Arctic Bound

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Antarcticaiijill Getting Packed for the Sedna EPIC Expedition In just over a week I’ll be leaving for my Arctic Odyssey with the other women from the Sedna Expedition. I’ve been digging out all my cold weather gear and discovering some gems that have been long sitting in cases. Snow anchors and ice axes from ice training trips to the Rockies. Crampons and boots used in Antarctica. My trusted Canada Goose parka. They are all saturated with memories from amazing life experiences and learning opportunities. The anticipation of a trip is as great as the experience itself. Packing, testing and developing new gear are all part of the fun and excitement of the journey. This is the lightest I have ever packed for an expedition and the gear pile came to 270 pounds! We’re only allowed 40 pounds on the small Cessna aircraft that will get us to Nain, Ladrador, so much will travel as excess baggage that will be weighed and charged by the pound. It is no wonder that a head of cabbage in Nain costs close to $20! With the need to bring diving equipment, cold weather gear and camera equipment, there seems little left to do but pay the bill! Hopefully nothing will get stranded in St. John’s, Newfoundland!

Join me as I blog about how to stay warm in the water, how to safely encounter whales, sharks and polar bears and how to make the most of a once in a lifetime expedition. I’ll be blogging daily and posting as my internet connection are available.

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Sedna Expedition Preparing to Launch

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Swimming the Northwest Passage 

In July 2016, a team of ten passionate women will embark upon an epic three-month journey, snorkeling through frigid Arctic seas from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Supported by a mother ship equipped with two rigid hull boats, the snorkelers will scout, document and record the impacts of global warming on this fragile arctic ecosystem and on the aboriginal peoples’ traditional ways of life.

Tried, tested and blue 

But before tackling the 100-day Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay in 2016, the Team will mount a 15-day, action-packed proof-of-concept expedition in July 2014. Traveling aboard the MV Cape Race, along the Labrador coast to Baffin Island and, across the Davis Strait, to Western Greenland, the sea women will conduct team-building exercises, perform oceanographic studies, deliver educational outreach in Inuit communities and broadcast their findings to the world. Further, they’ll demonstrate that snorkelers—using diver propulsion vehicles—can successfully navigate ice-infested arctic waters.

Flying Snorkelers 

Using high-tech diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) the snorkelers will cover great distances in frigid waters, traveling at speeds of up to five kilometers per hour. Divided into two five-woman teams, Team Narwhal and Team Beluga, the snorkelers will swim in back-to-back relays. Using one DPV per snorkeler, the women will swim in a rotation, immersed in the water for approximately one hour at a time and up to 24 hours a day.

Voices of the Arctic 

Team Sedna’s mission is to study the impacts of disappearing sea ice in the Arctic, and to educate and engage the public about the wonders of the Arctic and its importance to our global climate. Through cross-cultural dialogue and educational outreach, the expedition aims to exchange knowledge with Inuit groups and Elders about their home and the animals that live there. These first-hand accounts, broadcast through Sedna’s global social network and media channels, aim to inform and inspire conservation for the diverse marine life of the Arctic.


Conquering the Northwest Passage

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Recent Exploration of the Northwest Passage

The extent of Arctic sea ice has declined by 50 percent since the late 1970s, hitting a record low, in September 2012, of 3.41 million square kilometres. Disappearing sea ice has spawned a new breed of modern-day Arctic explorers. During the past decade, several sailboats have traversed the Northwest Passage. In the summer of 2013, the Mainstream Last First Expedition attempted to row the Northwest Passage. The four-man rowing team, comprised of two Canadians and two Irishmen, traveled 1,500 kilometres in 60 days— eastwards from Inuvik to Cambridge Bay—before aborting its crossing due to severe ice conditions. In 2011, Canadians Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry, a brother-sister National Geographic Young Explorers’ team, successfully kite skied across the frozen Northwest Passage, dodging polar bears en route.