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SOI Arctic Expedition: Day 11

(c) Kim Aubut Demers/SOI Foundation

The morning began with a series of Isuma workshops where students were able to creatively express themselves and continue working on their ongoing artistic projects. With options like songwriting, seal skin sewing, newscasting and more, students are certainly harnessing their amazing talents to create a wide variety of projects.

(c) Kim Aubut Demers/SOI Foundation

The afternoon consisted of zodiac tours to see the bird cliffs. Bird watching is certainly an exciting task when you are surrounded by thousands of different species of them! 200 long-tail ducks, 300 common eiders, 100’s of thick-billed Murres, two ivory gulls, 4 Canada Geese, six Snow Geese, 2 Gyrfalcons, 8 snow buntings, dozens of Northern Fulmars and Black Guillemots, and many more! As the zodiacs drifted around the corner from the bird cliffs we were excited to see a beautiful waterfall with a backdrop of icebergs. When we returned from the zodiac tours, we participated in even more interesting workshops including topics like Inuit History 101, Circumpolar Geopolitics and the Intersectionality of Climate Change.

(c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

Following dinner, it was announced that we are heading to Devon Island, with hopes of going North to Resolute Bay. In the evening there were several beautiful musical performances before bed including Alastair Thorburn-Vitols singing opera and George Woodhouse’s impromptu band consisting of Andrew Bresnhahan and Rose Chisholm. It was the perfect end to another incredible day on the expedition!

Participant Blogs

Chiara Concini, student
Edmonton, Canada 

Hello to everyone reading this! I know this post is coming a day late, my apologies. I’ve been trying to blog every day, which isn’t always possible. Yesterday morning, we got to participate in two panel discussions, one about development in the Arctic, and the other about Inuit conservation initiatives. The latter tied in nicely to our afternoon (more on that later), which was spent in the community of Arctic Bay. When we arrived, there was a huge group of kids waiting to welcome us! We then had some free time to spend around town, and I got to play on the school’s playground with a few of the kids who had welcomed us. We then headed over to the community center to hear an announcement from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Yes, you read that right, I met the Prime Minister yesterday! He announced the creation of a new conservation zone in the area around Arctic Bay. This announcement means a lot to the community, as well as the SOI participants, staff, and other Canadians. I spent the rest of the day on the ship, watching for whales and other marine life from the deck. Today has also been really amazing so far (as always). We spent the morning on the ship, participating in workshops. I used most of that time to start this blog post! After lunch, we headed out on Zodiac cruises around the Bylot Island Bird Sanctuary. I have never seen so many birds in one place. They crowd on the edges of the cliff and lay their eggs in any flat spot they can find. There are also tons of birds flying above the water. Luckily, no one got pooped on. As well, SOI received an email this morning from a reporter with CBC Edmonton who would like to interview me. I’m really happy to be able to share my experience with everyone back home, through both the Edmonton Journal and CBC News. Stay tuned for that article ūüôā I’d also like to update you all on our plan for the next few days. We were scheduled to arrive in Resolute Bay, Nunavut on Tuesday, 6 August and then depart on a flight back to Ottawa. However, according to recent ice charts, there is a lot of thick ice around the Resolute Bay area. If this ice does not dissipate, we will be unable to access Resolute. Unfortunately, walking across the ice to Resolute is not an option. Now some of you may be thinking, “Why not redirect to another airport in the area?”. In the western Arctic area, there are only three places that can land larger planes: Kangerlussuaq (Greenland), Iqaluit (Nunavut), and Resolute Bay (Nunavut). If we decide to try and head to Resolute, we have to head further north. This is a bit of a gamble because if we head north to Resolute, and the ice there does not dissipate, we are hooped. Our other options are to go to Iqualuit, or return to Kangerlussuaq. I will continue to send updates in the next few days. Until then… – C


Danielle Crowley, student
Staten Island, NY, USA

Home home home! Hello I miss you!

Yesterday(Afternoon-evening):

Following lunch, we headed to shore at Arctic Bay for a big ceremony. The Prime Minister of Canada was even there! We walked around for about an hour, I found a few souvenirs and was able to call home on a sliver of reception, and then we were arranged for a group photo and waited for the Prime Minister to arrive. For about an hour different security guards kept saying to move to the left, move to the right, back up, move closer, etc. Finally, the Prime Minister arrived, only an hour or so after we expected, and the picture didn’t happen. It was quite an amusing scenario. The community filtered into the community hall for the celebration first, then the Inuit elders from our ship and a few Inuit students, but there wasn’t  enough room for everyone so the rest of us wandered around for a little while and then headed back to the ship. At the briefing that night there were a few performances, including Shirley, Savannah and Jen performing the annual lost and found fashion show so that people would reclaim their items. Someone is still blind, however, because no one claimed the missing prescription glasses.

