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2018 Arctic Expedition: Day 6

This morning, we woke up to a horizon decorated with icebergs of all different shapes and sizes. Our plan for the day was to visit Ilulissat and the Jakobshavn glacier, but unfortunately the beautiful ice between us and the shore was too dense. Dense ice meant that we weren’t going to be able to sail the ship through, so we moved on to plan B.

(c) Robert Kautuk/SOI Foundation

We spent the morning in two groups – the first out on the water, cruising slowly through the ice, spotting seals and humpbacks from the ship and from the zodiacs. While the first group was in boats, the other half of the team was inside taking in climate scientist Maureen Raymo’s Intro to Climate Change talk. After the two halves switched, the second ship group heard from performing artist and TV host Vivi Sørensen, and Mira Kleist, Special advisor on Arctic Affairs to the Government of Greenland. Sørensen and Kleist discussed Greenland’s history and present.

(c) Robert Kautuk/SOI Foundation

A highlight of the journey so far has been the opportunity to see, touch and taste icebergs! Scooping ice out of the water, watching icebergs move, change, and roll over, listening to the sounds of the crackle and rumble of ice breaking- we are in awe! As one student has noted, “it [is] like floating through a surreal dreamland.”

Along with the privilege of experiencing icebergs up close and personal, participants are also benefiting from the unique group knowledge on board each zodiac. The diverse life experience between participants mixed with expertise provided by the zodiac driver means that groups engage in a wide range of discussion. One boat might be identifying whales, while another group will be engaging in “citizen science” by taking in water data like salinity and turbidity.

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

(c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

Zodiac excursions can also be opportunities to practice mindfulness. In educator Kelsey Catherine Schmitz’ boat, today’s learning extended beyond traditional science. The group was asked to put down their cameras, the motor was turned off, and they took a moment to listen to the gurgling water and shifting ice. Tuning in to one’s surroundings can be grounding.

Although students, staff, and drivers alike always want to stay out on the water, eventually it comes time to eat. After lunch, forester and Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, Valerie Courtois, held an engaging workshop on indigenous perspectives related to conservation. There was also time for students to try drum dancing with SOI Alumni Program Coordinator Becky Okatsiak. For some of SOI’s Northern students, drum dancing for the first time was a gratifying and validating experience. Participants learned the power of feeling connected to one’s culture, with some students commenting that the workshop was the first moment on the trip when they really felt like themselves.

All sorts of personal development is happening on expedition, and workshop spaces are often the sites of people realizing their passions.  After participating in a science lab, student Maggie Tooktoo exclaimed “I love science and I want to be a scientist!”. This excitement was echoed by Kativik Ilisarniliriniq Teacher Trainee Tuami Pirti, who was awed by the experience of looking into a microscope for the first time.

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

As the ship sailed towards Qeqertarsuaq, staff led students in more workshops. Biologist Gary Donaldson and marine mammal scientist Enoo Sudlovenick facilitated wildlife surveying from the deck of the boat, and educator Ty McNea led an Art and Science workshop. Meanwhile, Angela Nuliayok Rudolph taught students how to make qulliqs,  an Inuit lamp used for light and heat and geologist Glenn Poirier explored rocks. Lastly, scientists Eric Mattson and Shari Fox led a workshop on climate change.

Eventually, the colourful houses of Qeqertarsuaq came into view as the boat sailed around the bend of the harbour. Although it took some time to prepare zodiacs for landing, participants lined up early, eager to engage with the community. Qeqertarsuaq welcomed SOI warmly and the expedition team came to life. Soon, everyone was singing, cheering and heckling as soccer was played on what might be the most beautiful sports field in the world.

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

Later, a performance by Twin Flames brought residents and expedition participants together through the universal language of song and dance. With a sea of icebergs as their backdrop, Syra Qinuajuak also throat sang with fellow educator Eva Sandra Kasudluak.

