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2014 Field Program

Student blogs: jaxonstel.blogspot.ca

6 October, 2014

Hi, my name is Hannah James and I graduated in June from Gulf Islands Secondary School on Salts Spring Island B.C., a small island between Vancouver and Victoria. Browsing the internet days before I left for the north I passed a quote by Maya Angelou. At the time I knew that the quote was likely to resonate with me throughout this trip, but I didn't know how much it would. It states: 'Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away'. Not knowing what exactly to expect in the weeks to come I promised myself to remember these moments and to write them down. From polar bears, phenomenal sunsets, breathtaking views, flotillas of ice islands to the endless laughter there is much to be remembered.

Most had fallen into the habit of not going to breakfast, forgoing food for the extra 90 minutes of sleep before our morning meeting. Today however, we were all groggily in the kitchen at sometime over the hour. We had packed out bags and cleaned our rooms all the baggage was assembled in our main meeting room. Last minute we got a quick tour of the moon pool, a large hole in the hull of the ship that can be opened to release the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) which meant we'd seen the majority of the equipment on board. What remained was a tough goodbye to the scientists and crew who had been so kind and welcoming to our group.

Soon enough the helicopter had been fueled and the shuttling started. Traveling in the same groups with which we boarded we were brought to the Iqaliut Airport where many of the luxuries of land were quickly available. Phone calls and wifi were something we had only wished for the convenience of on board and all of a sudden had.

All our stuff dropped off at out hotel we headed for l'Ecole des Trois Soleils to give a presentation of our journey to two classes. It felt conclusive seeing all the photos in a classroom on land, we were all going home, the story was complete. Something that seemed like a far away reality on board, the microcosm of ship life totally isolating us from the imminent nature of our goodbyes had arrived. Wandering Iqaliut that evening we saw much of what northern city life is like, many even got to satisfy their craving for Tim Hortons. The city lit up at night, the dull day time colors turning into a smattering of illuminated areas. Being able to see the area around us at night was disorienting as on the Amundsen we'd been totally absorbed by the dark. Souvenirs were bought and we had our last group dinner before going to a movie in our hotel.

Tomorrow we fly south then spread ourselves back across the country with an unparalleled story to tell: one of change, of beauty, of learning, of urgency and of friendship. It is a story that will change individually and with time but one that I'll treasure forever.

Figure 1. One last helicopter ride
Figure 2. Moon Pool
Figure 3. Iqaluit from the Air


5 October, 2014

"You have to leave so you get to miss it", a new friend said solemnly, breaking the pensive silence we shared as several of us spent our last night on the darkened bridge together. We were standing close, watching the waves crash against the bow as the bridge crew skillfully worked together to navigate the boat through a narrow channel in Frobisher Bay.

Her words spoke to a collective feeling we all shared after a day of tying up loose ends. The main focus of our day was taking the time to sit and discuss together the people on the Amundsen who had made our time particularly special, both scientists and crew.

The Schools on Board team found ourselves excitedly sharing stories of all of the amazing things we had done over the last ten days: the eerie feeling of stepping onto the bridge after midnight as the ship hit ice for the first time, and the awe we felt as we experienced the awesome power of an icebreaker. The first night of sampling where we all got to jump straight into the lives of the research scientists, and the exhilaration of that which fuelled us through a long night of work. Standing on deck with scientists and crew as we all collectively drank in the amazing beauty of polar bears, fjords, and the general beauty of our surroundings. Having crew and officers take the time to chat with us about their jobs and life on board, giving us tours of places like the engine room and going absolutely out of their way to make us feel welcome, and share insight into their jobs and life on board. Laughing together with the scientists and crew as we all slid back and forth at meal times during rough times at sea. We talked and laughed and wrote out thank you cards and chose gifts for these special people who made our time on board so unforgettable.

We then dressed up for our last formal Sunday dinner, enjoyed a lovely meal together, and gathered in the crew lounge for the much anticipated announcement of the winners of the creative photo contest that the bridge officer, Thierry, had organized earlier in the week. We had a lot of fun creating our entry into the contest as a group, and were ecstatic to learn that we had won first place! It was a wonderful thing that just enhanced the feeling of being a part of the family of the Amundsen we were all experiencing after our reflective day.

