February 27th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in AK NEWS, Gear
All this weekend, we’re at the Outdoor Adventure Show at Toronto’s International Centre. Stop by the booth for information on our expeditions, to check out the gear we’re offering for sale, or just to hear some stories from the ice! Visit the Adventure Show website for hours and directions.
February 26th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in Arctic Animals, Current Events, IN THE NEWS
A Polar Bear Watches as an Arctic Kingdom Expedition Traverses Hudson Bay
Today on Talk of the Nation, researcher Robert Rockwell reported on the incursion of grizzly bears into the area around Hudson Bay, an area formerly the exclusive territory of polar bears.
The two bears are actually fairly close relatives — close enough to produce hybrid young, though those young are sterile. The two predators can co-exist fairly peacefully as well, since both, as top level predators, have evolved not to fight too much with other bears. This is because the bears can do so much damage to one another that infighting would would cause too much damage amongst the population — bears that fought each other regularly would have died out long ago.
At the same time, however, grizzlies create competition for the polar bears, and may even hibernate in the dens where polar bear mothers bear their young, threatening a new generation of polar bears.
Both species are federally protected in Canada, and it isn’t yet clear whether the grizzlies plan to stay in Hudson Bay. But for researchers, this is both an interesting and concerning development in the Hudson Bay ecosystem.
Grizzlies Move Into Polar Bear Turf On Hudson Bay : NPR.
Science Daily: Grizzly Bears Move Into Polar Bear Habitat in Manitoba, Canada
Arctic Kingdom Expeditions to Hudson Bay
February 25th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in AK NEWS, Gear, Uncategorized
We like outdoor adventures.
This Friday through Sunday, Arctic Kingdom will be at Toronto’s Outdoor Adventure Show, Canada’s largest outdoor adventure expo. Visit our booth to get information about our expeditions and trips, get some great deals on expedition gear, or just say hello!
The Adventure Show will be at the International Centre, near Pearson International Airport. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $12, or you can save money by purchasing advance tickets online. Visit the Adventure Show website for hours and details, including directions to the venue.
Hope to see you there!
February 25th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in Conservation, Current Events, Global Warming
An Arctic Kingdom Diver Enjoys a Relatively Warm Summer Swim
Today on CNN, there’s an article up about Ann Daniels, a widely respected polar explorer (and British mother-of-four) who is embarking this week on a 500-kilometer trek up the Canadian sea ice toward the North Pole, part of the 2010 Catlin Arctic Survey.
On the way, Daniels and her team will be taking water samples and other field data on the changing Arctic climate, providing raw data for scientists studying the state of the Arctic today. This year’s survey will focus on ocean acidification as increasing levels of carbon dioxide are absorbed from the atmosphere.
Another side affect of climate change is an decrease in sea ice, and a corresponding increase in the amount of swimming Daniels and her team will have to do — through cold, dark water. And swimming in the Arctic winter sea, Daniels notes, is no easy task. Along with the cold, there’s the psychological element to swimming in the winter dark:
“Nothing from under the sea is going to jump up and eat you. But as a human being there’s that feeling of, ‘what is under here? It’s pitch black and anything can get me.’ Mentally you start imagining all kinds of things in the water,” she said from her home in Devon, southwest England.
Daniels notes that, in the 13 years since she started making regular trips to the pole, the amount of swimming has increased.
The first time I swam was in 2002 and steadily we’ve had to swim more and more as the years go on, and we’re certainly expecting this year to do an awful lot of swimming. We’ve got a flotation device to go around the sledge as well because we’re expecting more water than ever before.”
via Arctic explorer prepares for icy swim – CNN.com.
February 24th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in Arctic History, Current Events
All this week, VBC will be posting an online documentary about Heimo Korth, one of the last remaining residents of America’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Established in 1980 by then-president Jimmy Carter, the Refuge protects 19 million acres of Arctic wilderness from developers, hunters, and oil interests. The family followed by the documentary are the last white settlers to live on the land year round, one of six families that were grandfathered in when the park was formed.
