climate. Roger has also been conducting a hands-on workshop on identifying, collecting and preserving Arctic plants. The flowers, sedges, Labrador tea, micro willows and other plants the students collected in Labrador were dried in the ship`s sauna, (the only time it is allowed to be used) and today more than a dozen students under Rogers guidance pressed and preserved them in books and folders. Lasting memories and scientific introduction all rolled into one.
Noel Alfonso is a fish taxonomist with The Canadian Museum of Nature, and he loves to look at and talk about fish! Soon he says the museum will be releasing the first comprehensive publication on Arctic fish with some 222 species. He showed deep water pictures of fish and marine life that most people don`t even know exist. Dare we say only on Students on Ice does this happen!
One of the people most excited about seeing so many polar bears so early in the expedition is Olle Carlsson, a Swede and naturalist guide and lecturer who thrilled a number of students and other educators with a fascinating overview of the natural habitat and habits of polar bears.
SOI students also had the opportunity to examine the geo-political realities of the Arctic, with discussion around climate change and development. Core to these discussions is the Circumpolar eight nation Arctic Council and Miguel Rodrigues, a senior diplomat with the US Embassy in Canada, spoke about the Arctic Council and the role of the USA as chair in fulfilling the present agenda.
Our Arctic Hour sessions also continued today with three simultaneous discussions.
The President of the National Inuit Youth Council Mataalli Okalik, First Nations performer Justin Manyfingers, and veteran CBC journalist Whit Fraser, discussed the past, present and future implications and promise of national reconciliation.
In another session, Daniele Bianchi moderated a session on Healthy Communities where three Northern residents, Jamie Snook of Goose Bay, Labrador, Shari Gearheard of Clyde River, and David Serkoak of Iqaluit spoke about the issues that add to community well being, healing programs, education and maintaining a connection and lifestyle around traditional activities.
Author and Arctic journalist Ed Struzik moderated a discussion on climate change, where Miki Jacobsen from Greenland, Ashlee Cunsolo of Cape Breton University, and Garry Donaldson, a waterfowl and migratory bird expert with the Canadian Wildlife Service, spoke to the issues of climate change and agreed there is now too much focus on doom and gloom discussion and not enough emphasis on solutions and adaptation.
By mid-afternoon, we crossed the international boundary into Greenland where we will spend the next four days. Three of our Greenland educators, Miki Jacobsen, Mikkel Lund and Lucy Qvist, set out the important context and background by looking at the history of Greenland. They spoke about Inuit Greenlanders, the first Norse in 982 AD, the Vikings settlements that followed, and Danish rule that began 300 years ago, and concluded with an overview of today’s changing culture, climate and economy.
The sailing continues to be smooth, visibility reduced in fog, but the on deck weather is warm and welcome. We sent another 135 brown stubby bottles into the water with notes from expedition members, asking anyone who finds them to make contact. Every year at least a few bottles survive and wash up on distant shores from Spain to Ireland to Iceland. This is an active research project called the Drift Bottle Project that SOI’s Arctic Expeditions contribute to each year in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, monitoring changing ocean currents.
It was also Rock and Roll time, or disco delight with a Saturday night dance party before dinner in the Hub! The dance floor was crowded and students and a few of the more courageous staff cut their nineties style moves on the dance floor. Look for this to become a new SOI regular event.
Our evening program was extraordinary. High Arctic tales and adventures from Arctic veterans Fred Roots and Olle Carlsson.
Fred recalled doing mapping work in northern Greenland in the 1950`s where he determined the northern most point of land in the World.
He also found a weathered flower and brought it to a botanist at the Museum of Nature who instantly identified it as the common dandelion.
Tonight`s entertainment was again exceptional. SOI Photographer Lee Narraway and student Malcom Ford from Tennessee did a duet on Robert Services‘ Cremation of Sam McGee with Malcolm providing the voice of `chilled to the bone Sam`.
Tim Baker was again superb with a love song `dance with me` but the high point of the night was surely the performance by Shawna Dicker of Nain, Labrador. What`s more, the story behind the song is as inspiring as the lyrics. A few days ago, near the music corner, Jonathan Pitseolak, from Pond Inlet picked up a piece of paper off the floor and noticed some lyrics scribbled out. He brought them to Ian Tamblyn who looked at them and promptly made an announcement on the PA – “To the person who wrote the lines ‘Breath In’, please see me. You have a song.”