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

By the time we had to leave, community members and students were clinging to each other and exchanging Facebook names. “One of the best days of my life” remarked student Ocean Pottle- Shiwak.  “I think I’m leaving a piece of my heart here”.

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

 

Student/Staff Blogs:

Ally Zhao

Vaughan, ON, Canada

Yesterday we stepped on an uninhabited part of Itilleq Fjord. The entire population of the Fjord was around 112 people, and very few outsiders have ever laid foot on it. That meant that the island was very connected to nature and wildlife, and that was what I first noted going off the zodiac. I could see the kelp forests growing underneath the boat, and the oceon was transparent. The fjord smelled fresh, with a tint of salt in the air. When we got to the fjord, we had around thirty minutes to go explore by ourselves which was very cool. I decided to hike up a rocky outskirt in the fjord. The entire fjord was covered in a thick blanket of plants that made every step you take feel like stepping on memory foam. It felt cool seeing my foot sink into the thick blanket of plants, and for the plants to bounce up again after every step. There were also dozens – if not hundreds of small freshwater ponds dotting the island. Each pond had a mini ecosystem which I really enjoyed taking a closer look at. Even though the water tempurature was only five degrees celsius, there were many plants and small fish/zooplankton living inside. The ponds were so clear that looking at nature inside it was like looking inside a glass bowl filled with all sorts of plants and animals. There were also small streams flowing from the ponds to the ocean, some of the streams were inside the moss! The sound  of the island was also very magical, the only thing I could hear was the soft breeze, the gentle rythmic clash of waves, and the sound of the plants waving in the breeze. I was sad to have to leave such a beautiful island, but I definitely left a piece of my heart in it!

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

 

Gaba Lynge

Sisimiut, QEQQATA, Greenland

YOYOOOOThisisGaba whatsup..

This is my Blog!

Today was pretty fun, I woke up at 7 am, as did my roommate Ethan. We went into Qeqertarsuaq, and played soccer/football against the people from Qeqertarsuaq. I met one of my old friends from Sisimiut (he moved to Qeqertarsuaq) so that was fun. And I really didn’t know that there was artifical grass on the soccer field. It was sooo weird…

After all that I went hiking with Danielle. It was pretty fun because I mostly hike on my own time, and Danielle never hikes. We took great pictures of the icebergs around the town; they are so beatiful. I took approximately 120 pictures today, which is good I think. There was a concert in the town too; the Twin flames were rocking it! I really like their music!

Then, three hours later we went back to the zodiacs and sailed back to the Ocean Endeavour.

We had a nice meal, and now I’m in the blogging room, writing this blog.

It was a perfect day. Gaba Out!!

 

Julianne Jager

Stittsville, ON, Canada

L’Arctique est magnifique, tout comme les personnes de l’équipe Students On ice! Chaque membre du personnnel à apporté ses connaissances et son équipement afin de nous introduire à leurs domaines et interêts. Par example, lorsque j’ai suivi un des ses ateliers, Glenn Poirier nous a expliqué les différents moyens et caractéristiques avec lesquelles nous pouvons identifier des minéraux. À l’aide d’une collection de roches, provenant du Musée Canadien de la Nature, nous avons pu profiter de cette information en essaiyant certaines de ces techniques. Genevieve Cote m’a enseigné les stratégies nécessaires pour faire de la course avec des “paddleboard”. Une spécialiste en botanie, Jennifer Doubt, du Musée Canadien de la Nature m’a montré comment presser et sécher des plantes et lichens. L’intelligence, le talent et la créativité qui m’entoure est incroyable!

Ce matin, nous étions supposé visiter Ilullisat, l’une des communautés  sur notre itinéraire. Par contre, le passage de notre vaisseau fut barré par de la glace. Tout de même, l’une des premières choses que j’ai appris lors de l’expédition c’était savoir être flexible. Après une sortie en zodiak autour des icebergs (où nous avons vu une baleine que nous avons rapidement baptisé Betty), ils ont annoncés que nous irons à un différent village.

