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10 unbelievable moments from three months at sea within the Arctic

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Typically, I discover myself reflecting on my love for the ocean. I don’t know the place it got here from. I didn’t develop up close to the ocean, nor am I a lot of a seashore bum. Laying round in a swimsuit, like, in entrance of individuals all day doing nothing? And the way annoying is sand? Scoffs. No thanks.

Really, if I’m being trustworthy, I’m extra of a seashore individual now than I was. Pretentious younger traveler me at all times needed to be doing issues and taking within the sights. Stress-free and vacation by no means belonged in the identical sentence. I have to SEE and DO it ALL.

Having burnt myself out so many instances since, your lady loves a lazy vacation now. Present me the resort completely happy hour!

However again to the ocean. With no concept the place this ardour got here from, I can say now that I’m actually completely happy at sea. To go to the Arctic is to fall in love. I like it. I benefit from the rocking of the boat. The wild climate and waves. The sensation of transiting in a brand new method. The briny air and the sensation of insignificance. Mom Natch is in cost at sea.

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

I’ve been touring to the polar worlds by ship for years and years, making a few of my favourite journey recollections alongside the way in which. In these distant corners of the earth, getting round by boat is just about the one possible method to go to the Arctic. My job onboard was at all times journey content material, images, writing, and storytelling. I sat someplace in between the expedition staff and passengers. 

However deep down, I knew I needed to be a part of the staff. I needed to get my arms soiled and discover ways to work at sea. In 2023, I lastly discovered the braveness to pursue working as an expedition information on the Ocean Endeavour, an expedition ship alternating between the Arctic with Journey Canada and the Antarctic with Intrepid, summer season to summer season. 

I spent three months onboard with Journey Canada final summer season, touring from Scotland to the Faroes to Iceland to Greenland and ending in Canada. It was the journey of a lifetime, and I really feel honored to be a part of their household. There’s such a close-knit vibe onboard. My essential job was as media, taking photographs and gathering content material for storytelling, however I additionally doubled as a part of the expedition staff. After a decade of working independently, being a part of a staff felt so good. 

And arguably the very best a part of all of it? Three months at sea means you see a ton of cool stuff. It allowed me to construct on my expertise, revisit locations I cherished, and see issues by way of contemporary eyes. If you happen to go to the Arctic in the future, hopefully, you’re going to get to share a few of these adventures, too. Listed below are ten of the good issues I noticed whereas onboard with Journey Canada – take pleasure in!

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

1. Polar bears consuming a beluga whale

I’ve managed to see some fairly superb issues in my life, particularly since I grew to become a full-time journey blogger in 2013. However unquestionably, one of many coolest experiences of all occurred whereas visiting the Arctic within the Northwest Passage final September.

There may be this unbelievable place referred to as Coningham Bay, with a large, shallow bay with a slim inlet. Beluga whales wish to swim into the bay to roll round and scrape off their outdated pores and skin. However they turn into trapped inside at low tide due to the shallow entrance. Time for supper for the polar bears. 

Right here, we noticed over a dozen polar bears, together with cubs feasting on lifeless whales. It was wild. Solely in my morbid goals did I think about seeing polar bears with bloody, gorey faces. There have been beluga within the bay splashing round and even narwhal! It ranks on the high of the good wildlife experiences ever. 

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

2. Crusing from Iceland to Greenland with Margaret Attwood

One of many coolest experiences final summer season at sea was that Canadian icon and legend Margaret Attwood was onboard with us as a particular visitor on the Iceland to Greenland: Within the Wake of the Vikings journey. If you happen to go to the Arctic, arriving by ship is an actual journey.

A longtime buddy of Journey Canada, Margaret Attwood, joins in on a visit per 12 months. A passionate conservationist and hen nerd alongside together with her late husband, it was ridiculously cool to be on board together with her on such a enjoyable journey. Very very like everyone else besides with a crafty and darkish humorousness, it was inspirational to be round one of many biggest writers of our age. Hanging out together with her and listening to her tales, you sort of simply shut up and hear as a result of they’re so riveting. 