Today(morning):

My roommate and I both slept through wakeup call this morning. Don’t ask me how I have no idea. Luckily, I woke up right on time for breakfast and was able to wake my roommate up as well so we could get good eats. Then, we had two very touching personal presentations in the morning briefings and then a jumble of Isuma workshop options. Today I chose the songwriting workshop with Ian and George. We got a prompt to work on by ourselves, and a tune to work on as a community to make one big song, which is turning out great. I wrote a few verses and a few other people did as well. It’s crazy how different lyrics and melodies could come out of one chord progression.

I have to go it is lunchtime whoop whoop! I will write more about today’s next adventure, Cape Graham Moore, Bylot Island Bird Sanctuary, tomorrow during power hour. I love and miss you all so so much. 419 I love you. Talk to you soon!


Korissa Kapashesit, student
Moosonee, ON, Canada

I haven’t blogged yet during this trip and it’s been a week and a bit. So one of my favourite parts so far on the expedition was when we had a barbecue outside on the deck of the ship and the crew was playing music while we ate. During the supper, it turned into a dance party, a big group of us were dancing to the music, it was so fun!!!! We danced for like an hour and a bit, then it was time to go back to the ship for another briefing, we were all sad but glad we had a great time together. Yesterday, we were in Arctic Bay and I took a selfie with Justin Trudeau. I looked at the photo and I started laughing because taking a picture with the Prime Minister of Canada is so random. When we were starting to go back to the ship, I called my mom and dad and when I heard my dad’s voice, I started to cry and I couldn’t even say hi but I had a great talk with them, it was nice to hear their voices again. But there’s only a few days left of the expedition and I’m going to make the most out of it. 


Olivier Ménard, student
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Lorsque je viens m’installer dans la salle meubl√©e pour cet effet, j’ai toujours l’impression de passer plus de temps √† choisir l’information que je voudrais partager, qu’√† r√©diger mon entr√©e de blog. √Ä ma d√©fense, il est tr√®s difficile de trancher lorsque les discussions, les rencontres, les paysages et les nouvelles exp√©riences feraient toutes des histoires merveilleuses. Pour ceux qui n’√©taient pas au courant, hier √©tait la journ√©e innaugurale de Tallurutiup Imanga, un territoire de conservation d’habitats marins situ√© √† l’ouest du Davis Strait, cr√©√© cette ann√©e par le gouvernement du Canada en vue d’atteindre son objectif d’avoir 10% de sa surface marine de prot√©g√©e par 2020. Si je me souviens bien, nous avons appris hier que la mise en place de ce projet, avec une autre pr√©vue, signifie que nous avons maintenant atteint la barre des 14%, exc√©dant le but √©tabli pour le d√©but de l’an prochain. Par contre, m√™me si cela est encourageant, selon les experts qui se trouvent √† bord, avoir 10% des habitats marins et 17% des habitats terrestres de prot√©g√©s n’est vraiment assez pour contrer le d√©clin rapide de la biodiversit√© sur notre plan√®te. Selon plusieurs, il faudrait que 40-70% des territoires marins et terrestres d√©tiennent ce status afin de r√©ellement avoir un impact positif envers la conservation de la biodiversit√©.  En effet, m√™me si des scientifiques de partout √† travers le monde d√©couvrent des milliers de nouvelles esp√®ces annuellement, il y en encore plus qui disparaissent sans que nous le sachions. Je trouve cela vraiment aberrant, surtout lorsque je vois la destruction qui se produit autour de chez moi, √† Ottawa, pour faire place √† de nouveaux d√©veloppements. 

Pour finir sur une note plus joyeuse, j’aimerais saluer le travail du Gouvernement du Canada, qui malgr√© un pass√© difficile avec les peuples autochtones du pays, viens d’ouvrir la porte √† un partenariat durable entre les deux partis gr√Ęce √† la naissance de Tallurutiup Imanga. Hier, il y a eu plusieurs pr√©sentations donn√©es sur le bateau √† ce sujet et lorsque les inuits pr√©sents parlaient au sujet de ce projet, l’√©motion √©tait vraiment palpable. Cette ouverture au dialogue est d’une grande importance pour eux, mais selon moi, elle l’est tout autant sinon plus pour nous. Car si l’on veut sauver cette plan√®te, le savoir ancestrale de ces peuples ne sera pas de trop.


Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, staff
S√°pmi

Odne min ekspediŇ°uvnna jońĎiheaddji Geoff Green mearridii, ahte mii ńćuovvut min √°lgo√°lgosaŇ° pl√°na ja geahńćńćalit beassat Resolute Bay-nammasaŇ° b√°ik√°i, gos mii de girdit Ottawai. Gitta otn√°Ňĺii jiekŇčagovat leat ńć√°jehan, ahte Resolute Bay jiekŇčadilli lea dakk√°r, ahte dohko ii beasa min t√°mppain. Ievtt√° satelihttagovain lei goittotge muhtin feaila. Dilli leage mannan buoret guvlui ja mis lea vejolaŇ°vuohta beassat Resolute Bay’ai!

