November 2009 - Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions

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BLOG: Archive for November, 2009

Newsletter – November 2009

November 23rd, 2009 | By | Filed in AK NEWS

newsletter-2009-coverThe November 2009 Newsletter was just released. The direct link to the newsletter can be found here. In this months issue:
  • Introducing: The “Land-tamer”...the what?
  • NEW Exploratory Trip: Polar Bears of Devon Islands 'Bear Bay' by Land-tamer
  • AK Video Gallery – now live!
  • Disney Nature and Galatée Films present:  OCEANS - the Film
  • AK Adventurer Profile: Robyn Mulgrew
  • Ice Dive Training in the Great Lakes - by Airboat!
  • Canada Goose Store - Gently Used?
  • Group / Private Booking Program
Subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news on upcoming expeditions, special deals, and reports from the field. It’s easy! Just enter your email address into the subscription box below. -- Thomas

Remembering Antarctica's First Female Explorers

November 18th, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic History, IN THE NEWS

The Antarctic Sun has a great article up about the first group of women to do research, live, and work in Antarctica, back in 1969.
Rear Adm. D.F. Welch, the commander of the naval forces in Antarctica, escorted the six women to the Pole. His aide, then-Lt. Jon Clarke, helped orchestrate the moment when all six women would step off the cargo ramp at the back of the plane. Who would be the first woman to step on the Ice? “The admiral decided [King] Solomon-like that the solution to that problem was that all [six] of them could jump off the ramp at the same time and they could all claim to be the first at the Pole. I was the guy in charge of stage managing that event,” says Clarke, who left active service in 1970 to go to law school. He has a law office outside of Denver. Photographers filmed and shot every moment, from the first steps on the polar plateau to the group picture at the geographic pole that marks 90 degrees south. Terrell admits the event was overly staged, but also says the visit probably held more meaning for Jones, who was older than the rest of the team and had faced gender discrimination for years. It also served as an example that women could be more than nurses or teachers, as she’d been told in grade school. “That’s what the teachers were telling the kids: Their opportunities were extremely limited,” Terrell says. “To me, [the visit to South Pole] was in part to say, ‘The only bounds you have are the ones you put on yourself.’”
The Antarctic Sun: News about Antarctica - Breaking the Ice page 1.

On the Rocks: Shackleton’s Whisky to be Retrieved from Beneath the Antarctic Ice

November 16th, 2009 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

"I thought you packed it!" Shackleton and Woosley. Image via the Scott Polar Research Institute.

"I thought you packed it!" Shackleton and Worsley. Image via the Scott Polar Research Institute.

When Shackleton ran short on supplies during his expedition to the South Pole, which ultimately resulted in he and his team missing the pole by a scant 100 miles (though one team member did reach the magnetic pole), he lost the title of "first to the pole" to explorer Roald Amusndsen. But the true tragedy of Shackleton's aborted expedition was never realized until three years ago, when it was discovered that, buried beneath a hut at Cape Royds built used by the expedition lay two crates of scotch. Of the whiskey, encased in ice below the hut, Al Fastier of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage trust, states, "I personally think they must have been left there by mistake, because it's hard to believe two crates would have been left under the hut without drinking them," Now the Trust is going to use special ice cutting equipment to remove the whiskey. But don't get your barware ready just yet -- after undergoing historic preservation in New Zealand, the crates and bottles will be returned to the hut, which researchers are attempting to restore to the condition in which Shackleton left it. Though you may get your chance to sample the recipe, from thebrewer McKinlay and co.:
Distillers Whyte and Mackay, which owns the McKinlay brand, are keen to get hold of a bottle, or at least a sample of the now-extinct blend. The company's master blender Richard Paterson said: "We might even get enough to be able to take a stab at recreating it."
BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Shackletons whisky to be dug up.