She even penned a brief story referred to as Stone Mattress whereas onboard years in the past. About revenge and homicide (in fact) on the Northwest Passage touring by expedition ship, it’s now a part of the guide of the identical identify. 

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

3. Lastly seeing the Northern Lights

I’m so completely happy to report that I’ve lastly seen the Northern Lights in any case these years. It was an enormous expertise for me and one which I nearly missed out on. 

I’ve been to the Arctic just a few instances, and Aurora territory, and I’ve by no means seen them. I spent every week in Arctic Finland in winter—cloudy all the time. Different instances, I’ve been within the Arctic in summertime when it doesn’t get darkish—no lights. I’ve seen their equal loads in New Zealand, however down right here, it’s nowhere close to as vivid or dramatic—we’re not far sufficient south. 

However this time, in September, as we made our method south alongside the western coast of Greenland, the Northern Lights got here out in full power. I used to be getting over being sick and had gone to mattress early once I began to listen to knocking on my door. I ignored it for ages, however my resilient boat bestie, Krista, was not leaving til I received as much as see them. Thank god for good buddies!

Throwing my gear over my pajamas, we made our method to the highest deck, and the aurora was popping off! It was insane! I watched it dance for ages, took just a few photographs, and simply jumped round with everybody, celebrating such a cool expertise. If you happen to go to the Arctic and need to see the Northern Lights, Greenland is the place to be.

4. Hanging out with the Shetland ponies in Scotland

My very first journey with Journey Canada was Scotland Slowly, which explores the northern Scottish Isles. Exploring Scotland by sea was unbelievable, and going by expedition ship meant we might absorb many locations which are often exhausting to get to.

As an enormous historical past nerd, I cherished this journey. In actual fact, a lot of the books I purchased for the entire season have been on this journey round Scotland

But when I’m being trustworthy right here, my favourite half was being across the Shetland ponies. The Shetland Islands will not be straightforward to entry, practically 200 kilometers north of mainland Scotland, near Norway. We referred to as into the tiny island of Foula for the day, residence to some dozen people and a hell of much more ponies. With stunning hen cliffs and unbelievable views, and tiny horses roaming round, it was an actual spotlight for me for the entire some.  

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

5. Standing on sea ice in Baffin Bay

By this level, I’ve been to the Arctic and Antarctic many instances and spent a good period of time transferring by way of sea ice, both by ship or on zodiac cruises. Punching by way of the ice, the crackles and booms in opposition to the ship, trying in direction of the horizon for polar bears, sea ice exploration is certainly one of my favourite issues about polar journey. It makes you’re feeling such as you’re exploring if you happen to go to the Arctic.

Baffin Bay sprawls throughout northern Canada to Greenland. Frozen all 12 months, channels and huge elements open up within the summertime. Ice situations positively dictate how we journey by ship. Ships are assigned ice class rankings, relying on the strengthening to undergo sea ice. The ice might be thick or skinny, super-condensed, or unfold out. There are heaps of things that go into understanding sea ice situations – many I’m nonetheless studying myself. 

However one factor I’ve by no means completed earlier than is land on sea ice, i.e., get out and stroll on it. It needs to be outdated, thick, and durable. This season, we discovered the proper sea ice to land on in Baffin Bay, nudging the zodiacs onto the ice earlier than hopping out and exploring for a bit. It was a extremely, actually cool expertise that not many people have completed earlier than. It was so particular. 

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

6. Getting an actual training about Inuit life and historical past

I’ll be fully trustworthy: I didn’t know heaps about Inuit life and tradition earlier than heading to the Arctic. I knew a good quantity concerning the Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Ladies and Women in Canada, together with the horrors of the residential colleges, principally from crime podcasts I take heed to. 

However then, there may be solely a lot you possibly can examine till you expertise it your self. And there may be solely a lot you possibly can even start to grasp as an outsider. 