The merriment continued as we stayed chatting with scientists and crew until they all joined us for our farewell presentation. We sat together and watched a slideshow of our time on board, featuring photos of all aspects of our adventure, and most of the 80 of us on board. The happiness in the room was palpable, and students, teachers, scientists, crew, and officers all shared our impressions of our journey together. We all left feeling very thankful to have shared this time together, learning with and from one another.

After this day that had very little to do with science, but was very much about taking time to appreciate our experiences and show gratitude, several of us made our way up the bridge for one last nighttime visit to take in the stunning moonlit views; a ritual that for some of us helped provide a quiet time for reflection each evening before bed.

"You have to leave so you get to miss it". Her words sank in as I stood there quietly, trying my best to process not only the events of our last full day aboard our temporary home, and the many connections I have made, but also what this whole trip has meant to me as a lover of science, a teacher, and a person passionate about travel and adventure. I think it will take some time for the full impact of this experience to coalesce in my mind, but I do know that I am sad to leave tomorrow, but so excited to go home with a renewed passion for Arctic science, and to share the many things I have learned with my students and my community.

- Beth Sampson, science and math teacher at Kiilinik High School, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Figure 1. Dressed up for last Sunday dinner on board
Figure 2. Schools on Board takes 1st prize in the photo contest with this one.
Figure 3. Saying goodbye to Don Forbes, Chief Scientist. (Beth Sampson left, Michelle Watts, right)
Figure 4. Message left on white board….
Figure 5. The bridge at night is a magical place to be (photo by David L. Labrie)


4 October, 2014

Cape Dyer, au cercle arctique, 65° 55’N, 61° 04’ O , 0 °C, ciel dégagé, vents de 10-20 km/h, vagues < 1m. Jean-François Blouin, Whitehorse, Yukon, conseiller pédagogique pour la commission scolaire francophone du Yukon.

«Bonne fête à Michelle, bonne fête bonne fête, bonne fête à Michelle...»Un membre de l’équipage a découvert qu’aujourd’hui était l’anniversaire d’une membre de l’équipe École à bord et a demandé au chef de cuisine de préparer une pointe de gâteau avec des chandelles. Lorsque le gâteau est apparu dans la salle à manger, une trentaine de personnes se sont mises à chanter l’air bien connu de tous. Un matelot me faisait remarquer que c’était important de souligner les anniversaires et de s’occuper les uns des autres à bord, puisque nous sommes tous loin de nos familles pour des semaines durant. Les membres de l’équipage forment une famille, partagent les repas à la même table, travaillent de longues heures de jour ou de nuit, bravent les intempéries sur le pont, tous des situations qui resserrent les liens. Je remerciais une matelot pour le beau plancher tout luisant du couloir qui mène à ma chambre et elle m’a répondu: «ce n’est pas seulement moi, mais toute notre équipe qui veillons à ce que tout soit propre et fonctionne bien». L’équipage doit parfois travailler loin de toute civilisation jusqu’à 6 semaines d’affilées, d’où l’importance de former une équipe solide.

Sur le plan des sciences

Dans l’Arctique, les chaines alimentaires sont beaucoup moins complexes, moins ramifiées et dépendent d’un moins grand nombre d’individus qu’à des latitudes plus au sud. Ceci a pour effet de les rendre plus fragiles à la variation où à la disparition d’un des membres de la chaine. D’autant plus que les producteurs primaires (végétaux), à la base de toute chaine, se trouvent presque exclusivement dans l’océan, parce la croissance de végétaux sur le sol en Arctique se limite à quelques herbes et aucun arbre en haute latitude et à aucun végétal terrestre dans la région près du pôle Nord due à l’absence de continent. La production primaire repose, en grande partie, sur les algues. La communauté scientifique accorde beaucoup d’importance à comprendre les facteurs clés à la base de la bonne santé des algues ou mieux connus ici par le phytoplancton.

Puisque le phytoplancton supporte directement ou indirectement tout ce qui est vivant, il est primordial de comprendre de quoi dépend la survie du phytoplancton. Isabelle, étudiante à la maitrise de l’ISMER se penche sur la présence des nutriments des algues dans l’océan. Puisque la glace recouvre l’Arctique pour 9 à 10 mois de l’année, Karley Campbell, étudiante au doctorat de l’université du Manitoba, concentre ses recherches sur la croissance du phytoplancton dans la glace de la banquise.