With a little more work, a few rehearsals, and back up from Ian Tamblyn, Tim Baker and James Raffan, Shawna sang the very beautiful “Breath in”.
Tomorrow we hike the hills of Greenland…
Students on Ice Founder, President & Expedition Leader
Abhayjeet Sachal – Surrey, BC, Canada
All I did today was learn. Students on Ice is certainly one of the greatest educational institutes in the world, and today I continuously learned new things. I participated in two climate change workshops and discovered how complex the global issue really is.
Later, we had the Davis Strait Dance Party! The theme for the party was 90s music. Since I was born in 2001, and am the youngest student on this expedition, I didn’t recognize most of the songs, but it was still fun dancing around with all my new friends. I also threw a bottle off the stern of the ship as a part of the Drift Bottle Project, a scientific program which studies the changing ocean currents.
Luciano, my roommate, has become a brother to me. Every night, the boys in my hallway pull pranks. And while the days are seemingly never-ending, the nights are full of action too.
Yesterday was a great day, but today was even better, and every day of this expedition is exceeding what I thought it would be like. I can’t wait to reach Greenland tomorrow. 🙂
Aiden Cyr – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Six more days until home. I think the initial excitement of the trip has started to fade a little as people get comfortable with their surroundings. Groups of people are starting to form but I’d still like to believe that I’m out and about meeting new people and further strenghtening other friendships. Like I said it’s kind of the huMp day because we’re heading through the Davis Strait and though we’d all love to play out on the sea ice, the fog and thIck ice is keeping us indoors.
At Some point today, we will be crossing the international border into the Kingdom of Denmark (into Greenland) and by tomorrow morning we will be entering one of the world’s longeSt fiord which is really cool. We did some early morning workshops that were good. The program is usually pretty jampacked and by the time the workshops are over it’s briefing then a musical performance or two (which are always awesome) and off to bed. So YOU may think. The pranking and shenanigans in my hallway are crazy. It’s funny! Sometimes I just want to crash though because my brain is tired and needs time to absorb some of the extensive knowledge from several panels in a day. More intense but more fun than school.
I would be out there looking for wildlife or fishing for Arctic Char (a local fisheman caught 100lbs yesterday for dinner) but the fog limits the view quite a lot. Thank goodness we’re safe though it’s tricky with all the icebergs in the Strait and we are lucky to have awesome staff, team Leaders and a great captain. I may honestly take a nap as this is our rejuvanation day and everyones pretty tired. But we do have a 90’s dance party tonight which will definely be entertaining. I hope everyone in Otown is doing weLl!
Far Away, always Near IN Spirit
Allison Dyson – Makkovik, NL, Canada
I am loving all of the new things we’re doing on the ship (“It’s a ship,not a boat. You can put aa boat on a ship, but you can’t put a ship on a boat.”). Also, we crossed into Greenland today! I can’t believe that I’m actually out of the country! Missing home still, but excited for every adventure!
Amy Johnson – PhD Student
Hello! Today was our second day at sea as we head to Greenland. This morning was relaxed, and I went to a talk about polar bears and helped with a workshop about wildlife monitoring. It was again too foggy to see much so hopefully the weather clears up when we reach Greenland. We should be arriving tomorrow morning in Evighedsfiord (the fjord of eternity) where there are bird cliffs and a tidewater glacier – I am looking forward to the scenery and wildlife. We also had a few presentations about the culture and people of Greenland which was interesting to learn. We are planning on visiting a few Greenland communities, remote areas, and fjords, and we will hopefully go onto the ice cap!
Claire Sutherland – Castlegar, BC, Canada
Hello everyone! Wow, the time has gone so fast! Today was the tenth day of our voyage! Can you believe that we have only 5 days left in our expedition!
Today we started crossing Davis Strait to make our way over to Greenland. It was a bit more rocky then I imagined, so today I wasn’t feeling that great. But they told us that by tomorrow morning we should be in Greenland! Since we couldn’t go out for landings we did a lot of workshops and panels. For me personally, I started my morning off with a presentation all about the polar bear, then when on to look for wildlife on the deck, and then finished my day off with a panel discussing climate change. I felt like I really learned a lot today about the Arctic.
