Rain: A great judge of neighbourhood character

Heading to the Wilmington, North Carolina region this week, I’m excited about seeing a city that’s one of my favourite running buddies. Last week, I was enjoying a run in Winnipeg as well, when someone pointed out, “But it’s raining.” I had barely noticed since this satisfyingly walkable neighbourhood dares people to live outdoors.

Facebook handily reminded me that this time last year, I was in Venice, where it was resolutely rainy. Perhaps Venice is not the best comparison for “mere mortal” cities, as the idyllic urbanism tends to romanticize the rain. The weather certainly didn’t stop the millions of tourists who had come just to walk the streets.

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Heart of the Arctic: Reflections

Being back in the south for a couple weeks has given me a chance to reflect on the Adventure Canada Heart of the Arctic expedition. The biggest imprints are three things: the inclusivity of the people, the vastness of the land, and the need to continue to do all we can to develop in compact settlement patterns as one of the many things that can help keep us from further damaging earth’s cooling system. The images on my mind for today happen to be from the one day of our expedition that did not upload successfully, due to intermittent internet access.

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Kangerlussuaq: Heart of the Arctic Day 13

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

After sailing up one of the longest fjords in the world, the delightfully scenic Söndre Strömfjord, we disembarked Ocean Endeavour for the last time, to explore the community of Kangerlussuaq. One group went off for a walk on the ice cap and the other on a nature hike, before we flew out of Greenland midafternoon. We headed for Toronto, stopping in Goose Bay, Labrador, to refuel. Tomorrow, we’ll disburse to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Israel, across the US and Canada.

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Itilleq: Heart of the Arctic Day 12

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

We crossed the Arctic Circle at 07:37 today!

Early in the day, we landed at Itilleq, a tiny community of 97 people, set in a hollow between two hillsides. Itilleq means hollow. The tiny colorful wooden homes are a complete switch from Canada’s Arctic communities, here arranged as compactly as the stony landscape will allow.

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Nuuk: Heart of the Arctic Day 10

Sunday, July 26, 2015

We docked in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, around dawn. We had successfully crossed the Davis Strait, formed 65 million years ago by a rift, thanks to a massive movement in the earth’s crust.

Our landform today was a peninsula, which is what the word “Nuuk” means, or some would say that the word means “the headland.” It’s actually a peninsula on a peninsula, at the mouth of a complex fjord system. Dominant rocks here include gneiss, schist, and basalt.

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Sea Ice Along Cumberland Sound: Heart of the Arctic Day 8

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Canadian Coast Guard has given us a strong warning to not enter Cumberland Sound due to the 9-10/10 ice. This sea ice is 9 to 10 years old, with sporadic glaciers that are much older. So we sadly didn’t make it into Pangnirtung.

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Lower Savage Island: Heart of the Arctic Day 7

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Leaving Kimmerut, we headed for Baffin Bay, anchoring at Lower Savage Island just at the end of Frobisher Bay. We spent a couple hours on the zodiacs, not able to set foot on the island due to the possibility of polar bears and walrus. We were hoping to see walrus from the ship as we circumnavigated the island, and polar bear while going through the interior channels on the zodiacs.

However, luck wasn’t with us, and the only wildlife we saw were birds through a heavy fog. The interesting rock formations, sea ice, icebergs, birds, and cold Arctic air made up for it.

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Kimmirut: Heart of the Arctic Day 6

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kimmirut is a community of about 500 people, with the buildings clinging precipitously to the sloping landscape. The day was surprisingly warm, with a high of 14 C and sunny skies. Children were lining the shore to greet us, and their inquisitive brightness was the highlight of the day. We were the one and only passenger ship into the village this year, and almost every villager came out to spend the afternoon with us. Some of the stories the children told me were rather tough, and it clearly isn’t easy making a life here.

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Cape Dorset: Heart of the Arctic Day 5

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Today we explored the Nunavut community of Cape Dorset, also known as Kinngait.  Cape Dorset is a meta-incognito micro continent, which simplistically means that there are a lot of different rocks, but mainly glacially-sculpted granite. It is a crag and tail shape landform that the locals think looks like a polar bear lying down.

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