Demain nous poursuivrons notre transit vers Iqaluit et présenterons en soirée un diaporama d’au revoir aux membres d’équipage et aux scientifiques en guise de remerciement.


3 October, 2014

Hi my name is Alysha Maksagak. I live in Cambridge Bay NU and I attend Kiilinik high school.

Day 9- Another day of sampling and I loved every second of it! Today all of the students got put into groups to help out the scientists with their samples. Steve and I were put in the V-tow (Vertical tow). A V- tow is a net that is placed in the water vertically and specifically catches zooplankton at different depths in the water column. (Seen in Figure 1) Steve and I didn't get a chance to set up the net because the science crew were on a tight schedule, but we did get to sort out arrow worms with Jordan Grigor, a PhD student from Quebec. (Seen in figure 2) Jordan was looking for two specific types of arrow worms: the Parasagitta elegans and the Eukrohnia hamata. Like many marine animals in the Arctic scientists know very little about these two arrow worms.

First we had to sort out all of the arrow worm from all of the rest of the zooplankton in a bucket. My friend Hannah, who is also a participant on the Schools on Board program said, ''Finding translucent zooplankton in a bucket of water is a lot harder that 'Where's Waldo'.'' (seen in figure 3) I totally agree with her, but I do really enjoy searching for them. After we sorted all of the arrow worms I had to put each individual worm under a microscope and identify which species it was. Then I would pass them over to Steve and he would measure how long it was. I love how much ''hands on'' work we do with the scientists in the Schools on Board Program. I think this trip was a great experience for me to witness how the scientists work, because this is the type of life style I want when I grow up and have a career as a Marine Biologist.

Figure 1. The scientist setting up the V-tow for its launch.
Figure 2. Jordan is teaching us how to filter out the unwanted zooplankton.
Figure 3. Hannah and I are searching for Arrow worms


2 October, 2014

I’m Stephanie Chacon-Vega, from Elmwood High School in Winnipeg, MB. Today is day eight of our expedition on the Amundsen. I woke up to the swaying of the ship, and the slight creaking of the walls in protest. Last night, we went back to transit, after staying in one place for nearly two days for sample collecting. After leaving the safety of Clark Fjord, we hit considerably rougher waters. The rocking of the ship, while usually not bothersome, is noticeable and constant. Walking in a straight line is a struggle for most of us.

As usual, the team met up after breakfast to discuss the plans for the day. We started drawing up the “blueprints” for our presentation, meant to be shared with our schools once we return to our hometowns. We divided up the work between the team members to efficiently create an informative presentation.

The main event of the day was the conference call with our schools. The team gathered around the phone, introduced ourselves to everyone on the line, and answered questions asked by our respective schools. CCGS captain Alain Lacerte and chief scientist Dr.Don Forbes welcomed everyone onboard. It was interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts on different aspects of the trip, and to gain new perspectives. After the call, we learned about the Laws of the Sea from Don Forbes, the chief scientist, and the work that goes into negotiating boundaries and territory in the Arctic.

While this wasn’t the most eventful day of the trip, it was certainly an important and productive one, with everyone working as a team and building bonds.

Figure 1. Preparing to dial into the conference call from the ship.
Figure 2. Captain Alain Lacerte welcomes everyone onboard the CCGS Amundsen
Figure 3. Dr. Don Forbes, chief scientist discusses sovereignty issues and the important role scientists play in determining political boundaries
Figure 4. Jaxon (Penticton, BC) and Steve (Dauphin, MB) working on their slides for the presentation


1 October, 2014

“Cent mètres.” “Cent mètres!” these depth calls echoed from one crew member to another. Blanketed by the night in Clark Fjord, sampling had begun. Illuminated by the spotlights, instruments were lowered and raised, data was being collected, and for many of the scientists that was a huge relief. For us, the students, the science lectures had finally morphed into sampling and the feeling on board changed from uncertainty to excitement for the opportunity. Jeans and hoodies were traded for the immaculate floater suits and hard hats that had swung and rolled in the rough seas. Steel-toed boots were laced up and we were ready to go. Or, how the group puts it: we were 'Ready to science!'