Last night we started our bottle project! I threw one of my bottles in last night and my other one in this morning. It’s really cool to think that one day my bottle could wash up on a beach in Iceland, or Scotland, or really anywhere.
As well at dinner (or I guess supper because apparently dinner is lunch for most people here) tonight we were supose to sit with our birth month for a mixer kind of event. My room mate and I are both January, but when we got to the dining room, there were no more tables for January! I really can’t believe that there are that many people on board that are January babies! In the end we sat at a December table because that was the closest to our month that we could find.
I’m really excited to see Greenland! We had a presentation on it this afternoon from all the staff from Greenland and that just got me more excited. I am also excited of the idea of land because I feel like I’ve been out on the sea for a while!
Well that’s it for now! I hope you are all enjoying following our journey and I’ll see you all back home soon!
Cory Fournier – North Bay, ON, Canada
As we sail across Davis Strait from Canada to Greenland I find myself comparing not only countries, but also cultures, issues, and times.
Spending this time at sea has allowed the education program and conversations aboard the ship to flourish. One of the first comparisons that arose was during a workshop on social indicators of a healthy community. This brought up a discussion surrounding mental health in northern communities; we spoke of the challenges faced in Nunavut, Nunansiavut and Greenland on this increasingly important issue. After visiting Hebron we all gained understanding about the history of colonization and relocation in northern communities and how these past events still resonate today in youth. A moment that struck me was when a Greenlandic Inuk stated that during the northern pre-program in Ottawa she finally felt proud of who she was and she felt empowered to talk about these issues. When I asked what switch allowed her to feel that sense of pride and willingness to share, and why it happened in a foreign place so far from home, she answered with the simple fact that it was because the dialogue was happening. I am realizing the importance of open dialogue surrounding culture, history, mental health and other various challenges faced in the north in both the home and education system. These conversations have to be had in the north, and they need to be led by the amazingly strong and resilient people who call the north home. So where do I and many others fit in as southerners? The answer to this question was that we need to have these same conversations at home in the south. We should be telling the stories of the north, sharing the beauty and rich culture, as well as the history with our peers and loved ones.
Another workshop I went to today was on climate change and how it affects the mental well being in communities. In this workshop the idea of comparing the past with the present came to light. It began comparing the past relocation tragedies forced upon northern communities by the government with the potential of future relocation of communities due to climate change. How can we learn from the past in order to keep the culture and well being of people around the world strong as we face the need for adaptation, just as people of the north have done in the past? This is a question that is left unanswered at the moment but I feel as though it is an extremely important one.
Darrell Wells – Instructor Marine Institute of Memorial University
Today we are crossing the Davis Strait on our way to Greenland. We are about half way across the strait at the moment. We encountered the edge of the ice pack yesterday and saw some amazing icebergs. So far the crossing has had calm seas with lots of fog.
The plan is to do another bottle drop first thing after breakfast. We dropped about 60 bottles yesterday, each having our own individual message. My bottle number was 3. Hopefully,it will be found someday.
There are several onboard workshops and presentations planned for today, so should be interesting…
Well we are continuing our journey across the Davis Strait. We completed the second of our three bottle drops. Bottles 60 through to 135 are now adrift on the Arctic Sea searching for someone to discover them.
There were several interesting workshops today, one of which focused on Arctic fish. There are several species that are unique to the Arctic and it was very interesting to see how these species have adapted to the environment.
The plan for the remainder of the day is to continue with the workshops, another Arctic Hour panel discussion and then the event that many of the teens have been waiting for…Johnathan will be hosting a DANCE PARTY in the Hub. The theme will be 90’s music, so it should be a blast. I will let you know how that goes.
So for now we have smooth sailing along the southern part of the main ice flow with foggy conditions. Hope the fog clears when we reach Greenland which should be by breakfast tomorrow morning, Sunday.
