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Arctic Expedition - August 2013

Greenland & the Canadian Northwest Passage

One Ocean Expeditions

The Weather Network

Arctic Expedition 2013

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Filming on an ice floe, off the coast of Baffin Island.
Mother polar bear with cubs on the sea ice.
Glacier calving off new icebergs in Greenland.
What an amazing journey. Meteorologist and regular adventure partner, Mark Robinson and I teamed up with The Weather Network & One Ocean Expeditions for nearly a month in the arctic regions of Greenland and Canada. they graciously allowed us to join the voyage with our cameras to document the entire trip for the network, and what we experienced was so much more than we ever could have imagined. The epic voyage began in Iqaluit, Baffin Island, the capital of Nunavut. This is where we boarded the ship, the Akademik Ioffe, A Russian, ice-strengthened scientific research ship that has been retrofit to take small groups of passengers to the polar regions.

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Sea fog rolling in across Frobisher Bay, Iqaluit, Nunavut. The starting point of the journey.
Iqaluit, Nunavut, at the southern end of Baffin Island. The last time I was here, it was about -20C.
Rare "Green Flash" at sunset with an iceberg. Sometimes a flash of green light can be seen in the last seconds of a sunset if thee is a clear horizon to the west.

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Mark Robinson, in front of a 22 degree solar halo, formed by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.
A young girl plays on the rocks, just outside the community of Pangnirtung, on Baffin Island.
A Zodiac cruises around an iceberg, shrouded by fog, off the coast of Baffin Island.

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The ship's bell at sunset.
No Photoshop here. Sunset & the sea create a palette of coloured bands.
A curious polar bear on monumental Island gets close to the water's edge to investigate us. This bear was spotted less than 5 minutes into our very first excursion off the ship!! It's a good thing we were in a Zodiac.

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A polar bear with a wound on his neck, probably from a fight with another bear, walks on jumbled sea ice.
A mother polar bear and her cub on an ice floe. They were moving to get away from a male that was nearby. The cub would've been born earlier this year.
An iceberg appears very blue in the setting sun.

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Someone's rubber boots, left near the rest of our gear by someone who went on a hike at the very desolate Sunshine Fjord, right on the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island.
A 2 mile wide, gigantic ice island. This humongous tabular iceberg probably is a piece of the ice shelf that broke off of Greenland in 2010.
Our home for the month, the Akademik Ioffe. It is a Russian research vessel that has been retrofit to take passengers to polar regions, 6 months out of the year.

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An early morning fogbow, as seen from the top deck of the ship.
Iceberg and mountains.
Amazing rays of light illuminate an iceberg. This scene only lasted a few moments.

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Colorful houses in Greenland.
Sled dogs without much to do in the summer - Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland.
Dog sleds piled high for the summer - Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland.

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Not a bad place for a house. The view is pretty spectacular - Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland.
Amazing icebergs, all lined up.
Birds hitch a ride on the peak of a passing iceberg - Near Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island), Greenland.

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Stunning, scalloped features on an iceberg.
Amazing, blue iceberg colours in Greenland.
A trekking hut, through a window in an iceberg - Disko Island, Greenland.

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Blue melt water channels in an iceberg. They mark the path that melt water took place on the glacier.
Iceberg and fog.
Sea fog interacting with a very large iceberg.

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Icy sunset.
It's interesting how the icebergs take on different colours.
A Zodiac beside an iceberg with ice boulders - Disko Bay, Greenland.

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Massive iceberg - Disko Bay, Greenland.
Expedition leader, Boris Wise, surveys the ice conditions.
The amazing Jakobshavn Ice Fjord near Ilulissat, Greenland. The fjord if FILLED with icebergs that travel about 40 km from the glacier to the sea.

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A little gin... On ice.
Icebergs bigger than a city block float down the Jakobshavn Ice Fjord, near Ilulissat, Greenland.
I try not to over-use the word "epic". but the iceberg-choked fjord near Ilulissat, Greenland fits the description.

