October 2010 - Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions

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BLOG: Archive for October, 2010

'Anirniq' Selected by Banff Mountain Film Festival

October 29th, 2010 | By | Filed in Filmmakers, Films, INUIT, TRIPS, Uncategorized

Congratulations to the folks at Brudder Productions, for the selection of their film “Anirniq” as a finalist in the prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Filmed on location at the floe edge of Pond Inlet with Arctic Kingdom in June of this year, “Anirniq” – Inuktitut for breath – is a short fable about an Inuit man confronting the loss of his father when he was a young boy on his first narwhal hunt. The story explores the Inuit belief that when someone dies their spirit goes into the living creatures around them and thus the Inuit saying: “The great peril of our existence is that our diet consists entirely of souls.”

All ‘actors’ in the film are the very same Inuit guides that assist Arctic Kingdom on the Narwhal and Polar Bear Floe Edge Adventures.

Read more –

Trekking Across the Pack Ice with Brüdder Productions

Reminder! November 2nd Webinar with Thomas Lennartz

October 27th, 2010 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, Current Trips, Team Interviews, TRIPS, Uncategorized

Be sure to register for the November 2 Floe Edge webinar with expedition leader and all around brilliant fellow, Thomas Lennartz. Thomas will be taking questions on our upcoming trips and describing exactly what you can expect to see and experience as you travel with Arctic Kingdom.

Female polar bear and five month old cub at iceberg Navy Board Lancaster Sound, Baffin Island.

Arctic Kingdom's 2010 End of Season Celebration

October 27th, 2010 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, Uncategorized

A unique event is coming up for friends of Arctic Kingdom. You’re invited to our 2010 End of Season Celebration at the elegant Spoke Club in Toronto on Monday November 8th 6:00PM – 8:30P.

This will be a great chance to meet with our team face to face, view some behind the scenes footage from Disney’s ‘Oceans’, take your shot at one of several terrific door prizes, and talk to our special guests – members of a film crew from National Geographic who are leaving with us the next day to film polar bears in James Bay.

Space is limited. Please RSVP to rsvpatarctickingdomdotcom, and read all about it rsvpatarctickingdomdotcom or at www.arctickingdom.com/events.php">here.

Disney Nature's 'Oceans' Now Available On DVD

October 23rd, 2010 | By | Filed in Filmmakers, Films, IN THE NEWS, TRIPS

Disney Nature’s ‘Oceans’ film is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. We were thrilled and honored to have been involved in the making of this incredible film. If you are interested in learning more about the logistics behind filming in the Arctic, and the resources and expertise we supply to this kind of endeavor, check out our site ArcticFilm.com

YouTube Preview Image

This clip has been posted here before, but hasn’t lost one bit of emotional impact. Graham has discussed the tender scene of the mother walrus cradling her newborn baby while swimming near Cobourg Island.

“Walruses are not only potentially dangerous, but the mothers tend to be protective of their young. So finding one, in clear water, that keeps doing her thing naturally, was pretty incredible.”

You may also recall this interview Graham gave on Canada AM to discuss Arctic Kingdom’s involvement with the film.

To purchase ‘Oceans’ online,

Disney DVD’s official site

October Newsletter

October 21st, 2010 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Current Trips, Featured Trip, Gear, TRIPS, Uncategorized, Upcoming Trip

Our October Newsletter just hit my inbox, and it’s full of special offers and upcoming news.

On November 2, 1:00pm EDT, expedition leader Thomas Lennartz is offering a live webinar to answer questions you may have on our upcoming floe edge expeditions. Pulling from his vast experience on Baffin Island, Tom will share his insights on this remarkable expedition and what you could expect to see by joining our upcoming floe edge expeditions – Narwhal and Polar Bear Floe Edge Adventure or the Ultimate Floe Edge Experience – Narwhal, Beluga and Polar Bears.

Register here to participate, it’s free and a wonderful opportunity to hear about our trips straight from the source.

An update on our 2011 trips – if you are thinking of booking, now is a great time to do so.

Our floe edge trips we find always sell out first and the 2011 Narwhal and Polar Bear Floe Edge Adventure is no exception this year being once again one of our most popular trips. June departures are already 50% sold-out. If you are considering an Arctic trip for 2011 to visit a floe edge – in particular to see the mystical Narwhal, please contact us soon to reserve your spot. Trip departures are limited to only 8 participants. You can take advantage of our Special Booking offer if you book before November 25th.

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.

How Do You Map The History of Your Country?

October 15th, 2010 | By | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art, Uncategorized

We’ve talked a number of times on this blog about the preservation of the Inuit language and culture, from both a scientific an educational point of view. Discussing the culture of the Arctic in terms of preservation alone is misleading, Inuktitut is a living language, currently spoken and being passed down to the next generation. The Arctic Bay Atlas is one more way in which the community is working to continue the transmission of this knowledge.

The Cybercartographic Atlas of Arctic Bay is an online, community-based atlas project to engage youth and Elders of Arctic Bay, Nunavut in researching, documenting, and representing their multi-faceted spatial knowledge. It involves a partnership between Nunavut Youth Consulting, the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC) at Carleton University, and Nunavut Arctic College.

The Atlas includes an interactive spoken map of Inuktitut place names in the Arctic Bay Region. These place names are spoken by local Inuktitut speakers. The Atlas also features downloadable PDF maps, local artists profiles, and an interactive map of the 2008 Nunavut Quest, an annual inter-community dog sled that begins in Igloolik and ends in Arctic Bay.