A photo posted by Students On Ice (@studentsonice) on
Edouard Toma – Gatineau, QC, Canada
Aujourd’hui est encore une autre journée passée en mer pour se rendre au Groenland. Le matin, j’ai assisté à une présentation sur les ours polaires qui était extrêmement intéressante, en partie car elle était faite par l’une de mes personnes préférées sur le bateau: Olle. J’étais très fatigué à cause du changement d’heure alors je pense que j’ai dormi un peu. Le reste de la matinée a été passée dans des ateliers, j’ai pris un atelier de relaxation car j’étais endormi et je ne voulais pas bouger. L’activité était très intéressante car nous avons relaxé pendant une heure. En attendant le dîner, Ian, le musicien, m’a donné une autre leçon de piano. Nous avons eu du temps libre après le diner donc j’ai fais une autre leçon avec Ian avant de me diriger vers les ordinateurs pour écrire mon blogue. Nous avons eu du temps libre qui a duré une bonne partie de l’après-midi avant d’aller écouter des conférences sur la réconcilialition à travers le Canada et des présentations sur le Groenland en guise d’introduction pour notre arrivée demain. Nous avons par la suite eu un party et dansé jusqu’au souper. Pour le souper, nous devions nous asseoir à la table qui correspondait à notre mois de naissance. J’ai donc pu rencontrer de nouvelles personnes et j’ai eu une conversation très intéressante avec un des naturalistes sur le bateau. Nous avons par la suite conclu la soirée avec les messages du soir avant d’aller me coucher.
Ellie Clin – Teacher
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear daddy-o,
Happy birthday to you!
P.S. We are having a great time! 🙂
Emma Lim – London, ON, Canada
I can’t remember what I included in yesterday’s blog so forgive any repeated information. After lunch I went outside and looked at the beautiful wilderness. I also took part in a bannock-making workshop and a drum dancing workshop. This morning I went to a panel about diplomacy led by a diplomat with some incredible stories. He taught us about the countries that govern the Arctic and explained the policies being implemented right now. I then went to a flower pressing worshop that dealt with the samples that had been collected on the trip. I am working on mounting several species of Arctic plants right now to make a book! I plan on giving this to you, Mom, if I can get it finished in time. After lunch I went to a panel on truth and reconciliation where people shared their experiences and hopes for the future, as well as provided a background to the First Nations history in Canada and the reconciliation process. This panel was really interesting and very inspiring to hear the firsthand accounts of these people. I just listened to a few Greenland natives talk about the history and culture of their country. I am in a bit of a rush to write a blog today so I am glossing over some of the finer details. We are crossing the Davis Straight right now on our way to Greenland and this has been our second day completely at sea! Tomorrow, I believe, we will be on land. I am headed to another activity right away but I made sure to get this blog done. Much love to my family!
Eve Martin-Riverin – Pessamit, QC, Canada
Kuei! Ça fait quelques jours que j’ai pas écrit de blogue donc je voulais vous donner de mes nouvelles. Ces derniers jours ont été très instructifs, mais aussi ils m’ont fait réaliser plusieurs choses. Nous avons été au camp de base et à la station de recherche des Monts-Torngat au Labrador d’ailleurs, nous avons fait plusieurs ateliers sur différents sujets très intéressants. Hier, il y a eu une activité que nous avons fait qui consistait à écrire une lettre et la mettre dans une bouteille de verre que nous avons jetée à la mer. Qui sait où elle se rendra et qui la trouvera si j’ai un peu de chance. Les journées sont très chargées dans cette expédition et c’est parfois épuisant car tu apprends plusieurs choses. Parfois, tu dois être assez concentré pour bien comprendre, mais en même temps tu n’as pas beaucoup de sommeil, mais bon ce n’est qu’un détail. J’ai juste vraiment hâte de pouvoir faire la grasse matinée très bientôt car l’aventure s’achève dans moins de six jours. Je suis certaine que plusieurs se demande à quoi peut ressembler une journée à bord du bateau de croisière Ocean Endeavour de Students on Ice. Et bien, je vais vous montrer ci-dessous l’horaire d’aujourd’hui le 30 juillet 2016 :
0800: Wake up call
0830: Breakfast is served in the Polaris Restaurant (dans le bateau)
0930: Bottle drop – Deck #6 Outside
1000: Briefing & Artcic Presentations – Hub
1130: Workshops – Hub
1300: Lunch is served in the Polaris Restaurant
1400: Quiet Ship Time
1530: Arctic Hour Panel Discussions
1700: Intro to Greenland Presentation – Hub
1830: Dance Party – Hub
1930: Dinner is served in the Polaris Restaurant
2100: Evening Program – Hub
2230: Curfew Time