Hi, my name is Hannah James and I graduated in June from Gulf Islands Secondary School on Salts Spring Island B.C., a small island between Vancouver and Victoria. While on board, I had the chance to spend some time with Karley Campbell, a PhD student from UofM filtering water from the Rosette cast that had happened earlier in the day. The Rosette takes conductivity, temperature, and depth readings and has a set of 24 bottles that can be triggered to open/close at different depths. This allows a complete water column profile/analysis. On one of these casts I had the opportunity to attach a bag of styrofoam cups from two elementary school classes to the housing into which the bottles fit. Under extreme pressure these cups compress. When the rosette returned to the surface the results were much better than I could've imagined! This is part to return to the school upon my return to share this with the students.

I donned my safety gear, joining the students already on the foredeck to do two different tows with nets of various sizes to try to capture a variety of zooplankton. The activity came in bursts; the insanity of deploying an instrument followed by the waiting as it was lowered or towed as desired. These bursts are accompanied by long periods of biting winds and anticipation. Between preparing the nets, processing samples, and waiting many of us were up past 3 am. Overnight we transited to a new fjord, just 30 minutes from the previous one, to the next sample spot.

October 1
Much of the same sampling as was done last night took place again today: 2 rosette casts, 2 net casts, 3 unique benthic studies plus much activity in the labs. I worked through samples that will be processed for contaminant analysis, one benthic study, and one zooplankton tow. The feeling of being on deck is exhilarating; the combination of breathtaking scenery and intensity of sampling amplifies the importance of the activities and products of what is happening on board. Snow dusted, steep cliffs bank each side of the ship, small glaciers cascading down some faces make our time scale feel temporary, the visible culmination of nine glaciations emphasizing the fragility of our existence.

The sampling completed and the ship sailing down the Baffin coast it's hard to forget, and not appreciate how lucky I am to be here. From the generosity of the scientists and crew, our luck with weather and wildlife, the scenery, and the other group members it's been an amazing week and I'm excited for the remainder of the voyage.

Fig 1. All suited up for working on the deck in Clark Fjord
Fig 2. Going with Line Bourdage to attach the cups to the rosette housing
Fig 3. Cleanup after benthic sampling with box cores
Fig 4. Stunning landscape of Gibbs Fjord


30 September, 2014

How often do you wake up in the morning because rough waves from the Arctic Ocean are rocking you from one side of your bed to the other? This was just the start of an extremely eventful day for everyone on the CCGS Amundsen. At lunch the cafeteria was packed full of master’s students, scientists, and participants of the Schools on Board program who were all thinking the same thing as waves crashed against the ship. “Hopefully the waves don’t send my lunch flying across the cafeteria.” Fortunately, everyone had finished eating before the largest waves rocked the ship severely. I was sitting in a common room when waves started splashing against a porthole directly behind me and I knew it was a matter of time before objects started to be thrown around the ship. Almost exactly as I was thinking that, a wave crashed against the ship and Juliana (from Montreal, Quebec) was forced off of her couch as it shifted across the room. At the same time I could hear the sound of plates and silverware falling off the tables in the cafeteria as people who were caught off guard shrieked.

Our intriguing day continued as we viewed a plethora of presentations by a variety of people on the ship. Our first presentation was given by a talented and experienced journalist from France named Laurence Pivot. She works for a well known weekly news magazine called L’Express. Laurence’s presentation was about how to engage your readers. Next, Cyril Aubry, a scientist from Université Laval, gave a presentation on bioacoustics and how sound travels great distances in the ocean. The SX90 Sonar can measure up to two kilometers away from the ship. The last presentation of the day was by Noémie Friscourt and Laurence Paquette, who are both doing their Masters at ISMER in Rimouski, Quebec. I enjoyed it a lot because it was about benthic ecology, which is the study of organisms that live near the sea floor. All of the presentations I saw today were very well thought out and executed flawlessly. As interesting as the presentations are I’m anxious for tonight because we are supposed to start taking samples and doing some real science if weather permits. My name is Steve Desroches and I am a student at the Dauphin Regional Secondary School in Dauphin Manitoba.