Nous sommes récement revenu de cette petite communauté (Qeqertarsuaq), où une joute de soccer entre l’équipe du Groenland et celle de SOI à eu lieu. Sans réelment le savoir, c’était l’endroit que j’attendais de voir depuis le début de l’expédition. D’un bord il y avait les icebergs et la plage, puis de l’autre, il y avait une série de montagnes impressionantes couvertes d’un tapis de plantes basses et d’un sol parfois spongieux, parfois rocailleux. Il est imposssible de adéquatement expliquer la sensation d’émerveillement que j’ai rensenti, face à une beauté tellement pure et naturel.

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

 

Louis-Philippe St-Arnaud

Ottawa, ON, Canada

14h26

Ilullissat, Groenland

Salut tout le monde! En me levant, j’ai été acceuilli par un spectacle incroyable. Des icebergs! Nous nous trouvons présentement dans “l’usine à icebergs” du Groenland. Tout près d’ici, il y a un fjord, au fond duquel se trouve un glacier. Il se casse et produit des tonnes d’icebergs, qui sortent du fjord vers la mer ouverte. Il y a tellement de petits morceaux de glace partout, et certains dégagent même une lueur bleutée absolument superbe.

C’est parfait que l’on voie tous ces icebergs, parce que ça aborde le thème du changement climatique. Ce matin, on a reçu une présentation de Maureen, une chercheuse dans ce domaine. J’ai été touché par les graphiques et animations qu’elle nous a montrés. L’Arctique est vraiment dans les endroits les plus affectés, oû la température est beaucoup plus élevée que la moyenne du siècle.

Par la suite, nous sommes partis faire un tour en zodiac, pour observer les icebergs de tout près. Voici comment on se sent, en Arctique. Imagines-toi sur un zodiac en train de filer sur l’eau à tout vitesse, faisant des vagues, les doigts gelés, avec le vent de l’Arctique qui te caresse la figure. Devant toi, de merveilleuses sculuptures glacées, les icebergs, s’élèvent. Leur extérieur est lisse mais bosselé. Créés par l’artiste qu’est mère nature, certains ressemblent à des pingouins, d’autres à des canards jaunes en plastique. De petits oiseaux,  qui ressemblent à des mouettes (“Northen fulmars”) volent gracieusement, planant tout près des vagues de l’océan. Les vagues du zodiac foncent sur de plus petits morceaux de glace, détachées de icebergs. Plus loin, d’autres icebergs, et la mer à perte de vue. Tes cheveux volent dans le vent.

C’est ça, être en Arctique. Mais si le climat continue de se réchauffer, il se peut que cette richesse disparaisse. Les icebergs fonderont, la toundra sera remplacée. Ce sera comme au sud, des arbres, de l’herbe, quelques fleurs. Toute nature est belle, mais aucune n’est aussi touchante que celle qui se trouve dans les conditions les plus inattendues.

Pour chacun d’entre vous qui me lisent en ce moment, je vous  donne une mission. Vous devez sauver les icebergs! Utilisez la méthode BEV, proposée par Maurenn. Cela signifie “Buy, Educate,Vote”. Tout d’abord, achetez les produits écoresponsables. Achetez moins de viande, et optez pour des transports écoresponsables (autobus, vélo, marche, train léger). Consommez-moins, parce que, croyez-moi, TOUT ce qu’on fait a un impact. Je parle à tellement de gens intéressants, et je vois que tous les produits qu’on consomme viennent d’en quelque part, souvent un endroit pas très plaisant. Ensuite, éduquez vous sur le succès que certains ont avec le changement climatique. La ville de Texas city, par exemple, a opté pour de l’électricité 100% renouvelalbe. Du CO2 a été transformé en roche en Islande, donnant de l’espoir pour en retirer le l’atmosphère. Des enfants poursuivent le gouvernement américain en justice pour leur droit d’avoir un système climatique stable. Tant de choses peuvent vous inspirer que ce problème n’est pas insurmontable, et que nous pouvons passer à l’action pour le résoudre. Finalement, votez pour le gouvernement éco-responsable (si vous avez 18 ans ou plus), qui sait que l’économie et l’environnement sont des sujets importants. Si tous le jeunes au monde votaient, le gouvernement serait très différent.

