Thursday, August 26, 2010

This was our home for the extend of the expedition, the Lyubov Orlova (a russian vessel).

This is a dead Muskox, it was the only one most of us had seen (excepting the gunners and zodiac teams who were lucky enough to spot 4 before they took off). This was the first Zodiac landing of the expedition and the island was fog covered and erry.

This is the community centre in Kuujjuaq, where on the first day we spent the after noon being entertained by the local community, held a bbq, and then went on a tour of the community, my group was led by Eva and Larissa.

I figured it was time to start posting some of the pictures from the trip as this is the first opportunity. The above picture was the first day of the Expedition once we had arrived in Kujjuaq Airport via First Year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 15, 2010

Sorry for no journal yesterday, this trip has been so busy. So as a quick re-cap of yesterday we went to Kekerten to an historic whaling community. The morning was spent touring the site and looking at all of the artefacts left behind. There were also graves at the site that had been sprung open over time. The site was “dead calm”, there was no wind and the sun was shining. It was a great time to absorb and reflect on the site and what has been experienced thus far. In leaving Kerkerten we set sail to Pangirtung. We went on a tour of the town including talking with the elders in their sewing hut. We then went to the Hudson Bay Company whaling station and we looked at the art centre where multiple purchases were made. The community then had food and presentations for us, which was a good way to experience the Inuit culture.

So that was yesterday, today was the crazy day. Some of us went on a 25-kilometre hike today to the Arctic Circle. I was in group number four so we were the last to arrive and the last to leave. It was a hike in Auyuittuq National Park. It was an amazing hike. I have no idea how I am still awake but I am. I am currently hurting in the lower leg region but besides that I made it out of there blister free and injury free. It was an amazing feeling making it all the way to the Arctic Circle by foot. All the glaciers and amazing rivers (leaving us very wet but happy) cannot be described, too much for words. I really wished my friends and family could have experienced the feeling I did today.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 13, 2010

Hi Followers,

Today was an amazing day. It started with a visit to Monumental Island, which offered so much visual stimulus. The groups were given zodiac tours of the island and of icebergs around the island. Upon touring the island the Bowhead group saw a total of seven polar bear (one mother with two cubs, and the rest were lone males). I was in the polar bear group and we were only fortunate enough to see the mother and her two cubs. It was an amazing site with them sleeping up on a ridge on a cliff on the mountain. The fact that the bears are going through a period of time where their food source will be limited to none and the fact that there will be no sea ice makes you wonder how the bears will do over the next couple of months until their habitat returns.

Besides the polar bears the iceberg that we saw was amazing. I actually got to touch the iceberg since our driver was none other than Geoff Green. We also got to go into a sea cave on the shoreline of the island. I really enjoyed today as it felt like the Arctic in the sense that it was much colder out and the seas were a little less calm.

Tomorrow should be an adventurous day with a visit to an old whaling station and then onto Pang for the afternoon.

I will keep you all updated.

Miss And Love Everyone!

August 12, 2010

Today was a full day at sea. The day started off well with a sleep in until 7:30 a.m. The morning started out with multiple iceberg sightings, presentations, and meetings. We had a workshop before lunch, of which I attended the song workshop with Remy. The group of us sang songs and eventually wrote a song about climate change to the tune of “This Land Is Your Land”. Our second Pod meeting took place after lunch where most of it was spent planning a performance for the briefing tonight. As our name is the IPODs our group decided to do an evolution of the IPOD. It was very creative and involved props and music (which was nice because I think most are music deprived). The presentation tonight of the entire pods skits were very funny.

I would also like to mention that today being a full day at sea I found myself a little home sick and would just like to let people back home know that I was thinking about them today. I can’t wait to share my adventures with you.

However I am told that there are brilliant northern Lights off the port side right now so I must leave and take a look.

August 11, 2010, Cape Dorset

Hi Followers,

So I wrote that yesterday was one of the most stimulating days but today was a close second. The morning was spent at an archaeological dig of Thule people. It was the ground huts that were used in the winter by multiple families (usually 8 or more to a hut). It was a magical setting because as David Gray was explaining the site, David Serkoak was playing the Inuit Drum. This was truly an experience that not many people get to have.

After lunch aboard the boat everybody went to the community of Cape Dorset where the municipality had put together a celebration. There was a presentation from the Mayor (a man from Manitoba), throat singers, and singers from Fiji and New Zealand. After that there were demonstrations on how to prepare a seal and arctic char. I part took in the eating of all the local food including raw seal liver and rib (not as bad tasting as I had imagined), raw arctic char, and cooked goose stew. There was also a demonstration on Inuit games that was extremely interesting. We then toured the town and made our way to the art shop. I did not purchase anything as I am waiting to see what the artists in Pangnirtung have to offer.