Figure 1. The rough waves that were crashing against the ship this morning.
Figure 2. The aftermath of the waves that hit the ship at lunch time.
Figure 3. Cyril Aubry giving his presentation on sound traveling in the ocean as several students pay close attention.
Figure 4. In Scott’s Inlet, Baffin Island, NU


29 September, 2014

For an introduction, my name is Nina Zhang, a grade twelve student sent by School District #59 to come aboard this fantastic voyage across the Canadian Arctic region and through the Northwest Passage. My gratitude towards my sponsors, my school- Dawson Creek Secondary and the School District #59 is truly ineffable for providing me with this amazing opportunity. This encouragement for science and learning is exemplary, and I appreciate the fact that I was permitted to take advantage of such an experience to develop both mentally as well as personally

Although I lived in the relatively petite town of Dawson Creek, which is located in the mid latitudes, or northern British Columbia, the Arctic weather surprised me greatly- and in a positive manner. Where I had expected grey skies and vast landscapes painted in watered hues of navy, the Arctic was surprisingly pristine, clear and piercing in terms of its idyllic scenery. Drastic perhaps- but such contrast and divergence only attributes to such unique picturesque beauty.

A number of things happened today, a group photo-shoot; a tour of the Rosette operating station; being invited to examine zooplankton in Jordan Grigor and Cyril Aubry’s lab; a presentation by Gabriel Joyal (all from Université Laval); observation on the bridge; and even conducting our own experiments regarding ice melt depending on variability of salinity levels. To discuss each one without its own paragraph and accentuations would be to not do justice to the exceptionality of the experience itself. Therefore, I’ve decided to elaborate upon one of the activities that interested me the most, which was the tour of the Rosette equipment with the Rosette operator Line Bourdages (McGill University). The Rosette is an instrument designed to detect numerous factors involving oceanography, from density, salinity, convection, temperature, to actually taking samples of the water columns itself. When the Rosette is deployed, the 24 bottles used to collect water samples are open while the other sensors located at the bottom of the Rosette measures the gas, nutrient, and composition of the water.

The information is then transmitted to the operator lab and is displayed on screen as line profiles to document possible areas of interest where scientists may wish to sample water from. The positioning and depth of points of interest are then recorded. On the way up, the Rosette collects samples of water by closing the lids of the bottles at pre-determined depths. Water passing through is trapped within the bottle, while pressure remains stable due to equal volume and density both within and outside of the Rosette encapsulations. Three bottles are specifically assigned to test bathypelagic zones. What appealed to me about the Rosette instrument was the ingenious technological quality so specifically designed to study oceanography. It was an enlightening and aspiring example of human innovation, which made me wonder- this power of creativity and invention distinctive to our species, would it be applied to advance humanity along a path of capitalization and expenditure, or sustainability and enterprise?

Figure 1a. Schools on Board participants
Figure 1b. Navy Board Strait just south Bylot Island
Figure 2. Alysha (SonB participant), Line (Rosette operator), and myself
Figure 3. Rosette deployment
Figure 4. Zooplankton lab
Figure 5. Zooplankton samples taken from Leg 3b of the expedition


28 September, 2014

Hi, I’m Jennifer White (see figure 1). I’m from Inuvik Northwest Territories and I attend East Three Secondary School. Today at 7am the Amundsen went through the Bellot Straight, it was kind of rough. Later on we had three super interesting presentations. The first was split into three parts and was done by Robert Deering (MSc student, Memorial University), Bob Murphy (GSC) and Robbie Bennett (GSC)(see figure 2). The presentation done by Robert was about the changing sea levels in the Canadian arctic. We learned that water is most dense at 4 degrees Celsius and when the temperature is increased it causes water to expand. Bob and Robbie did the next presentation and it was about piston coring (see figure 3). It was pretty funny because they all have the first name Robert and they all work together.

In the next presentation, Mark Maftei (researcher with Environment Canada) told us about arctic birds. His main focus was on a bird called Ross’s gull and it is one of the most unknown birds in the arctic. After that our last two presentations were done by Laurence Pivot, who is a journalist and by Gilles Rapaport (L’Express) who is an illustrator. Laurence writes for L’Express magazine and she will be writing a story about the Amundsen. The artist Gilles does illustrating for books. He is illustrating something to go along with Laurence’s article and he is also planning on illustrating another series about the Amundsen.

