November 6th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Diving, Projects, Recent Trips
Jason Hillier, one of Arctic Kingdom's senior Team Members, spent 17 days aboard our charter vessel M V Cape Race in September. He has shared his log entries with us.
M V Cape Race at sea
September 1, 2014 - Qikiqtarjuaq, NU - Day One aboard MV Cape Race
Today, we set sail on a "reverse" course of Arctic Kingdom's The Best of Labrador, Baffin Island and Greenland. Stepping out of the airport, I was struck by my luck; a sunny, warm day and no wind. It was a great day to get on a ship and start an adventure!
After meeting the crew, who had strolled up the road to the airport to find me, once they saw the plane land, we piled into a Zodiac to make our way to my home for the next 17 days.
We were sailing from Baffin Island to the Torngats in Labrador, through the Strait of Belle Island and down the west coast of my home province to the island of Newfoundland. We were bringing 12 university scientists on an epic voyage to collect data and samples of everything from kelp to invertebrates to freshwater algae. We would also conduct bird surveys.
The team consisted of cold water divers and "inter-tidalers" that we affectionately referred to as Team Bear Bait as they are biologists who wade through inter-tidal zones collecting specimens. Our Parks Canada Bear Monitor was on board to ensure everyone was safe and sound throughout all the shore excursions, both inside and outside the National Park. But it’s always fun to tease.
May 2nd, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Filmmakers, Films, Projects, TRIPS
Recently Arctic Kingdom was contacted by NBC- Universal Films to provide location suggestions for certain ice conditions needed to complete visual effects plates for the the upcoming Drew Barrymore film - Everybody Loves Whales.
The plot of the film sounds great
, "A nonprofit aid worker and a government worker spark as they work together in the effort to free three California gray whales who have become trapped under the ice of the Arctic Circle." It's slated for a January 2012 release
Kuujjuaq, Nunavik was our suggestion, and it came through with flying colours. Ice floes, pans of ice, ice ridges and perfect weather conditions made for the perfect 2 day film shoot. We've shared a few highlights from our photo story here, check out our Facebook page
for a full gallery of these exclusive behind-the-scenes photos.
In the hanger with film gear.
Helicopter loaded with an aerial camera mount. Arctic Kingdom shipped this up to Kuujjuaq from Toronto.
The full ground film crew with our excellent guides Junior, Sammy and Tommy.
Incredible views at the edge of the ice.
July 5th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Filmmakers, Films, Projects, Team Interviews
I don't know about you, but my favorite part of the recent Disneynature film Oceans
was the walrus mother hugging her pup close as she teaches him to navigate the ice cold water off Cobourg Island.
Maybe I'm biased. After all, this was just some of the fabulous footage captured by Disneynature crews working with Arctic Kingdom. And, despite un-self conscious the ease with which the walrus cradles her young, the shoot was not without its challenges. In a recent article posted at the Canada Tourism Centre's Media center, AK founder Graham Dickson explains:
“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.”
Graham goes on to explain that finding animals in the wild is just one of the challenges of filming Arctic wildlife.
“The challenge is to find meaningful connections” between the animals, he says. Some animals are frankly too self-conscious; they’re so aware of the dive crews that they aren’t … themselves. Sometimes, strangely enough, the most intimidating animals make the most fittingly Zen subjects. Like, for example, a big alpha-male polar bear, caught at a moment when he’s well fed and king of all he surveys. Bears in such conditions “are almost blasé,” Dickson says. “They don’t care that you’re around. They don’t fear you. You’re not part of their food chain.”
Arctic Kingdom's secret lies in the relationships we've formed over years of working and returning to the Arctic. Meaningful connections built between our expedition leaders and the local guides we work with help us to find and form connections with the wild creatures that make the Arctic their home.
"[The Inuit] have the strongest connection of anyone to the wildlife," Dickson says. Roughly half of Arctic Kingdom’s field personnel team comes from the local native communities. "We work not only with youth but with very old elders who don’t speak English. We’re a ‘southern’ company that has spent enough time in the North to actually know some Northern ways. We bring the sophisticated logistics, but we still plug into the local community network and everything the Inuit hold near and dear."
By relying on the traditional knowledge of Inuit guides, Arctic Kingdom is providing jobs for far northern communities that draws upon traditional knowledge and values, helping build and strengthen the Arctic economy for a changing future. Simultaneously, we're helping other "southerners" connect with the world of the North (including some extremely photogenic walruses). Not a bad way to make a living!
