Wednesday, July 30, 2008


On Sunday afternoon we flew to Radstock Bay in hopes of spotting some polar bears. I'm now the only kid left from the team! We didn't have to search long before seeing two bears from the windows of the Twin Otter.
After landing near a few huts, we walked about 5km over to a place called the Caswall Tower that was on top of a HUGE cliff. The climb was very steep but we made it up. Thanks to our binoculars, we spotted another bear strolling along the sea ice probably searching for some dinner.
After waking up the next day to very strong winds we went over to the ridge but were unable to see any more bears. We returned later in the afternoon and saw one then! We tracked it for a while and noticed it was certainly waiting for a seal to come out of its hole. This morning we were picked up by the Twin Otter while walking back to the huts and we're leaving Resolute to go back home on Thursday!
[from Aïnhoa - July 29]

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 22nd: Green Cross children's team is FIRST to walk to breaking ice shelf!

On July 22nd we decided to explore the northern part of the Ward Hunt ice shelf.
We started out walking towards the northwest section of the island and onto the ice shelf for approximately 6km. It was a strenuous walk on ice, melted snow, water puddles...
After a while Beth suggested that we hike in the direction of what looked like a straight ridge on the horizon. An hour later we were amazed to discover an opening on the shelf about 40-50m wide.
After later discussions with Dr. Derek Mueller (Roberta Bondar Fellow in Northern and Polar Studies, Geography Department, Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario), we realized that OUR GROUP WAS ON THE ICE SHELF THE VERY DAY THIS MAJOR CHUNK OF ICE STARTED TO DRIFT AWAY! What a coincidence and momentous experience for the kids.
The young explorers are saddened but thrilled to have witnessed such an important and significant event first hand and to have been the FIRST PEOPLE TO WALK ALONG THIS CRACK.
Dr. Mueller started to report the cracking of Ward Hunt island ice shelf in 2002. We are providing him with all our recorded data for analysis. The picture shows our group having lunch by the opening, unaware that the northern part of the shelf is calving.

Interview of Luc Hardy - Launching of Pax Arctica June 4th, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We made it to Ward Hunt island.
After a full day of walking on the ice shelf, we discover a few cracks and some more major openings In one of them we see a seal. We also see some smaller (and probably newer) ones, as the one pictured here. We all take pictures and film with GPS coordinates to report to Dr. Derek Mueller with whom we have been interacting for some time. He is a specialist of this area and systems. We will report more on these important developments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22: Ward Hunt

We have arrived on the Ward Hunt ice shelf and are busy taking measurements and noting GPS coordinates. We hope to publish more news tomorrow.

The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is a remnant of the compacted snow and ancient sea ice that extended along the northern shores of Ellesmere Island in Northern Canada until the early twentieth century. Rising temperatures have reduced the original shelf into a number of smaller shelves, the largest of which was the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf on the northwest fringe of the island.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 19: News from Otto Fjord

We arrived at Otto Fjord Wednesday evening - the visibility was low but
much better than Ward Hunt. The pilots flew over Ward Hunt three times to assess the options, but there was no way they could land the Twin Otter given the poor weather and fog.
Otto Fjord is amazingly beautiful, "awesome" as the kids say,
hundreds of icebergs in all sizes. The colors are changing constantly,
white, blue, gray, green, ocre from the land... Impressionist painters
would have spent a lot of time here, had they been given the chance.
Thursday we hiked 8.55 km to see a glacier. It is definitely melting,
but hard to say at which speed and whether or not it has shrunk over time. We will inquire further about this glacier when given the chance. Hopefully we'll be picked up by the Twin Otter tomorrow and taken to Ward Hunt.
Patience is required in the Arctic!

July 19: Change of Itinerary

Due to unstable weather at Ward Hunt, a decision was made to reverse the order of destinations. The group has landed at Otto Fjord. The icebergs are spectacular and beg to be explored. Everyone is in good spirits and having a great time in spite of the uncooperative weather.