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Millions of tons of ice had calved off the glacier, 40km up the fjord.
The graffiti that greeted us in the town of Sisimiut. I bet you just heard James Earl Jones' voice in your head, didn't you?
The church in Sisimiut, Greenland.

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Eternity Glacier, on the west coast of Greenland. It put on quite a show for us, with huge pieces calving off and crashing into the water.
Getting close, but not too close to the Eternity Glacier, Greenland. When pieces fall off, they are not small, and create quite a splash & wave.
The scar on Eternity Glacier after giant chunk of ice calved off, right before our eyes. We captured it all on video.

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Stunning Greenland scenery.
A hidden glacial lake we found on the west coast of Greenland. Perfect weather too!
The Greenland Ice Cap, near the town of Kangerlussuaq. It spans 1,710,000 square km (660,000 sq mi) and is 3 km thick at some points.

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A closer look at the edge of the Greenland Ice Cap. It is the second largest sheet of ice in the world, the largest being in Antarctica.
Trying to film a TV show on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Not so easy when the fog rolls in.
Thick fog on top of the Greenland Ice Cap. It made for a very eerie scene.

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Arriving in pond Inlet, northern Nunavut. We were greeted by a dramatic sky, an iceberg, a supply ship and a background of mountains and glaciers.
Rosie, our Inuit guide in pond Inlet. She was great, and she recognized me from television right away. I guess they get "Angry Planet" on satellite up here.
Looking out into the bay at Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

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An Inuit boy drumming during a cultural demonstration in pond Inlet. All eyes were on this cute kid as he was mimicking the adults.
Inuit girl in Pond Inlet, at the northern end of Baffin Island.
Iceberg and stunning mountains - Northern Baffin Island.

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A glacier, almost at the sea.
Our ship, the Akademic Ioffe.
Blue iceberg, covered in sea birds.

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A polar bear, hunting for seal on the vast, floating sea ice of the Canadian Arctic.
Devon Island. They say it is the largest uninhabited island in the world. We were probably the only people there that day.
Fresh snow in August on the mountains of Devon Island, reflected in a small freshwater lake.

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A gull, following the ship.
The stunning, sheer cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. A protected bird sanctuary with hundreds of thousands of sea birds nesting on the cliffside.
A sudden rockslide along the cliffs of prince Leopold Island.

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Approaching Prince Leopold Island in the Canadian Arctic, by Zodiac on a cold morning.
Hundreds of thousands of birds nest on the cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. We also saw a polar bear nearby, probably hunting for fledgling chicks learning to fly.
Even in late summer, sea ice in the Arctic can make for difficult navigation. We would look at sea ice charts every day to try and figure out what the ice was doing.

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Mother polar bear with 2 cubs on the sea ice - Canadian Arctic, Nunavut.
This mother polar bear was curious about our ship and came very close to us. this was surprising, considering that she had 2 young cubs with her who were less than a year old.
A polar bear cub leaps across the sea ice, trying to keep up with mama.

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The cavalry arrives!! Well, the Coast Guard actually. The CCGS Henry Larsen arrives to help us through the sea ice of the Northwest Passage.
Trying to get through the Northwest Passage is still difficult, even in modern times. We had to request an icebreaker escort to get through some difficult spots.
The icebreaker, doing what icebreakers do.

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The icebreaker, CCGS Henry Larsen, clearing the way for us through the sea ice. Thank you, Canadian Coast Guard.
The Henry Larsen finishes its task and moves off to another assignment. They were with us for about a day and a half.
The "Weather Network Arctic Field Office", aboard the Russian ship, Akademik Ioffe. This was our home and office for almost a month.

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Another large, tabular iceberg. These things are huge, especially when you consider the vast majority of it is below water.
Mark, building an Inukshuk in Greenland.
Colourful Greenland.

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Trying out some authentic, traditional seal skin clothing. Very warm is an understatement - Sisimiut, Greenland.
Approaching a floating ice island in Baffin Bay. 2 miles long and a half mile wide.
A closer look at the 2 mile long ice island. It's difficult to get a size perspective, but it was about a tall as our ship, similar to a 5 storey building, and that's just the part above the water.

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