During the day we came across the CCGS Des Groseilliers on their way home (see figure 4). Using a helicopter they came aboard our ship and to restock items such as milk. Even in the Northwest Passage you can go on a milk run! Since today was Sunday we got to switch things up a bit and we got to have a fancy dinner where everyone dressed up. Half of the Schools on Board team got to eat upstairs with the officers, which was a nice change because so far we haven’t had much of a chance to socialize with the officers yet.

Figure 1. Picture of me taken south of Bellot Island
Figure 2. Bob and Robert suited up and ready to work.
Figure 3. The presenters are explaining the different parts of the piston coring, while the Schools on Board students view them.
Figure 4. The CCGS Des Groseilliers sailing by.


27 September, 2014

Hi, my name is Juliana Yang; I live in Montréal where I attend Lower Canada College. I feel incredibly fortunate to be on board the Amundsen and to be traveling the Northwest Passage; the trip has been full of crazy experiences.

The day started fairly early, at midnight. After receiving news that we would be breaking our first ice sometime that night, the group set their alarms for 12:00am. When the time came we piled on layers and climbed our way to the bridge, where we joined a few other scientists and navigation officer (Thierry Villeneuve) and the wheelsman (David Labrie). For a couple of hours we all waited in anticipation of encountering our first sea ice.

During that time, a few students were given the opportunity to briefly drive the ship under close supervision of the coast guard crew. Pretty soon I was sitting in the wheelsman’s seat steering the Amundsen. It felt awesome to be driving a Canadian Coast Guard ship through the Northwest Passage in the middle of the night, and I still can’t believe I had that opportunity. After breaking that first ice around 2:00 am, the group said their goodbyes and goodnights and climbed back into bed for a few more hours of sleep.

Later on in the day we received some excellent presentations by Jordan Grigor (Université Laval) on Arctic marine ecosystems and zooplankton, and by Masayo Ogi (University of Manitoba) and Kensuke Komatsu (Mie, Japan) on atmospheric data collection. They were all incredibly eye opening and interesting, and helped me add pieces to the puzzle of Arctic climate change.

At lunch, the ship received an announcement that there was a polar bear coming up in the ice, on the port side of the ship, to which the entire cafeteria dropped their food and rushed to the deck. For many on the ship, including me, this would be my first polar bear sighting. Although my fingers may still be a bit numb from the cold, it was well worth it to get some glimpses and pictures of this majestic animal.

The day was long, tiring and cold, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The landscapes and creatures we encountered today were incredibly powerful and unbelievably beautiful.

Figure 1a. Juliana Yang, Lower Canada College
Figure 1b. Wheelsman’s seat in the bridge
Figure 2. Polar bear on ice in Victoria Strait just off Admiralty Island (18 miles East of Driftwood Point)
Figure 3. Jordan Grigor (Université Laval, Quebec) presenting to the group
Figure 4/5. CCGS Amundsen breaking ice


26 September, 2014

My name is Ben Kaufman I attend East Three Secondary School in Inuvik Northwest Territories. This is my fifth day on the trip after my arrival in Edmonton on the 22nd. Today started with the group meeting in the conference room. We only met there for a short time where we discussed what we would be doing throughout the day and then we continued to Hanna and Alisha’s room where we had stored some of our containers. Once there; everyone was given gear such as hard hats, survival suits and safety glasses. Everyone put on their survival suits and we all had a good laugh. We put our new equipment in our rooms and then we made our way back up to the conference room where we saw a safety presentation by Graham the third officer on board. He had Alisha and Nina try on the life vests to demonstrate how they are worn and then Jaxon and I put on the full immersion suits.

Once Graham had gone over the standard safety protocol he gave us a tour around the ship where he showed us our muster station in case of an evacuation. Then we were shown the labs and we were familiarized with the safety stations and precautions on the boat. After that the group was led to the inflatable life rafts and Graham explained to us how they would be deployed in case of an emergency and then showed us how to deploy them by ourselves; after that we rounded the boat and we toured a lifeboat. Then we were shown where we were to go if we didn’t have a life jacket during an evacuation and it was an entire room simply filled with shelves of life jackets and immersion suits. During the last part of our safety tour we were shown the waterproof doors on the lower levels of the ship and how to open them incase they had been shut and we had to get through. But when Graham suggested that Steve try and shut the door completely from the other side once it had shut for some reason it would not open again!

