September 28th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in ACTIVITIES, Client Reports, Diving, TRIPS
Joe Canepari posted some astounding photos
from his recent trip with Arctic Kingdom and was kind enough to share them with us.
Getting geared up for the first dive
For a bit of perspective of the scale out there...
With so much in the news about the seasonal ice melt and the reality of climate change, I feel it's important to remember that the Arctic is still the Arctic. Plenty of cold weather, and plenty of ice to explore!
Arctic Dive, photograph by Todd Mintz
Check out the whole page
for more shots, including of Joe climbing an iceberg, some terrific jellyfish, more diving, and of the camp. Of this last shot, Joe says :
The final pic of me taken on my last dive and its probably my favorite one of the trip. The photo captures the enormity of the iceberg, especially when you keep in mind how much of the iceberg was out of frame. This dive was one of the great experiences in my life and it fulfilled my quest to dive below the sea ice near one of the planet’s poles.
September 27th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS, Uncategorized
Tens of thousands of walruses have been forced to swim to the shores of Alaska's northwest coast, as the Arctic ice they normally live on has disappeared. Anthony Fishbach, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological survey is investigating in this report
"I'm surprised by one thing," he says. "Essentially all the animals here are adult females." You'd expect to see about one in three with newborn yearling calves, he says.
The vast majority of walruses in the Chukchi each summer are females who fatten up on clams that populate the seafloor. They need a lot of protein to nurse their young. This time of year, they should be foraging from the sea ice floating over the productive waters of the continental shelf. Instead, they're stuck on land.
"I only see a small number of yearling calves," Fischbach says. "That makes me wonder what's happening with the calves."
September 24th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Recent Trips, TRIPS
Report received from a scouting trip to Akpatok Island, located in the Ungava Bay area of Nunavik (northern Quebec). This location is available on a Private Trip
basis, and offers incredible hiking, beautiful scenery, polar bear viewing, as well as the opportunity to see the world's largest colony of Black Billed Murres
, who reside on the island in the hundreds of thousands.
Cliffside of Akpatok Island
The island is ringed in kilometers of solid cliffs, with beach at the foot of those cliffs. This area is where we search for polar bears, who use pockets of remaining snow to cool off during the warm summer months.
Polar bear mother and cubs
This remote location is only accessible by air, but offers fantastic hiking in the deep canyons and river valleys that pierce the flat topped island.
Join us on Facebook
for more photos and trip reports like this one, as well as a chance to talk to fellow adventurers and our team members.
September 22nd, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Gear, Uncategorized
Get great deals on 'gently used' top brands such as Canada Goose, Outdoor Research, Black Diamond, with new gear available as well.
End of Season warehouse sale Sept 24 (9am to 6pm) and Sept 25 (9am to 5pm) at our 1050 Kamato Drive, Mississauga warehouse location.
Anyone may call to reserve/purchase an item ahead ...of time at 416-322-7066. International shipping is possible.
Enjoy the sale, and stay warm!
Pond Inlet - Arctic Kingdom Dive Trip
September 22nd, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS, Uncategorized
Scientist Casey Hubert
from the Geosciences Group at Newcastle University,
UK, along with his colleagues have discovered an Arctic sea floor bacteria that has a hibernation period of up to 100 million years. Expecting to find cold-loving organisms, they were surprised to find that these microbes do best at higher temperatures, more in the range of 20-55 degrees Centigrade (that's 68 - 131 Fahrenheit!)
Hubert's theory, presented earlier this month at a Society for General Microbiology meeting in Nottingham, UK, proposes that rising currents thrust some cells out of their deep hot niche and into the cold Arctic seawater, where they lie dormant.
Sediment buries them until the temperature rises enough for them to germinate – but this could take up to a 100 million years. "It's like there's a seed bank in the sediment of diverse thermophiles," says Hubert. These spores can remain viable for millions of years, he says, and so might wait-out the burial period and long migration down into the warmer subsurface. "This could explain how thermophiles colonise these subsurface niches and populate the deep biosphere," he says."
September 20th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, Client Reports, TRIPS
Polar bear by Todd Mintz
Todd is a talented semi-professional photographer with extensive online galleries
of his work, including some ice diving and more Polar Bears!