Voilà! Cependant, aujourd’hui nous nous dirigeons vers le Groenland donc nous passerons deux journées sur la mer étant donné qu’on traverse la mer du Labrador. Normalement, il y a toujours des sorties durant la journée aux places que l’on s’arrête. Vous voyez que nos journées sont remplies d’activités et que ça n’arrête jamais, mais je pense que c’est ce qui fait que Students on Ice est un très bon programme. Lorsque j’ai dit au début que j’avais réalisé plusieurs choses c’est vraiment au niveau de mes intérêts. En effet, j’ai participé à quelques ateliers et présentations sur la santé mentale et j’ai découvert un nouvel intérêt pour ce sujet surtout lorsque l’on parle de celui-ci dans les communautés inuites et à quel point c’est important d’avoir une bonne santé mentale pour son bien-être. Alors, peut-être qu’au niveau académique ce serait une option à envisager qui sait! Bref, pour finir je voulais simplement dire que je vais très bien et que je m’amuse beaucoup ici et que j’ai rencontré plusieurs personnes extraordinaires. J’ai très hâte de revoir mon monde et je vous aime beaucoup! xxx
Haleh Zabihi – St. John’s, NL, Canada
Hello from Greenland! We have just crossed the Canada-Greenland border and are making our way towards the “Neverending” Fjord. We started the day with another interesting round of Arctic presentations. During workshops, I attended the meditation workshop which taught me how to control my breathing and how important it is for me to take some time for myself every once in a while. After lunch, we had some quiet ship time which was much needed because a day at sea always makes everyone tired. We wrapped up the afternoon with a presentation on the history and culture of Greenland and are now kicking off the evening with a dance party! I’m so excited to arrive in Greenland tomorrow morning and explore a new area and culture so different from mine but equally as important. I am so thankful for Students on Ice for giving me the opportunity to go to these areas and be able to expand my views in a way that would never have happened otherwise!
Until next time,
A photo posted by Students On Ice (@studentsonice) on
Jamie Snook – Executive Director
Polar Bear Co-management Workshop
The Students on Ice (SOI) expedition has provided an extensive and transdisciplinary educational program for the staff and students alike. I have appreciated an opportunity to try drum dancing, and the art of story telling. The hands-on workshops and Arctic hours have led to some really in-depth discussions about polar issues and Arctic research, policies, and issues. In the last few days, I have participated as a speaker on a sea ice panel and facilitated another panel on healthy communities, both of which provided great opportunities for knowledge sharing, discussion, and co-learning.
Yesterday, as the Executive Director of the Torngat Secretariat, I was asked to lead a session on polar bear co-management. I structured this workshop to provide attendees with the opportunity to simulate decision-making through a co-management structure, based on real situations and decisions that the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board has faced.
Following the actual structure of the decision-making boards, the workshop started by splitting the students into two groups, and asking them to establish a new co-management board with one federal appointee, two provincial appointees, three Nunatsiavut Government appointees, and an independent chairperson. Each new board was given a series of facts and information about the Davis Strait polar bear population and then asked to use this information to decide on the total allowable harvest level in Nunatsiavut. Through this exercise, participants had to take into account scientific findings, Indigenous knowledge, differing interests from stakeholder groups, other co-management board decisions in Nunavut, population projections, and stressors from climate change.
The discussions quickly became animated, as the students began to delve into the challenges of reaching consensus, and the pressures of making decisions based on available information that ensures conservation and sustainable utilization. The students were also quick to pick up on the many nuances associated with managing human interactions with polar bears. Some wondered about the next census so they could have updated science before making their decision on the quota (there is a census planned for 2017). Others were inquisitive about coordination between Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and Nunavut, and whether or not there were coordinated efforts to share management and decision-making of the Davis Strait population. Many of the students were also wondering who were appointed to these boards, and what sort of experience or expertise you need to be on the boards. There was also a lot of discussion about Indigenous rights, culture, and sovereignty related to sustainable harvesting.
At the end of the session, the two boards had to reach consensus, and then share with the larger group. The final discussions were dynamic, and it was clear that the students had learned a lot about the complexities of co-management from the session, and were inspired to learn more. Many of the students have continued to have discussions with me about the world of co-management, and what sort of education you need in order to pursue careers in this area and support the science and decision-making processes of these important boards. I was also pleased that the workshop got a shout-out in the evening re-cap as one of the highlights of the day for students.
