About 35 years ago, in another life, I was working at a mine in Northern British Columbia. One weekend, when almost everyone left the camp, I stayed around, and was soon approached by the surveying team and asked if Iād like to help them out. āSure, why notā, and before I knew it I was choppered off, and left alone at the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, to guard the expensive laser equipment from the wind and grizzly bears.
I still remember the feeling of isolation and remoteness, Ā as I walked around the barren mountain top with only a curious marmot for company. When I learned of Adventure Canadaās Arctic expeditions, I couldnāt get that off my mind, and eventually signed up for the August 2016 Arctic Explorer. So here I am, sitting in the Nautilus Lounge of the Ocean Endeavor, writing about the first couple of days.
The voyage started in Ottawa, where we boarded a Nolinair flight to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, with a quick re-fueling stop in Iqaluit. We got on the plane directly from a shuttle bus, with not even going through security. If I had known that, I would have carried on a whole bottle of whisky, instead of just a metal flask.
From a beach at Resolute Bay, AC had their zodiacs transfer us to the Ocean Endeavor, and we were soon having a fantastic lunch. A couple of weeks ago, Frank, a friend of mine, told Chantal to weigh me before and after the trip, implying that Iād lose 10 pounds in the Arctic tundra, but I think I have to be careful I donāt gain 15. The food is unbelievable!
Right now, on the 2nd day of the voyage, our first excursion was Beechey Island, which is the last known whereabouts of the āFranklin Expeditionā, which I was told is āThe Great Canadian Obsessionā. (ha-ha ā¦ inside joke). It was raining and a very desolate area and the sea was quite rough making for an interesting zodiac ride. The ride was quite challenging for some people, but being the athlete that I am, and my hip replacement behind me, I had no problems, but had to be careful.
Rain on and off all day, but the Pentax was doing very well. Today was a photographic orgy, even though the landscape was quite bleak. But sometimes, less is more. A single flower in lichen amongst a field of rock stands out spectacularly.
Most of the people on this trip are serious travelers. As Iām writing this, with a glass of whisky in my other hand, a man sitting at my table asked me if Iām writing in a Moleskine, which I am. He keeps a daily log and has over 50 notebooks. Heās wearing a Nepal t-shirt, and has been there.
On our 2nd excursion this afternoon, we went on a zodiac cruise to Leopold Island, which is noted for its extraordinary bird cliffs. Iām not really a nature photographer and donāt have a big telephoto lens, but managed to get 1 photo of a bird. I joined this expedition mainly for the landscape and the Inuit village visits. More on that later.
[click on any image for slideshow]
August 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm
Hi Len, this is fantastic! Photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing your trip.
Are there more photos that people can see? All the best. Bill from HIgh park
August 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm
Hi Bill, stay tuned for more
August 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm
Excellent Len. Good for You. Can’t wait to hear more about the journey and see more pics.
All the best
August 29, 2016 at 5:19 pm
Great to see photos and enjoy your descriptions just as much. Keep it coming! Lara
August 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm
Glad you enjoyed, Lara. Much more to come!
August 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm
What a unique adventure you are having. I am fascinated by the images- such a different landscape. Hope to see more photos!
August 29, 2016 at 6:36 pm
Hey Diane, much more to come. Maybe you could remind Michael to read it. But I know he’s real busy sitting around doing nothing. ha-ha!
August 29, 2016 at 11:36 pm
HI Len looks like it was a great trip for you! Hopefully you will be sharing more photos!
August 30, 2016 at 12:22 am
For sure I will. You’ll probably get sick of them. But I hope not.
August 30, 2016 at 12:14 am
So…….how much weight did you gain?
August 30, 2016 at 12:24 am
Definitely ate too much. But with the 10 km hikes everyday and working out in the onboard fitness centre and yoga, I think I held it pretty close.
August 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm
Travel in the Arctic is not for the faint of heart and so very well done Len! I can’t wait to read and view more of your amazing experience. The eastern Arctic is so much more mountainous than the Kivalliq Region where I worked. Many thanks again for sharing, Pam.
August 30, 2016 at 12:49 pm
Hi Pam, I know you have lots of experience up there. Thanks for the nice comment.
August 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm
Fabulous photo’s Len. I particularly liked the ones with the low cloud cover and the ones of people in the zodiacs. I must say there appears to be a total lack of Tim Hortons at the destination which is troubling.
August 30, 2016 at 2:40 pm
Fret not Peter, there is a Tim Hortons. Stay tuned….
August 30, 2016 at 8:25 pm
It is like you landed on another planet!
August 30, 2016 at 8:32 pm
Bonjour Claire, oui, comme la lune! et tres beau. (glad you enjoyed).
August 31, 2016 at 4:33 pm
Oui Bonjour Len! Comme la lune!!!….(at least I think so…!)
September 1, 2016 at 8:53 am
Liked the bird shot, although it looked a little chilly….