Je vous laisse sur cette approche de Maureen. Tous unis contre le changement climatique!

-Louis-Philippe

 

Mikayla Boule

Ottawa, ON, Canada

I have had grand plans for travel for a very long time, but I honestly never thought that I would be writing from Disco Bay, Greenland. Today’s visit was supposed to bring us to the town of Ilulisat (Greenlandic for “icebergs”, and home to a UNESCO World Heritage site), but we were unable to reach it due to the literal sea of icebergs eminating from it’s legendary glacier and fjord. If anything, it emphasized the area’s moniker -“the iceberg factory of the world”, indeed. Thanks to the Ocean Endeavour’s fantastic crew and the planning magic of the SOI staff, even informing us of changing plans takes an educational turn. We have been shown ice charts in briefings and told about some of the logistics that make an expedition of this scale run smoothly. For instance, two of our Greenlandic participants, Mira and Vivi were on the bridge phone for ages today coordinating an unexpected shore-landing to the town of Qeqertarsuaq (“big island” and roughly pronounced qe-qe-taess-suaq). Wow, what a place. SOI had visited before, and we were fortunate that they were willing to have us back. Serrindipitously, a celebration was taking place for their longest day of the year, and so the Twin Flames booked their first gig in Kalaallit Nunaat! The mountains were something else entirely, and the sound of the wind and crying qimmit and the creaking of icebergs and fishing boats in the harbour took it to a whole other level of indescribability. That seems to be happening a lot this trip. In fact, I choked when Mira announced on board that the local soccer team would be willing to play a game with us! When in Greenland, right? Let me tell you, I do not think that even playing in a World Cup final would surpass the experience of playing on this pitch. Located between the face of a mountain and an iceberg-packed section of the Arctic ocean, it is unlike anything I could have dreamed. With wind-whipped faces and lips cracked from grinning, we got absolutely wrecked and had a fabulous time. It’s been several years since I have played a game of soccer, and while I think this may have been my worst performance ever, it is probably the one game I will remember for the rest of my life. At one point, the Greenlanders were up by so many goals the defensemen started sitting down until we got within spitting distance of the net!

Even if this day hadn’t turned out to be one for the books, it’s hard to be disappointed for more than a nanosecond here, as our time spent in Kalaallit Nunaat has been nothing short of breathtaking. Our first evening spent sailing down Kangerlussuaq’s (“big fjord”) Sonderstrom fjord, was mostly about taking in the scenery when we were anchored and settling in. Shortly before heading to bed I decided to check out the view on deck one last time, and ended up staying until long after the clock turned over for the next day. Amidst the mist-covered peaks that line the fjord, an icecap was perched high above our ship. As a result of the glacial drainage and silt, the water nearby had turned a colour that was brown and grey all at once. There was actually a distinct line where the bright blue and brown waters met, a scene framed perfectly within the fjord. Just yesterday, I used this mental image to start print making with Jolly in our isuma (“meaning”/”to make meaning”) sessions. In the words of Sarah, “never has anyone been more aptly named”. Jolly is a phenomenal artist, expert dance instructor (as evidenced by the impromptu session amid this morning’s icebergs), and perfectly capable of rocking a mouth-harp in front of a massive crowd. Meeting so many open and amazing people has been one of the most astonishing things about this expedition. I am so grateful to be surrounded by knowledge and creativity from all corners of the globe.

I am keeping this blog short, because there’s always something happening aboard or outside the ship. Everything from looking at the latest rock sample to discussing the protection of Indigenous lands and waters, and much more.  Rather than blogging, I have been focusing on trying to keep up my journal, something I have never successfully done. I am determined to see it through this time, and what better light source to write by then the midnight sun? While it has been light for 24 hours, today did mark the first time the clouds and rain cleared. Not that the weather has stopped us! If anything, the area is all the more atmospheric and I was even more excited to get outside. Paddling a quajaq in the world’s largest fjord is magnificent no matter the weather, I can assure you.

