Inspiring Arctic 2018 Season Roundup

As the summer comes to a close and the nights draw in, we reflect upon an Arctic season in which we were inspired, connected and, most of all, grateful to have the opportunity to visit this remote and wonderful part of the world. This season we were proud to showcase a number of fantastic scientists, historians, photographers, artists and other experts in their fields. Guests enjoyed many unique opportunities to learn, be involved and improve skills. All returned transformed in one way or another.

For the second time in Canadian history, we contributed to the discovery of a long-lost vessel in collaboration with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS). The discovery of evidence of Nova Zembla, a Scottish whaling ship that was wrecked near Buchan Gulf off the coast of Baffin Island in 1902, occurred on August 31st, 2018 by fellows of The RCGS Dr Matthew Ayre and Dr Michael Moloney from the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary.

nova zembla, arctic
Dr Mike Moloney, Kelson Rounds McPherson, Ted Irniq and Dr Matthew Ayre following the discovery of the Nova Zembla. Image credit: Natalie Gillis

We were delighted to announce that the popular ‘Baffin Island – Jewel of the High Arctic’ 12-day voyage was granted a Canadian Signature Experience (CSE) designation this summer, following a previous selection of the ‘Fins and Fiddles’ expedition cruise. On the August 3rd voyage of this itinerary, guest speaker and artist Cory Trepanier was welcomed on board, allowing him to visit Baffin Island for inspiration, reflected in his art as well as a stunning backdrop for shooting new video footage.

Cory Trepanier, Painting at Dundas Harbour, Nunavut

A burgeoning relationship between ourselves and Recreation & Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN) continues to support community engagement and development efforts in the North. During RPAN’s ‘Get Happy’ Summer Day Camp program in Pond Inlet this August, a baseball game was organized bringing together OOE staff and passengers with day-camp participants. Youth leaders from RPAN were also welcomed on board for a ship tour and conversation with the One Oceans Expeditions’ staff.

Director of Arctic Progams at Ocean Wise, Eric Solomon joined us onboard in the Northwest Passage this season to continue groundbreaking multi-year microplastics research. Passengers on board were able to assist him with the analysis of water samples, searching for the presence and severity of microplastics in the ocean.

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Eric sieving unfiltered sea water with the help of a guest onboard.

For the first time ever, a team of specialized dive researchers from Ocean Wise were able to dive previously unexplored sites between Resolute Bay and Grise Fjord in the High Arctic. The only one of its kind in Canada, the dive team were able to study underwater ecosystems that have never been documented before, collect specimens for the Barcode of Life DNA barcoding effort, and monitor ocean temperatures in contribution to further studies.

Roger Pimenta diver surfacing
Ocean Wise Diver surfacing. Photo by Roger Pimenta

Unprecedented ice conditions experienced in the Arctic this summer presented new exploration opportunities and challenges. As is the true ‘expedition’ nature of One Ocean Expeditions’ cruises, unpredictable options were explored, and new landing sites discovered. Exceeding all expectations, wildlife sightings were in abundance, with a record 18 polar bear sightings in one day, as well as sightings of whales, seals, reindeer, arctic foxes and countless species of birds.

Polar bears. Image credit: Dave Sandford

“The success OOE experienced this summer is the result of our dedicated team’s hard work in developing a comprehensive cruise program that engages and connects our guests to this unforgettable and unique place,” said Andrew Prossin, Managing Director.