The documentary explores the day-to-day realities of their lives, showcasing the skills and resilience needed to survive at the edge of the habitable world.
Parts One and Two are already online, with the rest posting throughout the week.
via Online documentary about one of the last people living in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Boing Boing.
February 22nd, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in Arctic History, Current Events
A ball of frozen hair discovered in the permafrost near Qeqertasussuk, Greenland has yielded enough DNA for scientists to sequence the genome from an ancient human.
The man, whom scientists have dubbed “Inuk,” lived 4,000 years ago, was relatively young when he died, had dark eyes, dark skin, “shovel shaped” teeth, and would have been prone to balding later in life. He was a member of the Saqqaq culture, the earliest known to inhabit Greenland. Further tests reveal that his diet consisted mostly of seals, seabirds, and other marine foods.
Comparisons between Inuk’s DNA with that of existing native reveals that he is most closely related to the Nganasans, Koryaks and Chukchis of Eastern Siberia, rather than the native population of Greenland today. This suggests that his people migrated across the Bering Straight and moved east toward Greenland, but did not settle there, or died out.
National Geographic: Face of Ancient Human Drawn from Hair’s DNA
Nature: The Ancient Human Genome
The Guardian: Genome from ancient human hair conjures up brown-eyed man, Inuk
February 10th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in Uncategorized
Next week, the eyes of the world will be on Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Athletes from around will be competing, including Aqpik Peter, a speed skater from Iqaluit, Canada’s northernmost capital city. Aqpik’s official Olypic bio elaborates on the skater’s roots:
Raised by his grandmother, Aqpik is fluent in the Inuit language, Inuktitut. In 2006, he became the first person to deliver the Athlete’s Oath in an Aboriginal language at a national competition. He also demonstrates traditional Inuit games when dignitaries visit Iqaluit. When he isn’t training, Aqpik likes to hang out with his friends and play soccer. He also enjoys playing Inuktitut gospel music and Metallica on the guitar.
We’re going to be watching this year’s speed skating competition with great interest. Good luck, Aqpik Peter!
Aqpik Peter : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
February 9th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Gear
This week’s new Flickr photos include several of camp life on Arctic Kingdom expeditions. Our camps allow expedition members to experience some of earth’s most extreme environments in relative comfort, with gourmet food, warm accommodations, and even electricity and communications technology. Check out our Flickr stream for more scenes from our homes at the edge of the world.
February 8th, 2010 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in AK NEWS, Filmmakers, Films, Projects, TRIPS
If you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ve already heard about Océans, actor, director and producer Jacques Perrin’s exploration of the 71 percent of the earth’s surface that is covered by the sea.
A recent story in Time notes,
[The] spectacular new French maritime documentary. . . has done not only twice as much business as [the George Clooney vehicle] Up in the Air since both movies were released on Jan. 27, but is also looking to set a new mark for nature films when it rolls out internationally in the coming months.
Océans is no Jacques Cousteau rehash, and its environmental message, while alarming, doesn’t impose the sense of doom central to recent films like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth or Frenchman Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Home. Instead it seduces the viewer to the maritime cause with awe-inspiring imagery, creating an almost emotional attachment between viewer and cinematic object by bringing the camera into astonishing intimacy with erstwhile unapproachable beings. At one point, a mother walrus hugs her baby protectively as she swims. At another, a diver caresses and plays with an 18-foot, 1-ton great white shark nicknamed “Lady Mystery.”
As we noted in our November 2009 newsletter, we’re proud to have worked with Océans’ producers and filmakers throughout the Arctic, helping them to get some of the spectacular footage that has made this one of the most exciting nature documentaries to hit the international scene in recent years. The film hits North American theaters this Earth Day (April 22, 2010). We can’t wait to see the finished product!