What an Incredible Start!

What an incredible start to our journey!  Our first night found us anchored in the Polar Prince icebreaker in the harbour of Pond Inlet on the northern tip of Baffin Island, which is surrounded by the stunning mountains of Sirmilik National Park. The water was calm, the sun was shining (well into the night), and the temperature was warm – we had found a bit of northern paradise.  While a satellite glitch stopped us from communicating with the rest of the world on our first full day on Monday, it didn’t stop our activities. We headed into the zodiacs to get into Pond Inlet, to visit the town of 1800 and listen to Minister Catherine McKenna’s announcement of the establishment of the Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area. This is a good news story for the environment in Canada – it will be the largest area of this type in Canada by far, helping to protect the rich diversity of northern Canada for generations to come.  (The Inuit residents of Pond were happy to see the rest of Canada finally recognize what they had known for hundreds of years!)  The afternoon found us aboard the ship of Students on Ice, an annual expedition that takes 200+ students and educators.  We shared two incredible meals with this amazing collection of people, learning more about their stories and expertise. There were a range of workshops led by Inuit educators – my favourites were Inuit throat singing and how to skin a seal, though the Inuit games played by the young people were a hoot to watch. By 10.30, just when we were ready for bed, we were trying on our survival suits in an emergency drill in the former helicopter hangar (now a gathering place for briefings.)  We discovered that there won’t be too many dull moments on the journey, and that full sleep may have to wait until we return home.


Canada C3 the trip of a lifetime!

While August is a signal for some educators that summer is half over, I feel like mine is just beginning – I’m heading out on a journey of a lifetime! I’ve been accepted to go on the Canada C3 Journey, a Canada 150 Signature project that aims to better connect Canadians through deepening our understanding of the three coasts (C3) that surround us, the land that sustains us, and the diverse peoples who animate our beautiful country. The centrepiece of this project is an epic 150 sailing trip that travels from Toronto to Victoria via the North West Passage; I’m on Leg 9, traveling from Pond Inlet to Cambridge Bay beginning August 13th on a retired Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker. I’ve been tracking this incredible journey since it began on June 1st, and can highly recommend watching the videos and reading the blog – what a way to learn about how Canadians are addressing Diversity & Inclusion, the Environment, Reconciliation, and Youth Engagement (the four themes of the journey.) Please join me on the C3 journey as I share my experiences in this blog, via Instagram (hjinwood) and on Twitter (@OISEese and @eseinfac). I can’t wait to get underway!