Disney's secret weapon: Canadian Arctic footage in new doc 'Oceans.' | Media centre | Canadian Tourism Commission
June 29th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Films, Projects
Say you want to film some narwhals. How do you know where to go? When should you arrive for the best chance of encountering migrating whales? How will you get there? How can you protect your equipment from cold and moisture, and how do you know when it's safe to get in the water?
Luckily, you don't have to answer these questions all by yourself
. Check out ArcticFilm.com
for more information on how we help make filmmakers' visions into reality.
June 13th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Gear, Projects, Recent Trips
, here is the video footage of the airplane recovery operation in Queen Maude Land, Antarctica that Arctic Kingdom collaborated on with Katabatic Consulting
and Kenn Borek Air
. I love this video, because it really gives a sense of the scope of the operation, which involved rescuing, repairing and flying a downed plane from its location on a remote Antarctic plateau 3,300 meters above sea level.
Arctic Kingdom provided the camp infrastructure, facilitating Katabatic's
onsite repair and salvage operation and providing the necessary equipment for a successful outcome.
June 10th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Gear, Projects, TRIPS
We recently collaborated with Katabatic Medical Consulting
and Kenn Borek Air Ltd.
on the salvage of a crash-landed DC-3. Located at a site over 3,300 meters above sea level in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, the remote crash site presented a number of challenges, including the logistical puzzle of supplying an operation at such a remote and location.
Mike Tayloe of Katabatic called upon Arctic Kingdom to outfit the mission. "We had very specific needs and very tight schedule," Tayloe notes. "Arctic Kingdom was able to facilitate any and everything we asked for, supplying the appropriate equipment to support Katabatic Consulting's needs for a successful project outcome."
Based on Katabatic's specifications Arctic Kingdom was able to procure, pack and ship the necessary equipment -- including tents from the High Arctic -- in under three weeks. This sort of world-wide logistical management is what we specialize in, ensuring that every one of our expeditions is outfitted on time and on budget, without compromising safety or quality.
Tune in tomorrow for video footage of the recovery operation!
May 3rd, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, Current Trips, FEATURED, Projects, TRIPS, Trips
The first exploratory snowmobile expedition from Grise Fiord – Canada’s most northerly community, to Resolute Bay was just completed a couple of days ago with polar bears seen on every day of the trip. For a total distance of 550km across Jones Sound, over Devon Island, across the Wellington Channel and finally down Cornwallis Island the trip allowed us to visit Bear Bay in Jones Sound where as the name suggests, many polar bears were seen. From young juvenile bears to even a 12’ giant we were able to witness bears in their natural element. An added bonus were the herd of muskoxen seen on Devon Island as we made the traverse to the Wellington Channel.
Below is a photo summary of the trip, from icebergs, to mother and cubs to the fiord we traveled down on inaugural trip.
Read the rest of this entry »
Our Inuit guides calmly talked to the bear while it approached. As the polar bears approach, one raises your arms to appear bigger and make noise to make yourself appear bigger than them. After a while the bear lost interest and wandered away.
February 8th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | 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!
August 27th, 2009 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, Photographers, Projects
With its breathtaking scenery and amazing wildlife, the Arctic is a photographer's dream. Over the last decade, we've accumulated literally tens of thousands of images on our expeditions, captured by team members, expedition leaders, and trip participants.
Qaanaaq, Greenland April 2006. Photo by Louise Murray.
Right now, we're in the midst of uploading and tagging images from our collection onto Flickr
. Though many of these images can also be found in our gallery and throughout the website, the Flickr page gives us the opportunity to upload more photos from recent trips and the archives, tag photos with geographical information, and connect with other Arctic enthusiasts from around the world. Visit our photostream
to check out our latest uploads.
July 14th, 2009 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, Projects
The Arctic is a land of contradictions, remote from it's southern neighbors and ever-present within the world ecosystem, both ancient and at the very forefront of climate change and the global response to those changes. And just as they have throughout history, the Arctic's inhabitants are rising to the new challenges global climate change presents.
Writing for the Arctic Kingdom blog, I often feel overwhelmed by the constant flow of dire news that comes out of the Arctic. Declining animal populations, the loss of sea ice, and the many seemingly unstoppable forces already at play in the global climate can sometimes seem like insurmountable problems.
But there is still hope to be found in the global effort to preserve and protect the Arctic and its inhabitants. Here at Arctic Kingdom, we're proud to be involved with Arctic Hope
, a "cooperative project intended to help the arctic region adapt to a shifting world. The main goals are to strengthen the viability, resiliency and sustainability of the region through mutual education and collaboration with indigenous communities." Visit the website
for more details on how you can get involved!