Tomorrow is a sea day, which means that I will write tomorrow for sure.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 10, 2010, Walrus Island

Hi Followers,

Today was the most stimulating day in the sense that it not only was visually stimulating but also stimulating for the olfactory and hearing senses. Walrus Island is named so for the fact that in the warmer summer months when the sea ice melts the walrus decide to conserve energy by basking in the sunlight on the low lying rocks of the island. The reason this sight was so stimulating was for the fact that besides actually seeing the walruses you could also smell them and hear them. The odour of the site was something less than desired and the constant drum was overwhelming. There were hundreds of walruses present on the island; some were white others pink or brown. It is also worth mentioning that there were walrus pups present on the island.

Today also consisted of a dip in the pool (filled with sea water), workshops, presentations, and some down time. I attended the journal writing workshop where I learned how to break out of my school structured writing style and truly just write. I also attended Paul’s lecture on Evolution and the Rapid Change. It was very interesting.

The day ended with a talk from Peter Mansbridge (as it his, and his son Will's, last night with us). He talked about what it means to others to be Canadian and the perception of Canadians.

Just to conclude I feel compelled to tell you all that the weather here was amazing. The seas were calm (clear as glass, not a single ripple), and it was warm enough to wear only one layer of clothing while touring Walrus Island in the zodiacs today. Although to some this may sound nice to me it was worrisome. A few years ago one would not have been able to cruise the shores with only one layer of clothing and they would also have to dodge sea ice to attempt a glance at the island. This is a true sign that the Arctic is changing.

August 9, 2010, Digges Island

Yesterday I didn’t get a chance to write a journal due to the immense amount of activities taking place. The day began with a visit to Douglas Harbor with the hopes of seeing some caribou and to partake in a workshop. At the island there were a total of seven workshops; journalism (with Peter Mansbridge), installation art, water science, journal writing, G.P.S use, Arctic issues, and caribou behavior. I attended the caribou behavior and we were successful in spotting a total of four “bou”. After lunch there were multiple presentations and lectures which were all interesting; however, I feel that the most interesting presentation was left to last, after supper, when Alanna Mitchell (the author of Sea Sick) spoke. I found her presentation very moving and very informative. Faithful followers, that was yesterday. Today brings a new adventure and we have only just finished lunch.

The adventure on Digges Island started this morning with our arrival; the fog was starting to burn off from the morning sun and the island looked magical. A “fog bow” (a rainbow in the fog) was there to greet us with open arms.

The morning was split into two activities; a hike and a zodiac cruise. I first participated in the hike (3 hours in total), which consisted of rough tundra terrain and high slopes followed by deep lake valleys. The view was spectacular with all the Thick- billed Murres (also known as Turbit back home) and a majestic waterfall.

The hike back was quick as most of it was downhill. We then boarded the zodiacs to take a cruising tour of the cliffs. We got up close and personal with the birds and were even able to see some "sea raven" organisms (sea snail cousins) along with some cone jellies. The day was event-filled and only starting. We now have some down time followed by a couple of presentations.

Stay tuned for further updates tomorrow! Hope everyone home is doing well!

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 7, 2010: Ungava Bay, Hudson Strait, & Diana Island

Hi Expedition Followers,

So today was eventful, it started with waking up with a soaking wet floor and a soaking wet suit case. A water pipe had leaked during the night and soaked our floor, but in good spirits we took it in stride. The rest of the morning was spent looking after multiple sea sickness casualties. Besides the sea sickness, the morning was filled the presentations, boat and zodiak safety lectures, and an evacuation drill. The sea sickness affliction only lasted until just after the lunch hour when the ship was put to anchor and the first zodiak launch of the expedition was underway to Diana Island with the hopes of seeing a herd of Muskox.

Unfortunately the only people to see a live Muskox were the landing crew and the gun men. Although this was the case all students got to see the remains of a Muskox that was left behind from the previous fall season. Besides the Muscox Diana Island offered amazing scenery and wonderful sense of awe. The land was filled with ridges that offered a mystery at every breaching. This mysteriousness was only increased by the weather experienced on the island. The rolling fog and dense mist created a wonderful experience.

Tonight there was a Questions and Answers Panel held by Peter Mansibridge that proved to be very informative. The plan for tonight is to move further West in the hopes of seeing some sea ice and to visit communities along the way. I promise more to come, so stay tuned faithful followers.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 6, 2010: Kuujjuaq, Nunavik

Leaving Ungava Bay, Nunavik, Quebec

Today has been a wonderfully long day. It’s been busy with a wake up at 5:30 followed by the loading of the luggage, the loading of the students (on to a bus and then a First Air air-plane). We then took off on a chartered air-plane to the town of Kuujjuaq, Nunavik.

We were then delighted to partake in a ceremony at the town centre. Some of us were delegated to preparing food for the BBQ that followed the celebrations. After the BBQ the group was split into two where some took the tour of the town (me included) while others toured the Inuit Research Centre. During our tour of the town we ended up visiting the youth centre and spending sometime there with the local youth (due to the extensive rain).

We eventually made our way to the beach where we took multiple zodiac trips to our vessel the MV-LYUBOV ORLOVA. I am sharing a room with one other person (Maggie Crump). Besides this, faithful, followers the night has been pretty filled with presentations and briefings, I promise more to come tomorrow.