Journey Canada cares loads about indigenous life, particularly since they function round their lands. Every journey has many native Inuk guides on board as cultural educators. They even have the one Inuk Expedition Chief within the trade. The whole lot occurs in an actual, genuine method; nothing is hidden or sugarcoated. We visited deserted communities the place Inuit residents have been compelled to maneuver, see graves, and be taught concerning the tragic historical past, notably in Canada. It was actually eye-opening.

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

7. Getting up shut and private with puffins within the Faroe Islands

Similar to the ponies of Scotland, I used to be enraptured by one other lovely creature – the puffin. If you happen to go to the Arctic, hopefully you’ll see them!

I had seen puffins earlier than on my first journey to Iceland 1,000,000 years in the past, however it was earlier than I had a telephoto lens and so they weren’t notably up shut. This time round, I noticed them heaps, typically proper subsequent to you, and wow, are they one of many cutest birds of all time ever. I’ll die on this hill!

A lot smaller than they give the impression of being, they fly with the weirdest gait, legs splayed extensive. We noticed them just a few instances round Iceland after which heaps within the Faroe Islands, the place they hang around on the cliffs subsequent to a number of the hottest walks. 

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

8. Having my thoughts blown within the Torngat Mountains 

On the fringe of the Arctic Circle in Canada is likely one of the most unbelievable wilderness areas I had by no means heard of: the Torngat Mountains. 

I hadn’t been onboard the Ocean Endeavour lengthy earlier than I heard that one of the vital universally beloved journeys is their Greenland and Wild Labrador journey, which spends time within the distant Torngats. Eternally enamored by the very far north, land of bears and ice, Labrador hadn’t actually occurred to me as a spot I might love.

My final journey of the season went right here, and holy crap, guys, it was my favourite place of all. I’ll positively go into this intimately later, however the Torngats may be my favourite mountain vary on the earth. A particular Inuit homeland, this place is extremely protected and solely open for just a few weeks a 12 months. There are not any roads wherever close to right here. However due to Journey Canada’s unbelievable relationship with Inuit, and by bringing locals onboard this journey as guides, we’re capable of spend practically every week within the Torngat Mountains – with all of it to ourselves. And the bears. There are tons of bears right here. 

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

9. Loopy sunsets at sea in East Greenland

By mid-July we have been totally immersed within the Arctic as we sailed from Iceland over to Greenland. We spent a great period of time exploring the distant jap aspect of Greenland, the place only a few individuals reside. With numerous sea ice and good climate, it was stunning cruising by way of probably the most picturesque of Arctic landscapes. 

However what made it much more stunning than regular with the loopy sunrises and sunsets we have been getting. Sadly, this wasn’t for a great motive. 2023 was Canada’s worst wildfire summer season ever. Practically 20 million hectares of land went up in flame, burning for months at a time. 

And the smoke drifted to Greenland. Although it wasn’t tremendous smokey or robust in southeastern Greenland, the haze contributed to lengthy, misty sunsets that have been out of this world—a wonderful tragedy.

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

10. Wandering the magnificent autumn tundra

Autumn comes early if you happen to go to the Arctic. By September 1st, all the countryside had turned purple and gold within the far north. The mountains had their peaks dusted with the primary snow, and there was a chunk to the air heralding the change of seasons. The midnight signal was gone, and night time returned, bringing dancing auroras amongst the celebs. 

I really like autumn a lot, and it was cool to expertise it in a completely new panorama. There are not any bushes this far north, so the tundra adjustments colours as an alternative. It’s additionally when all of the berries come out, so it made hikes even higher, munching on them. 

Would you wish to expertise a few of these issues if you happen to go to the Arctic? Or have you ever already? Share!

Visit the Arctic

Visit the Arctic

Many because of Journey Canada for internet hosting me within the Arctic – like at all times, I’m maintaining it actual – all opinions are my very own, like you would count on much less from me!

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