Until next time!

Mikayla

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

 

Polina Konstantinova

St. John’s, NL, Canada

Good evening from the Ocean Endeavour! Today was a fantastic day ,we saw the sun come out and the clouds lift for the first time since we were in Ottawa. We were scheduled to land in Ilullissat this morning, but the ice from the glacier was so dense that we were not able to visit the town. We changed plans and went with the flow, which meant a zodiac cruise in the morning around the massive icebergs and smaller ice pieces in the water. We changed our course for Disko Island, did some onboard workshops along the way. Disko Island made me feel homesick, because the cloud-capped mountains and valleys reminded me of Gros Morne National Park in my home province, and the small town and colourful houses on the shore looked exactly like the ones I see every day in St.Johns. I had the amazing opportunity of going kayaking around the shore and going up to a small iceberg caught in the harbour. This unplanned visit made my expedition to the Arctic so much more memorable and was one of my favourite days so far.

 

Rachel Vallender

Conservation Specialist

I have had the privilege of traveling to the Arctic multiple times, always in the context of work and meetings. I’ve never felt as though I had enough time to see everything there was to see, and experience everything there was to experience during those brief exposures to the North. We have been at sea, in Greenland, for a mere three days . I have witnessed the Southern students, many of whom have never been to this region of the world before, experience the sights and sounds for the first time, and the Northern students return to their homeland, their comfort in, and familiarity with, this environment being evident.

The Arctic is no doubt a special place, with the diversity of species (plants, fish, birds, mammals), but also with a long and complicated history between the people who call this place home and those of us who are visitors. My daily work focuses on the conservation of species at risk, and as someone with a science background, I inherently approach that work in a particular and rigid fashion. Traveling to the North always reminds me that species conservation is complicated and multi-faceted, and I’m humbled by that reminder. Western science teaches us a lot,  but it does not teach us everything. When you step onto the tundra, the feeling of history is profound, more so – in my opinion – than in more Southern environments where the footprint of humankind is deeper and more landscape-altering.

While teaching students, having conservations with Inuit of all ages (both Canadian and Greenlandic), and exploring an environment that is truly unique, I’m learning to slow down. I admit to being apprehensive about leaving the world of constant connection, but there’s a peacefulness in the disconnectedness of our time on expedition. I’m taking the opportunity to see the sights and experience all that the North has to offer, together with people to whom this land belongs, and visitors like myself. The worries of everyday life feel as though they’re fading into the background – the thoughts and concerns that occupied my mind only a few days ago slowly slipping away and being replaced with the quietness that comes from standing on the bow of a ship and watching sunlight glint off icebergs and Northern Fulmars glide gracefully around us.

It’s terribly cliche to say that I feel more like a ‘complete’ Canadian, learning about the life in an environment that covers such a large area of our country but that few Southerners have the chance to experience, comprehend, or appreciate, yet learning the history of this place is important. Learning the truth and reconciling with the people to whom this land belongs is vitally important. The privilege and good fortune I feel to be on this expedition is different from the feelings I had when previously in the Arctic and I think that’s because of the people. We are learning from each other all the time – through casual conversations over dinner, or formally during lectures and workshops. And it’s only day three. Some 12 years ago I ended my dissertation acknowledgement with the following line, and I believe it to this day: the best is yet to come.

(c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

 

Shoneth Leadbetter

High School Teacher

On our first day in Greenland,  while cruising around a fiord in a zodiac along the coast, a student exclaimed, “how are New York City and this place on the same planet?!” Otherwordly. Greenland has been unlike any other place I have been on earth. When I woke that morning from my first sleep on board (which also happened to be the first time I ever spent a night on the water), I opened the window and actually squealed aloud. Perfectly framed in the window of my shared cabin was a glacier creeping down an impressive mountain side. I am by no stretch a morning person. On this occasion, however, I was dressed and out the door within mere seconds, camera gear in hand. This was just the beginning of what was to be a once-in-a-lifetime day.