Exploring the Scott Polar Institute's Online Archives

November 11th, 2009 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

Freeze Frame » Bothy at Ryvingen in his polar gear seldom needed and despised by him. Sometimes, in the course of my research, I stumble across an image I just have to share. This is one of those times. The Scott Polar Research Institute's Freeze Frame project provides access to digital reproductions of images from both Arctic and Antarctic expeditions from the nineteenth century through to the present day. There are some great images from polar history, including everyday shots of explorers (and their dogs) at home at either pole. Related Content: Graham Dickson in Face to Face: Polar Portraits

Inuit throat singers perform with Orchestra on Nov 15 in Toronto

November 11th, 2009 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

We are looking forward to Sunday Nov 15th 2009 at 8PM to seeing our good friends Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik, Inuit throat singers from Nunavik perform at the Royal Conservatory with the Esprit Orchestra directed by Alex Pauk.  Evie and Akinisie have performed all over the world together - from Switzerland to Greenland and now they'll be here in Toronto on Sunday.  I personally have been waiting for an opportunity to see them throat sing live... not only live and in person, but accompanying a full world class orchestra. Evie is from Ivujivik (Ee-voo-ji-vik), a small community at the norther tip of Nunavik jutting into the Hudson Strait while Akinisie is from Puvimituq (Pu-vee-mee-tuck) on the eastern side of Nunavik bordering Hudson Bay.   They have been rehearsing this week with the orchestra and they tell us that they can't wait to sing on Sunday...as they feel that what Alex Pauk, the conductor is able to bring out in the both the orchestra and themselves in the "Take the Dog Sled" as the performance is called, is magical.    If you are interested in going, tickets are $43 each and can be purchasedfrom the Royal Conservatory See you there!

The Olympic Torch Reaches Nunavut

November 9th, 2009 | By | Filed in Community News, Current Events, IN THE NEWS, INUIT

The Vancouver Sun has an article today chronicling the Olympic torch's journey into the frozen North. Columnist Shelley Fralic notes that, in the dark and cold above the Arctic Circle, the promise of Canada's youth shines forth:
It seemed here, more than any other place yet on the tour, that the young outnumbered the old, the young like the tiny babies snuggled in pouches on the backs of their mothers, tucked warmly into handsewn traditional Inuit “amouts,” the mid-length coats that are part dress and part parka made of light colourful fabric trimmed with wolverine fur. The young like the dozens of toddlers, in tasselled moccasins and huge parkas and snow boots, hollering and racing around the rec centre’s main hall, paper gold medals dangling from strings around their necks, waving flags, tugging at Olympic mascots Quatchi and Miga and filling their pockets with souvenir pins from Vanoc officials and Olympic sponsors.
via Day 7: The Olympic torch in the Great White North, where the youth shine bright .

Polar Bear Sightings Rise in Nunavut Town

November 4th, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic Animals, Conservation, Current Events, Global Warming, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE

Barring a colder fall, residents of Arviat, Nunavut may find themselves confronting a larger-than-normal polar bear population. The CBC reports:
Residents in the hamlet of 2,000 feared for their safety a year ago this month, when an unusually high number of polar bears were spotted roaming through the community as part of their fall migration south. Resident Annie Ollie told CBC News that a few polar bears have already wandered near her house on the edge Arviat. She and her family are now on high alert, said Ollie, speaking in Inuktitut.
Declining sea ice may be to blame for the influx of bears, according to local conservation officer Joe Savikataaq.
If we have a quick freeze-up and the ice goes far out from the land, then we shouldn't have too much of bear problems," Savikataaq said. "But if the ice keeps breaking off like last year, then we may have the same number of bears again. "What was happening last year, we kept getting strong winds off the land and it would break the fresh ice that's forming and take it away."
via CBC News - North - Arviat on polar-bear watch again.

The Arctic’s Ice Age Oasis

November 3rd, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic History, Global Warming, IN THE NEWS

A researcher holds a bison skull unearthed in the Arctic. Image via Astrobiology Magazine

New research indicates that, during the Pleiocene and Pleistocene eras, when most of the northern hemisphere was covered with ice, a swath of the far north remained relatively ice-free, and was home to large grazing mammals such as mammoth, bison and Yukon horses. This region, called Beringia, includes portions Alaska, Siberia, and the Canadian Yukon. As one of the few areas of the northern hemisphere that remained glacier-free, Beringia's steppes played a crucial role in human and animal migration, as well as a refuge for plants and animals threatened by glaciation. This sort of window into the Earth's past gives scientists a better understanding of how climate change might affect life on the planet in the future. Over at Astrobiology Magazine, Aaron Gronstal notes,
Studying ancient climate conditions on Earth – and the ways in which life dealt with climate change - can help astrobiologists understand how current climate trends will affect the planet's biosphere in the future. Environmental refuges like Beringia could have played an important role in helping life survive and evolve on our planet, even when conditions at the Earth's surface were very inhospitable.
Life's Ancient Island in the Ice. Via iO9.com
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