September 17th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, Global Warming, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE
chime in on the current state of Arctic ice, according to CNN
, this is the third-lowest level reported, trailing 2007 and 2008. The National Ice and Snow Data Center
On September 10, 2010 sea ice extent dropped to 4.76 million square kilometers (1.84 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest extent of the year; sea ice has now begun its annual cycle of growth.
In direct comparison with years past, they have this to say,
At the 2010 seasonal minimum, ice remained fairly extensive in the East Siberian Sea, compared to 2007, when this area was ice free. 2010 ended up having less ice than 2007 in the Beaufort Sea and in the East Greenland Sea. Both the Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route (along the shores of Eurasia) were open at the 2010 sea ice minimum, whereas in 2007, ice blocked part of the Northern Sea Route.
Between this, and the news earlier this week about Georgy Brusilov's expedition
, I was curious to see what exactly the Northwest Sea Route
would look like right about now, before winter sets in and the ice re-forms.
Northern Sea Route (blue) and alternative route through Suez Canal (red)
September 16th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, Global Warming, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE
A Snapshot of Sea Ice, via NASA's Aqua satellite on Sept. 3, 2010
This image, credited to Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio, shows a snapshot of the Arctic Ice as of Sept 3 of this year.
Check out their video of last year -
Researchers will undoubtedly reference data of this kind while continuing to broaden our understanding of climate change.
In fall 2009, Arctic sea ice reached its minimum extent on about Sept. 12, and was the third lowest since satellite microwave measurements were first made in 1979. Researchers are interested in year-to-year changes, which can be highly variable, so that scientists need many years, even decades, of data to examine long-term trends. Notably, all of the major minimums have occurred in the last decade, consistent with other NASA research, which shows January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record.
September 15th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Featured Trip
Northern Lights over an Arctic Kingdom camp
Our current featured trip
offers unmatched opportunities to view and photograph polar bears. This is a five day trip offering an immersive experience of the bears, living alongside them while observing their behavior from the safety and comfort of our cabins. Along with these daytime activities, the chance to view the Northern Lights is an extra treat. Most people are aware that the Aurora are caused by solar particles interacting with Earth's atmosphere, and according to Wikipedia
, colors vary according to the element of these particles, oxygen causing green or brownish red colors, and nitrogen creating blue or red. Whereas polar bears are pretty much always white, regardless of atmospheric influence.
For more examples of the scenery you will experience in Hudson Bay as part of this excursion, check out our inspiration gallery
. And here's a few tips
on how to photograph the lights effectively.
September 13th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS
I've been delving into the history of arctic exploration, an undertaking with a seemingly endless supply of stories of determination. Sadly, a number of past expeditions have ended tragically. Worse, occasionally the fates of explorers who set out without GPS and telephone satellites
, laptops, modern cold-weather gear
, and appropriate accommodations
have remained a mystery.
Captain Brusilov and the ill-fated St. Anna. Public domain image from Russia
One such expedition was that of adventurer Georgy Brusilov
, captain of a Russian crew aboard the brig Santa Anna seeking the Arctic trade route from Asia to the west. The expedition was a failure, and until very recently the fate of the team's remains was unknown. This summer their bodies and a journal dated to May 1913 were found on the shores of Franz Josef Land, Europe's northernmost land mass. Discovery.com reports
"There is no doubt that the skeletons and notebook pages we found at the end of July on Franz Josef Land are the remains of Georgy Brusilov's expedition -- which were thought forever lost," Oleg Prodan, who led the mission in the expedition's footsteps, said.
Midway into its epic journey along the Siberian coast, after navigating the perilous Vilkitsky Strait into the Kara Sea, the expedition ran aground on thick ice floes.
One of its only two survivors, navigator Valerian Albanov, described in his memoirs two grueling winters clinging to the doomed ship and floating ever closer to the North Pole.
Untangling the history of early explorers gives perspective on how far we have come in terms of safety and security! Arctic Kingdom has extensive safety plans
and strategies in place, utilizing our highly trained team members, Inuit guides, and the most updated equipment to be prepared for any possible scenario. Tragedies, like the story Brusilov's expedition, are thankfully a thing of the past.