Photos: Robert Kautuk, Natta Summerky
As the last full day of pre-ship activities, our 2nd day of programming gave participants a sense of the physical activity and educational exploration that will make up their Arctic experience.
The morning began with a trip to the University of Ottawa, where participants rotated between education stations. Stations focused on the 2018 Arctic Expedition’s 4 pillars of learning: Climate Change, Truth & Reconciliation, Sustainable Development Goals, and Ocean Literacy & Conservation.
After a picnic lunch, students then split into 2 groups. The first travelled half an hour outside of Ottawa to Camp Fortune Ski Hill and Aerial Park. There, they completed a ropes course high in the air (with helmets and harnesses of course!). After climbing across ladders and swinging through the trees, participants left with a renewed sense of adventure.
The second group visited the Canadian Museum of History, where they had the chance to experience SOI’s Canada C3 documentary. The 45 minute video provides a visual record of the Foundation’s epic journey organized in conjunction with Canada 150. Apart from being a celebration of the stunning landscapes and vibrant communities that make up Canada, the documentary also provides an entry point into questions of identity, history, culture, and the environment.
Halfway through the afternoon, the 2 groups switched activities to ensure everyone spent time indoors and outside. The day ended with the second official ship briefing, which further outlined some of the specifics of life onboard the MS Ocean Endeavour. By 10pm, students were back in their rooms at Carleton University with hopefully enough time to squeeze in some journal writing before getting a good night’s sleep.
Edmonton, AB, Canada
The first expedition day was certainly packed full of activities. I arrived from Edmonton, in Ottawa exhausted and a little later than the other students. I was taken straight from the Ottawa airport to the National Museum of Nature and thrown right into the mix. With no name tag and no time.
We first toured the Prehistoric section, learning new things about dinosaurs, reptiles, and a few mammals. A highlight was definitly the dinosaur named after Edmonton! Next, we toured the mammal section of the museum, learning facts about polar bears, bison, and mountain goats. After we started to explore the geology section where we met Glenn, one of the staff members of the SOI team. An extremely passionate geologist that I am very excited to talk with throughout the expeditoin. We explored the different types of rock, ignius, metamorphic, and sedimentary.
After an informative guided tour of most of the museum, we were given the opportunity to explore the rest of the exibits on our own. I took this chance to take out my camera to practice some photography. I learned some new settings while taking some pictures of the beautiful museum building. After supper, we all met together where we had our first briefing, learning what to expect in the days to come.
As soon as it was over we met in our pod groups for the first time. My pod name is “Imaq” which means water. When assembled in our pods, we played some icebreaker games, and learned more about the different members of the pod. One of the best parts of the days was getting to know everyone; we all come from different places and have varying outlooks on life and why we are on the expedition. Later that evening, we watched performances from Vivi, a Greenlandic drum dancer, and The Twin Flames.
The evening was coming to a close and we headed to the Carleton dorms for a good night’s sleep. When we got there, I received my vest, hat, room key, etc… and I went off to bed. It was a busy day and I fell asleep the moment I touched the pillow. It was daunting day, but It all worked out in the end. I made new friends, explored new topics, and learned new things.
Day In Ottawa
Our full day in Ottawa started with an early wake up. After a groggy breakfast, we piled onto the busses and sped off to the University of Ottawa campus. We started with a morning briefing as usual where we talked about the four main focuses of Students On Ice: Ocean Literacy, Truth and Reconciliation, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development Goals. Later, we broke off into combined pod groups, to receive introductions from some of the staff members. They were organised into five catagories: Science and Nature, History/Politics/Development, Reconciliation, Isuma, and Health and Wellness.
When the fabulous introductions were finished, we all headed outside where we were divided into two groups. I was in the second group which boarded the busses and headed to the outdoor aerial park. We received a picnic lunch and then got all geared up to go on the obstacles. The moment I stepped foot on the first obstacle it started pouring rain. I stood still for a few moments, when I came to the realisation that I was going to be wet no matter what, and I might as well have some fun in the meantime. Despite being miserable and wet, we all made the best of it. I had a ton of fun and met some great students from all over the world.
When our climing came to an end, we all boarded the busses, but this time we headed to the National Museum of Civilization. We were a little late and missed our original time slot for the viewing of the Canada C3 documentary. We took the oportunity to get back in our pod groups and play some more games helping to get to know everyone even better. After It was finally time for the next showing of the documentary we all lined up for the movie. I absolutely loved the cinematography in the film, and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the inspiring adventure.
It was soon time for dinner and then our evening briefing. We were told the order and timing of all the travel plans for the next day; It was going to be a busy one. I headed straight to bed but with much anticipation for the day of travel to come.