Okta molssaeaktu livńćńće leamaŇ°an borjjastit Iqaluit-nammasaŇ° b√°ik√°i dahje ruovttoluotta Kangerlussuaqii Kalaallit Nunaatii, gos livńćńćiimet gird√°n Ottawai. IeŇ°alddes d√°ppe Lancaster Soundas gos mii leat d√°l livńćńće oanehot m√°tki Kangerlussuaqii go Iqaluitii! 

Mus leamaŇ°an odne olu doaimmat. Mus leamaŇ°an olles beaivvi d√°b√°laŇ° poddajońĎiheapmi. Dan lassin dollen ovttas ovdalaŇ° CBC-journalista Joanna Awain ońĎasbargob√°ji. (Joanna d√°id√° leat veh√° dego inuihtaid Kaisa Aikio; hui oahpes jietna ja √°madadju inuihtaide mieht√° Kanada!). Oahpaheimmet Joannain journalismma birra ja dan maŇčŇč√° min kursajoavku govvii tv-ońĎas√°Ň°Ň°i. Som√° oaidnit ihttin makk√°r das bońĎii!

Beaivit ledjen vel “girjin” ealli girjer√°djosis, gos olbmot besset h√°leŇ°tit minguin. Mu f√°dd√°n lei luohti, daningo moadde beaivve dass√°i juigen ja muitalin luońĎi birra buohkaide eahketprogr√°mmas, ja olbmot ledje hui beroŇ°tuvvan luońĎis.

Eahketbeaivve finaimet geahńćńćamin loddeb√°vtti, mas orrot 120,000(!) akpa-nammasaŇ° lotti. Dat seamma lottit, maid mielde min podda lea nammaduvvon. Olggosoaidnit dego unna piŇčviinnat. Akpat girdet ja m√°httet maid buokńćalit guokte ńćuohte mehtera.

ńĆuovvovańćńćat h√°lidivńćńćen mannat ńćuovvut muhtun dieńĎ√°bargob√°ji ja oahppat mearaid suodjaleami birra. Mearain fuolaheapmi lea okta Kanada ja EU oktasaŇ° mihttomeriin ja livńćńće miellagiddevaŇ° oahppat lasi mearaid ekologiija birra. Oaidnit leŇ° gearggango, jos galggan ieŇ° jońĎihit muhtun bargob√°ji!

PS. Dihtetgo, ahte inuihtat ńćuojahit geasanasa ja d√°nsot square dance -nammasaŇ° d√°nssa? In munge. Inuihtat ohppe Ň°uoŇčaid ja d√°nsuma skotl√°nddalaŇ° f√°ll√°bivdiin ja g√°vpeolbmuin, geat bohte inuihtaid guovlluide, ja dain bohte oassi inuihtaid √°rbevieru. Som√°! D√°ppe t√°mppas lea okta inuihtamusihkar David Serkoak geas lea mielde uhca guovtter√°ńĎat geasanas. Son lea m√°Ňčgii ńćuojahan dainna ja mii leat d√°nson. Mun lean maidd√°i ńćuojahan veh√° dainna geasanasain ja geahńćńćalan muitit suopmelaŇ° √°lbmotmusihkkaŇ°uoŇčaid, maid m√°ht√°n ńćuojahit. Som√°!

Today our expedition leader Geoff Green decided that we will follow our original plan and head to Resolute Bay. Up until now the ice charts have shown that the ice conditions in Resolute Bay wouldn’t allow our ship to get there. However, the latest images indicate that it is possible for us to get there. Exciting! The alternatives would have been to sail to Iqaluit or back to Kangerlussuaq in Kalaallit Nunaat. Funnily enough, it would be shorter to Kangerlussuaq, Kalaallit Nunaat from where we are now in Lancaster Sound.

Today I’ve been fairly busy. Besides the usual pod routines, I held a news workshop together with an ex-CBC journalist Joanna Awa, who is apparently really well known amongst the Inuits in Canada! Joanna and I taught about journalism and then our group shot a TV story. I’m excited to see the results tomorrow!

I also acted as a “book” in a human library. My topic was S√°mi traditional vocal music yoik. I was asked to talk about yoik, because the other night I yoiked as part of the evening programme and told a bit about our tradition to everyone onboard. Some people were interested to learn more and could come and talk to me in the human library.

Today we cruised around a bird cliff with 120,000(!) thick-billed murres (akpas in the Inuit language). Akpas are small birds that look like penguins, but fly and can dive up to 200 metres.

Next I’d like to take part in a workshop about marine conservation. Saving our oceans is one of Canada’s and EU’s common priorities and I’d really like to learn more about marine ecology, as oceans and seas are quite a foreign element for me as an inland person. Let’s see whether there will be time, as I will most likely have my own workshops in the coming days!

PS. Did you know that the Inuit play the accordion and dance square dance? Me neither. They learnt the tunes and the dancing from Scottish whalers and traders who came to the Inuitland and they became part of the Inuit music tradition. Fun! We have an Inuit musician David Serkoak with his small two-row accordion here onboard. He’s been playing several times and we’ve been dancing. I have also played the accordion a little bit, trying to remember the Finnish folk music tunes that I know on the two-row accordion. Fun!


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