Once again, I am inspired by the amazing people on this ship, and am pleased to be representing the Torngat Secretariat on this unique educational expedition to bring a co-management perspective to the group. We need more experiential education opportunities such as Students on Ice, if we want to inspire the next generation of Arctic leaders, and I am proud to contribute to this program.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Torngat Secretariat, please visit our website at www.torngatsecretariat.ca. All of the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-management Board polar bear reports and annual decisions are available online. Our organization is also on Facebook and Twitter, and we’re always happy to field more questions and inquiries.
Jamie Snook, MA, P. Mgr
Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat
Jonah Sedge – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Hello. Blogging has never really been my thing before, but my parents told me I had to (Hi mom and dad. I’m alive please don’t change that!). I haven’t been keeping up with my journal, but I’m sure I will remember these experiences for a lifetime. From the tomfoolery with our “curfew” to the amazing landings, this experience has been amazing. I have participated in workshops of all sorts, and I’m excited to take these learning opportunities and apply them to real life. I can’t wait to share all this experiences without being limited by a keyboard when I get back home.
That’s enough for today, thank you for reading, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with all of you.
Linda Kristiansen – Nuuk, Greenland.
Massakkut Kalaallit Nunaannukariartuaaruusaarpugut, Davis Stredekkut ikaarpugut. Kangaamiut eqqaanut ikeranut niussaagut. Ullormiit ullormut sila najoqqutaralugu pilersaarutigut allanngortarmata paasitinniarlusi. Pilersaarutigaarput aqagu ualikkut Kalaallit Nunaannut apuutissalluta.
Ilaquttakka, aqqaluannguara kammalaatikkalu neriuppunga tamassi ajunngitsusi. Uanga qanoq inngittunga! Hehe nuannisaqaanga.
Usi! Ippassaq Kalaallit qimmiannut qimuttunut anuliara naammassivara! Imaallaat ilikkarpara qanoq anuliortarnersut.
Luciano Martin Ayala Valani – Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.
Tout bonne chose a une fin et hier nous avons quitté le parc national des Monts-Torngat pour reprendre la mer. Ce matin, en regardant par la fenêtre, je ne voyais que l’eau et le brouillard, le navire semblait naviguer vers l’inconnu. À ce moment, je me suis senti perdu et isolé comme si je marchais dans le noir le plus total. Puis, je me suis rendu compte que nous étions tout de même chanceux de nos jours, en comparaison avec les marins d’autrefois qui n’avaient pas l’équipement que nous possèdons maintenant. Après le déjeuner, chacun de nous a préparé un message personnalisé pour mettre dans une bouteille que nous jeterons ensuite à la mer dans l’espoir qu’elle soit retrouvée un jour. Lorsque les bouteilles sont retrouvées, les scientifiques peuvent observer la dynamique des courants marins. Plus tard, j’ai assisté à une dicussion sur la souveraineté arctique. Parmi les points que j’ai retenus, j’ai appris une partie des règles internationales concernant la répartition des eaux à chaque pays et que tous les différents entre les pays du nord ne sont pas encore réglés. En après-midi, il y avait beaucoup de brouillard, mais nous avons pu voir des glaciers énormes qui faisaient facilement la taille d’une maison. Puis, j’ai participé à un atelier où nous jouions le rôle du comité chargé de définir le quota d’ours polaires qui seraient chassés cette année au Nunatsiavut (le nord du Labrador). Après des dicussions, nous avions convenu de faire passer le nombre d’ours polaire qui seraient chassé de 12 à 16. L’éducateur nous a expliqué que finalement la décision réelle du comité avait été de 13. Lors du débriefing avant d’aller dormir, nous avons pu entendre trois chansons par différents groupes (composé de staff et d’élève). À présent, je vais aller dormir. Comme nous nous dirigeons vers le Groenland nous allons avancer l’heure et perdu une heure de sommeil.
Marie Sophie Danckaert – Monaco, Monaco.