I personally find the ‘Spoken Map‘ page extremely valuable, as my knowledge of Inuktitut is theoretical rather than practical. Studying pronunciation guides is one place to start, yet nothing compares to hearing a language from a native speaker. Hover over each location on the map with your mouse to hear an audio clip of its name, click for further multimedia. There are several more pages on the site, including downloadable PDF maps showing locations of significance and the stories behind their importance to the Inuit people of Nunavut.

Read more –


Pronunciation Guide

Lessons and more links

Conservation and Polar Bears

October 13th, 2010 | By | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Current Events, IN THE NEWS, Scientists, Upcoming Trip

Tying in nicely with some of our current scheduled trips, which focus on viewing and appreciating Polar Bears in the wild; Nissan has released this sweet commercial, which speaks to the conservation-minded animal lover in all of us.

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Add to this a bit of good news for organizations working to protect polar bears and conserve their natural territory, the National Geographic blog posted this interview with Polar Bears International’s newest chief scientist, Steven Amstrup.

From the interview –

In those days, the now bright bulb of global climate warming was dimly lit, and its potential effects on polar bears and their habitats were poorly understood. James Hansen had given his famous testimony before Congress only a few years before, and as we all know it had not received the attention it deserved.

But, of course, in those days, our understandings were at a pretty low level. The observational record of sea ice change was short, and the causes of observed changes were only beginning to be understood.

The major declines in perennial sea ice that occurred in 1989 and 1990 were thought by many of us to be the result of a coincidence of natural factors, and it has been only with the benefit of our retrospective views and the increasing knowledge base that we can put those losses into proper perspective.

Similarly, climate modeling has improved by leaps and bounds in subsequent years.

In discussing why exactly he chose to work with Polar Bears International

To be the most effective advocate for polar bears, PBI needed to have its own polar bear expert. After almost 40 years as a researcher and 30 years studying polar bears, I wanted a pulpit from which I could effectively share and interpret the wisdom I have gained during that time. This seemed a very good fit.

Arctic Kingdom Featured for use of Technology

October 12th, 2010 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Gear, IN THE NEWS, TECHNOLOGY

Expedition Manager Thomas Lennartz takes advantage of our in-the-field communications

A case study on Arctic Kingdom is currently featured on Intel Canada’s home page as part of their series of ‘Success Stories‘, discussing how small businesses in Canada are embracing technology to increase productivity, solve problems, and push forward innovation.

From the case study –

Arctic Kingdom depends on mobile technology solutions, supported by a dependable network server infrastructure powered exclusively by Intel, to keep expedition leaders and travelers informed and safe. Arctic Kingdom Marine Expeditions Inc. started in 1999 when Graham Dickson led the first expedition to dive with walruses and bowhead whales in the arctic. Within a few short years, the tourism company expanded from offering land-based arctic tours and dive trips to supporting film and television crews working in the North, including location management for Disneynature’s Oceans.

In addition, Arctic Kingdom works with specialists in polar science from around the world including managing research campaigns for the Alfred Wegner Institute in Germany, Environment Canada, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the University of Alberta.

To ensure ongoing communication links with head office and other emergency services, Arctic Kingdom sets up its own IT infrastructure in the camps to support satellite phones, GPS data, ice mapping, SMS messages and even blog or Twitter updates. They have also set up post-production blackout tents for precise colour-corrected monitors.

You can download the study, to read more about the specifics of some of the tech gear we rely on in the field, why we choose it, and how well it holds up in the specific conditions in which we work.

(Download will require Adobe reader, free and available here if you don’t have it.)

Drinking 100,000 Year Old Glacier Water

October 11th, 2010 | By | Filed in Current Events, Global Warming, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE

Via Gizmodo, it’s rough being an arctic scientist. Research generally takes the form of deep sea exploration, crunching data from satellites, or drilling core samples deep into a glacier. This kind of work does have its plus side, Gizmodo links to this interview with scientist Dr. Paul Mayewski, Director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine as he discusses the logistics of core drilling, the science behind analyzing the samples, and of course, what the water tastes like.

I ran a program in Greenland that recovered what was probably the deepest core that will ever be recovered in the Northern Hemisphere, from the center of Greenland. It took us three summers of reconnaissance to find the site — just traversing across Greenland a few times, on the snow — and then it took five summers, each three to four months long, to actually drill down a little more than 10,000 ft. That was a major effort, but it had a big reward. We discovered what are called “Abrupt Climate Change Events” — the fact that the climate system can go through dramatic shifts in less than a year or two, and then stay in new states for several hundred years as a consequence.

While there’s no scientific value in drinking the water (once it’s been fully tested, of course), it’d be hard to resist the urge to take a sip. According to Mayewski –

It tastes about as clean as anything can taste. It doesn’t have a lot of anything in it. When you’ve pulled water out of a stream flowing from a glacier it would probably have a lot of nutrients and particles floating in it, because it comes from the base of the glacier. But if you’re sampling high up in the glacier, as we are, you’re only getting what the atmosphere has deposited over a very short period of time — maybe a couple of days or weeks. So it tastes very, very clean.

Inspiration Friday

October 8th, 2010 | By | Filed in Photographers, TRIPS

While researching articles for this blog, I frequently come across stunning images which I’d love to share, but have no direct link to an applicable story. With that in mind, consider this an ‘Inspiration Friday’, sit back and take in the splendor and beauty of the arctic area. And if you are considering contacting us for more information on one of our upcoming trips, we have some great options for every adventure level. As beautiful as these photographs are, imagine seeing all of this in person.

Photo attributed to Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard via U.S. Geological Survey

Photo by Nick Russill

Photo Attributed to Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard via U.S. Geological Survey

Photo attributed to Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard via U.S. Geological Survey

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