From there everyone went for lunch; after everyone was finished eating we went to the bridge together where the second officer and navigational officer showed us around. We were shown how he controlled the speed of the boat and how the protocol for steering the ship was conducted. The group hung around for a bit as well, speaking to some of the officers in the bridge and looking at the view through binoculars. Once we were done in the bridge we went to a presentation given by one of the scientists on board, the presentation was called Nature of Science/ Intro to climate change in the arctic. The presentation focused mainly on the different aspects of the environment and the different natural cycles that contribute to the world's natural equilibrium, such as how the clouds both reflect energy from the sun back out into space and at the same time retain heat and keep the heat that is already below them from escaping. Then after this the group went around the ship taking group and individual pictures in different parts of the ship.

And then the last thing that happened today was that all of the scientists on board gathered in the conference room for our first meeting to discuss the different operations going on, on the ship and how we would be meeting every night to discuss the science that would be going on as well as future plans for labs and experiments. And with that the night was concluded and all had gone well.

Figure 1. Jaxon Stel schools on board member fitting on an immersion suit
Figure 2. Schools on Board group gathering around an inflatable life raft
Figure 3. Schools on Board group in the CCGS Amundsen bridge
Figure 4. View from the bridge of the CCGS Amundsen


25 September, 2014

This morning of September 25th was the last time we spent with our Kugluktuk friends. We went for a walk along the shore of Kugluktuk after breakfeast. The fresh air was refreshing and worthwhile. The landscape was beautiful and worth the walk. We checked out the ulu building, (also known as the heritage centre), and they had some pretty neat displays. They sold ulus, seal skin hair clips and zipper ties, even some traditional clothing was for sale. We had the opportunity to check out this ulu centre before it officially opens, and I’m grateful for that.

The sky was beautiful and filled with ambition as we took off in the helicopter to board the ship. Today was more of a “free day” for us. So we took the opportunity to do some exploring around the ship. Through the video cameras on board we could see some of the Schools On Boards participants on the tv’s in our rooms, and that was interesting. After several days of cooking for ourselves we were really excited to have the chiefs cooking our supper. The pork that was served at supper tasted fabulous, and so did the dessert pastries. I’ve gotten to meet some scientists and crew members that are also onboard and we played a fun card game called Jungle Speed. If today was filled with this much adventure and fun, I am really looking forward for the rest, and I’m sure everyone else is too. Many great things are happening and we’re all really lucky to be part of this crew of amazing people.

My name is Kaytlyn Amitnak and I’m from the community of Baker Lake, Nunavut. I attend school at the Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School, and I’m currently taking grade twelve studies.


23-24 September, 2014

Hi! My name is Jaxon Stel. I am from Penticton, BC. I am in grade 12 at Penticton secondary school.

Bloody Falls was breathtaking! We woke up at 7 and had pancakes for breakfast. Then we packed up for Bloody Falls with the heritage class we met the day before and left on jet boats down the Copper Mine river. The boat ride was 30 minutes long and the scenery was beautiful. When we got there we set up a base camp and started walking around. After touring around bloody falls and its surroundings we all met up and had a presentation from a conservation officer named Alan. He had grown up in the area and even lived in an igloo. After the presentation we had hotdogs and a variety of other snacks for lunch along with tea and hot chocolate throughout the day. The local kids were great tour guides and they let us engage in their fishing. The water form the river was there so pure we could drink it right out of the river.

During the presentation Alan told us about how Bloody Falls got its name when a rival group of natives, Chipwan, snuck across the river and massacred the Copper mine river Inuit, killing men, women, and children. The only survivor was an old woman who witnessed it all from far away and then hopped in a kayak and hurried down the river and spread the story. We left at 2 and the weather had changed to a much warmer and sunnier day so we had thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the ride back to Kugluktuk. After our arrival back at KHS we enjoyed a lovely dinner of stir fry and finished the evening with a schools on board soccer game which was a great way to finish off our last day in Kugluktuk.

Figure 1. Bloody Falls
Figure 2. Bloody Falls
Figure 3. Coppermine River
Figure 4. Bloody Falls
Figure 5. Bloody Falls


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