After a buffet breakfast in our luxourious dining hall, we geared up for the cold and rain and loaded into zodiacs for the first of many zoadiac cruises. Throughout the course of this journey, we will be in zodiacs for both cruises (where we don’t go to shore) and landings. This particular cruise brought us down the Itilleq Fjord (we had just come out of the Sonderstrom Fjord, the longest fjord in the world) to a cliffside that was home to a large bird colony. After watching them for a bit, we headed off to what is certainly one of the most surreal experiences I’m sure I will ever have.

Within a few hundred meters of the bird colony, we got up close and personal with our first icebergs of the trip! These icebergs were small compared to those we would see later in days to come which allowed for the unique opportunity to get close and touch them without the danger of them flipping. In addition to touching them and getting an upclose impression of their unique structures and colours, we pulled little pieces from the water to taste. That’s right; we ate/drank/licked honest-to-goodness pieces of iceberg which came straight from the freshwater glacier we were about to admire.

The glacier itself seemed to know we were there. It came down to the ocean and we parked ourselves about 500m away. A loud cracking noise caught our attention and our zodiac driver informed us that the glacier was “calving”, a process in which chunks of a glacier break off. As it would be too late for us to see this happening by the time we heard it (which led, to my delight, to a conversation, and rough calculation, about the difference between the speed of sound and the speed of light), we had to keep our eyes peeled. We were not disappointed. Over and over again the glacier shed chunks of ice into the sea which not only caused two loud booms (first from cracking off the glacier and then from hitting the water) but often caused an impressive wave, giving hints to the size of the fallen pieces. We sat there ohhing and ahhing aloud for what I would suspect was about half an hour.

Drenched (I was too awestruck to even notice the rain), we returned to the ship and greeted the next crowd with the enthusiasm and cheer of kids at a carnival. The experience amongst the ice was certainly a bar-setting way to start off this incredible expedition and words cannot truly capture the impression it left on us.

Our afternoon was spent doing workshops led by many of the talented staff on board. I had the opportunity to join Craig from the Marine Institute in St. John’s, Newfoundland for a session on underwater ROVs. Craig has worked with ROVs used in the MATE ROV program and I was pleased to be able to gain some tips and tricks from him to take back to my own MATE ROV team as well as to help the students build their own ROVs that they will be able to test in the ship’s pool later in the program.

The high of the morning’s zodiac cruise did not fade with the day. The adreneline was still pumping as we sat down to our first formal a la carte evening meal and the conversations amongst students and staff alike were animated with everyone’s unique observations.

Day two brought us our first shore landing! Taking zodiacs from ship to shore, we had a few hours to explore the land along Itilleq Fjord. Following different experts, students and staff had the opportunity to learn about the geology, biology, history and more about the land we were on. Uncovered skulls, antlers and other animal reminants brought us a narritive to help guide the discussions. The highlight of this landing for me personally, besides simply stepping foot on Greenlandic soil for the first time, was when a group that went fishing came back to the shore. Several staff from the Canadian arctic regions stepped up to demonstrate how to clean and fillet the fish right there on the shore! Many were able to sample the fresh raw catch which mostly comprised of atlantic cod and arctic char. There was also much hype around a wolf fish that was biting the rubber boots of those in the boat after it was caught and once on shore, it was released and hung around giving everyone a chance to check it out. The fish that was not consumed on shore was brought back to the ship for an upcoming meal!

The cruise was followed by a talk on climate change from my Ottawa roommate, Maureen, who just so happens to be a world class climate scientist. By world class, I mean she has a curve named after her so famous that she met a women once who had the curve TATTOOED ON HER ARM! How humbling.