Le réveil a été difficile! Nous nous dirigeons actuellement vers le Groenland et avons dû avancer d’une heure, la nuit a été courte. Hier, nous avons préparé des bouteilles contenant des messages et un formulaire afin d’aider les scientifiques à étudier les courants marins. Nous avons effectué le deuxième lancer ce matin et j’ai ainsi pu jeter ma bouteille à la mer, en espérant que quelqu’un la trouvera et me contactera. Cela fait deux jours que nous sommes en mer, les journées s’écoulent donc entre ateliers, “Arctic hour” et moments de détente. Ce sont les journées comme celles-ci qui permettent de faire le plus de nouvelles rencontres.
Na lingi, azali kitoko. Na lingi yo mingi.
Meera Chopra – Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
I woke up extra early this morning to sit next to the window, which displayed a view of the fog laying beautifully on top of the ocean. This morning, I also got to throw my message in a bottle off the ship. I’m excited to see if anyone finds it, and how far the bottle travels!
I also attended workshops and panel discussions about a variety of topics. I learned that there are many species of plants that grow in the Arctic, from river beauties to purple heather. Ironically, the plant that’s been found growing the farthest north is a common dandelion! Later, some other expeditioners and I played a science card game, where we had to pitch creative and interesting solutions to current global environmental problems.
What shocked me the most is how global warming has social effects and heavily impacts Arctic communities. Climate change can cause depression, and it alters the wildlife in northern regions. Now, Inuit must adapt and learn to hunt the new types of animals.
Towards the end of the day, we had a 90s themed dance party! It was a great way to end the day, surrounded by friends.
Smooth sailing for the future.
Melissa Snedden – High School Teacher
This morning came way too soon since we jumped ahead an hour. Currently, we’re two hours ahead of Ontario because of our time in Labrador and now as we head to Greenland we jumped ahead another. We’re in International waters at the moment as we cross the Davis Strait and will soon be in Greenland’s water. We had a super busy day with Arctic Hour panels, workshops and bottle dropping and the students and staff are fading fast.
Tomorrow is looking like it will be a busy day and hopefully we we will be off the ship twice (once in the morning and once in the afternoon). It will be nice to get some legs out on land and some fresh air. Greenland’s weather will be very similiar to what we experienced in Labrador which is approximately 10+ degrees, which will be awesome! Hopefully our time in Greenland will be less foggy than our last few days.
I hope everyone is enjoying the start of the long weekend and it staying cool!
Grace, Journey, Blessing.
Mohd Robi Muhammad Arif – Marang, Malaysia
I woke up this morning and the fog and ice are the same. The ship is moving steadily. Another day at sea. So today we are not going to have Zodiac outings. After having breakfast, we were divided into three groups to do the Arctic Hours. And i chose to be in the Fishes in the Arctic presentation. And it is really exciting to know more about those creatures that are such a significant part of the Arctic ecosystem. Overall, it is really fun.
After that, I went to Linda’s painting workshop. Finally, I had finished my painting. And everyone gave me Thumbs Up. And I realized it too. It is my first time painting but I found that painting is really wonderful.
I miss home. I miss you my mom and dad. I miss you guys – my friends. But I still want to explore this world. I will share this moments with you guys once I get home. Lots of love. From the Arctic.
Nora Boone – St. John’s, NL, Canada
Day 9 aboard the Ocean Endeavour.
Yesterday we crossed the international border as we made our way accross the Davis Strait.
A couple of days ago, I joined a workshop about the Polar Bear co-managemnet board concerning the polar bear hunt along the Davis Strait. We then formed two mock councils and discussed how we would evaluate and deliberate upon the request for the Polar Bear quota to be raised from 12 to 20 in the Nunasiavut Region. It was interesting to compare the decision reached by both mock councils, as well as the actual outcome.
We also started the Bottle Drop Project. The project was initiated to track changes in the ocean currents. So, we all wrote letters, rolled them into bottles and sealed the opening. I tossed mine off the stern of the ship yesterday morning and watched it float away, hoping it will turn up again sometime, somewhere!
We also saw a couple of Greenlandic icebergs that floated down from the north, and could even make their way to Newfoundland if they are big enough to last the journey!
Today, we are officially in Greenland. We were welcomed by the most incredible morning zodiac cruise around Evighedsfjord. We whirled around icebergs, gazed up at the bird cliffs and watched glacier ice crack and fall into the water. Moments later, we heard a thundering sound and saw the swells rise beneath the magnificent glacier. Truly an incredible sight to see.
