Waking up in Ontario today feels kind of weird. The past twelve days have been an incredible journey. From attending lectures from the professors and other staff from One Ocean Expeditions, to having every single meal together and going on one or two expeditions every day, we learned so much about human and physical geography.
Everyone is home now and was hopefully able to catch up on rest after an action-packed two weeks in the Arctic! We learned so much during this trip by fitting lectures, assignments and data collection between our many excursions and other activities on the ship. The wildlife and scenery that we were able to witness will not be forgotten; from our first polar bear sighting in Bellot Strait to the Arctic hares seen on the last day in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
Today is the last day of our Arctic expedition. Can you believe it went by so quickly? Starting our day off bright (sort-of) and early at 5:30 am West Greenland Summer Time, we rolled out of our beds and prepared to head home. With sleepy eyes we grabbed our things, tagged our luggage, and said our goodbyes to the new friends we made on our journey. Even brief encounters with other passengers and staff enriched our experience and we could not have asked for better company.
This morning we arrived in Sisimiut after travelling south down the west coast of Greenland. Sisimiut is the second largest town in Greenland with a population of 5,500 people and growing. The town consists of many bright-colored buildings and a harbor full of fishing boats nestled amongst some spectacular mountains, which are now showing their fall colors.
Our adventure continues! We set foot for the first time in Ilulissat, a community of 4,905 off the southwest coast of Greenland. We then strolled through town passing by colourful houses, smiling faces and dozens of Kalaallit Qimmiat (which are the largest breed of husky dogs that the locals keep as sled dogs).
Another University of Waterloo student here, and it is currently day 10 of our Arctic Expedition. Even as we are coming closer and closer to the end of our journey, there is still so much left to see and explore.
Last night was filled with rocky waves as we left Gibbs Fjord and headed on to Isabella Bay, a National Wildlife Area and a Bowhead whale sanctuary co-managed by the federal government and community of Clyde River, Nunavut.
Today we sailed down the east coast of Baffin Island, until we reached Refuge Harbor in Gibbs Fjord. We woke up to a beautiful sight, with mountains on both sides of the ship, and glaciers scattered across them. To give background for those who may not know, a fjord is a geological landform that is created by glaciers.
Today we went to Pond Inlet, or in the local language of Inuktitut, Mittimatalik, which means “a good place to land”. Pond Inlet is a small hamlet on the north coast of Baffin Island with a population of approximately 1,600. When we got off the zodiac, we were greeted by 4 very welcoming locals.
Our wake-up call came early this morning after our second-of-four time changes (from mountain time into eastern). We began our busy day with a morning excursion to Dundas Harbour at Devon Island, where we got the chance to see ancient Thule sites (originating from 1200 A.D.) including several sod houses that families lived in during the winter as well as meat caches where food, especially whales, were stored until needed.