The afternoon was filled with art-based workshops. I had the honor of watching Jolly, a print maker from Nunavut, do a stencil making demonstration, Annie, a sewer/beader/emroiderer also from Nunavut, show some students how to make fur headbands and award winning recording artists, The Twin Flames, conduct a songwriting workshop. Through each of these workshops as well as others that involved painting, drawing and journaling, students and staff alike had an opportunity to process what we have been experiencing through their creative side. The day was capped with a high energy performace from The Twin Flames. We are truly blessed to have such talented musicians on board!

***

Today is shaping up to be another one for the record books. We woke to find the ship surrounded by icebergs! It looks like we have officially entered ‘iceburg fijord.’ I can’t imagine ever becoming unimpressed by these somewhat mystical sculptures. The ones we are starting to encounter dwarf our otherwise impressively large ship.

While sitting to write this blog, I was inturrupted by an announcement informing us of a humpback whale within sight. I just returned from watching the whale slap his fin over and over and over on the water as if waving to us with whole-hearted enthusiasm.

The sun is coming out. The ice is glistening. Greenland is calling.

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

 

Tara Doherty

Burlington, ON, Canada

Today was a pretty perfect day. This morning, we arrived in Illusiat and discovered that there was a stream of thick ice between us and the town. During our morning breifing, we saw a humpback whale! It was slapping it’s fin against the water, and it seemed as though it was waving at us. As we waited to see if we could cross it, we had a climate change presentation, and went on zodiac excursions through the ice. It was gorgeous. The water was so calm that we could see reflections of the icebergs. The shifting light also created an incredible moasic of colours. After we came back, it was decided that the ice was too thick to cross. So we turned to plan C and went to Qeqertarsuaq, a small island town furthur up the coast. On our way there, we had workshops, and I went to one about ice and glaciers. We also had some free time, where I explored the ship with Madison, Gaba and Ethan. We played around and saw another humpback whale! As it turns out, plan C was an incredible accident. Qeqertarsuaq had a music festival and challenged us to a soccer game. When we arrived, I went to play soccer. We played 11v11, with MANY subs, on what I can only describ as the nicest soccer field in the word. To one side, there were gorgeous mountains, to the other, an iceberg filled ocean. It truly was incredible. We played 2 30min halves, and the Greenlandic team was amazing. They truly outplayed us but we had so much fun. We would cheer whenever we actually managed to get the ball off of them. I even scored the first goal against them! In the end, it was 3-6, which was pretty lucky for us. After the game, the Twin Flames had a small concert, as there was a break in their music festival. Everyone was enjoying themselves and the energy was amazing. I cannot describe the feeling of happiness from today. Overall it was absolutely a day I will never forget.

 

Zara Salman

Richmond Hill, ON, Canada

I’m writing from Disko Bay in Greenland! The first week of Students on Ice is coming to an end, and what an exciting week it was. From the amazing start in Ottawa, to the trek to Kangerlussuaq in Greenland, and now on a boat sailing through the Arctic Circle, the week has been incredible. It is so strange to think that this time last week I was packing my bags to come here – that was only seven days ago! So much has happened, and I feel like a new person for it.

I have been learning so much from the students, staff, and places I have visited with Students on Ice. Vivi exposed me to Greenlandic culture and history, Mo taught me the science behind climate change and what we can do to adapt to it, Kangerlussuaq and Scott taught me how to fish, the Eternal fjord showed me the magnificence of glaciers, Eric passed on his passion for ice, and Shazia taught me how to be more open. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

I have made so many new friends, of all ages and walks of life, here on Students on Ice. This expedition has provided me with a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from everything and everyone around me, and to be part of a community of like-minded go-getters. I am so grateful that I am able to be here. I have to admit, I was so nervous in the beginning, but once I started meeting everyone those nerves disappeared. My time here has been great! While I have been having some struggles (I can’t get along with everyone, you know), and have been feeling a bit home sick (hi Mummy and Baba), I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Love,

Zara Salman

(c) Robert Kautuk/SOI Foundation

 

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