This afternoon we had a barbeque lunch on the ship deck surounded by mountains and a glacier while the sun was shining.
We then took the zodiacs to shore and did a hike along the mountains. After that, it was POLAR DIP TIME! Cold, crazy, but completely worth it! As we crawled out of the water with numb legs, the bugs swarmed us as we all scrambled to the zodiacs and headed back to the ship.
We will be spending the next few days sailing around Greenland, so stay tuned!
Rackley Wren – Augusta, GA, USA
I am writing this in hopes that my family and friends will read it! I have been keeping a personal journal about the various events and shenanigans that have taken place both onboard and on land in the many places we have been. I will be happy to share the many stories and memories that I have gathered whilst being on this expedition. That being said, you’ll probably have a hard time keeping me from talking about them anyways. I hope all of you are doing well and that everyone is in good spirits and in good health. I promise I have been taking (fairly) good care of myself and that I have been keeping (relatively) warm.
I miss all of you and I will see you soon, ready to share all kinds of knowledge and experiences.
With all of my love,
Robert Adragna – Toronto, ON, Canada
Another day at sea, another day. The latest in a relatively static series, it will be amazing to head into the fjords of Greenland tomorrow for what promises to be a magical adventure in scenery. The last few days have been unique, to say the least. From paddleboarding around Hebron to attending a large series of fascianting lectures to casting bottles into the Davis Strait, there has been no shortage of tremendous excitment. Or perhaps not excitment, but rather a monotonous feeling of waiting. Waiting for the fog to lift. The fog is a rather perculiar beast. It is not like the bold roar of the lion, or the fierce maul of a polar bear. Rather, it insidiously creeps up until you have just 100m of visibility with no idea what happened to the vivaciously blue seas. There could be anything out there in the mist – land or ice, adventure or tragedy or love. But we see none of that. The eternal shroud above our eyes, there is just one sight. One destiny. One emotion. And it is white. White, the colour comprised of all colours. A colour made out of all different combonations lying within. But at day’s end, we just see a singular potential of infinite possibility. A Schrodinger’s cat of some sorts. We don’t know what lies within – we can’t see through the bleak mystery. But when we see through its shroud, all that becomes differentiated from all that could’ve been. Let’s hope that, when the fog lifts tomorrow, reality is the majestic Greenlandic fjords
Sofia Finley – Toronto, ON, Canada
The expedition so far has been pretty crazy. We have been on the Ocean Endeavour for six or so days and this is the first day I had enough free time to blog! Right now we are crossing the Davis Strait to Greenland and I’ve been told that we should arrive there sometime tomorrow morning. Not a lot has happend today, but the previous few days have been packed, starting from our first morning on board. Our first landing in the Torngats Mountains National Park is what I think has been the most exciting part of our trip so far. Many people were very seasick and we were all overjoyed to be getting back on solid ground. Aside from the seasickness factor, the view from the ship was unbelievable and I couldn’t wait to hop on a zodiac. The most surprising thing when we landed was stepping onto the plant covered ground… and sinking in a few inches! The plants which I thought were grass and weeds of some sort were actually shrubs which grow close to the ground. This certainly put a bounce in everyone’s steps during the hike. We hiked to a beautiful waterfall and spent time there, just taking in the view. When we went back down, we piled into the zodiacs and made our way towards the bottom of the waterfall. We went as close as possible; if we had gone any closer we would have dipped into the foam surrounding the base. I took an unbelievable amount of photos and videos, but when I was looking through them I was kind of dissapointed. The photos themselves were beautiful, but I just know that when I show them to people, they will never feel the same way I did while I was actually there.
During our first day in the Torngats,I also participated in a botany workshop. I collected all sorts of plants including Arctic Birch, blueberry plants and Labrador Tea. Today I spent my second botany workshop pasting and labeling them on to some very official looking plant paper.
One other workshop which I have really enjoyed participating in was a sewing workshop. I made an owl out of seal skin, and now there is another group making polar bear headbands, also out of seal skin. It’s pretty ironic. For reference, my owl turned out looking like that crazed loon from Finding Dory.
I would say that once you get past the seasickness, this expedition has been amazing. Our hotel manager has been giving us great food and the beds are super comfortable. Everyone on this trip is very knowlegable in there own way and I feel like all you have to do to learn something new is sit down to dinner and listen.