Photo Credit: 'Otto Fjord' Hans Dommasch fonds, University of Saskatchewan Archives

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18: Ward Hunt Ice Shelf...or bust!

"No news is good news" is the mantra of the Hardy family. The last e-mail I received on Wednesday said "everyone is running to catch the plane". While we wait for LIVE blog coverage, I've prepared a snapshot summary of their assumed location. Happy Birthday dear Flaam who celebrated her 17th birthday yesterday in the Arctic circle - 500 miles from the North Pole. Mary Hardy

Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is located on the northern side of Ellesmere Island (French: Île d'Ellesmere) is part of the Qikiqtaaluk Region of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Lying within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago it is considered part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, with Cape Columbia being the most northerly point of land in Canada. It comprises an area of 196,235 km² (75,767 sq mi), making it the world's tenth largest island and Canada's third largest island.

It is separated from NW Greenland by a narrow passage. The island's coast is indented by deep fjords. The interior plateau rises more than 2,000 ft (610 m) above sea level; the United States Ranges, in the north, are c.11,000 ft (3,350 m) high. An ice cap covers much of the island's east side. In snow-free areas vegetation supports large herds of musk oxen. There are scientific stations and some Inuit (Eskimo) settlements on the island. First sighted by the British explorer William Baffin in 1616, Ellesmere Island was explored in the latter half of the 19th cent. Since the 1950s the island has been the site of many glaciological, geological, and geographical expeditions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 16: off to Ward Hunt Island...

boarding the plane now, to go to Ward Hunt Island. Weather seems to have cleared a bit. we'll stop at Eureka to refuel on the way. In case of bad weather, we'll stop there for the night.
more news via satellite phone in the next few days...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15: Beechey Island

The weather is still poor at Ward Hunt island, our northernmost destination.
Meanwhile we visit the site of the Franklin Expedition on Beechey Island ( We find the remains of a young dead polar bear (maybe killed by a desperate and famished bear? maybe by a male trying to get the mother's attention? we will never know...).
Meanwhile Mark mounts guard in case another lives one shows up...

July 14: meeting Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Renowned photographer ("The Earth from Above") and filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand is in town (Resolute), finishing interviews of local Inuit villagers for his new film project "6 Billion Others"... he kindly spends some time with our group and answers our Young Ambassadors' questions (

July 15: Italian vibes

Ciao papa e mamma, Qui tutto ok, ho cercato di chimarvi ma non ci sono riuscito... Siamo fermi in Resolute per il brutto tempo...(magari voliamo domani). dovevamo volare piu su per andare al Polo. Dove poi avremmo camminato. Comunque qui e tutto incredibile!!!!!! quando siamo andati for rafting siamo atterrati sulla terra e nel nulla!!!! Era divertentissimo (ma era noioso remare...)!!! Poi siamo arrivati in un paesino nel nulla dove abbiamo mangiato caribou (squisito) e abbiamo giocato con local kids!!!! poi abbiamo preso l' aereo per Resolute ma ci siamo fermati in Iqaluit e un' altro posto. Qui in Resolute e bellissimo, siamo andati a vedere le balene... UHAO!!!! Erano GIGANTI e c'erano anche i piccoli!!!!!!!!!!!! Ho anche guidato un ATV e andavo velocissimo!!!!!!
Spero di vedervi presto,
love MARK

Monday, July 14, 2008

July 14: Stuck in Resolute Bay...

hi mom
guess what??! the weather is bad again so we're stuck in Resolute! Well this morning the pilots told us the weather is bad
where we are going so we have to check in at noon but we might need to stay the night or something.
The beluga whales were really cool but you couldnt see them that well since they were far away, but usually they're much closer.


July 14 - Heading North!

Brian (our cameraman) reporting...:

After a three day rafting trip down the Soper River - an adventure filled with wet shoes, what had to be the world's angriest mosquito swarm, sleep or lack thereof in broad daylight next to caribou bones, and more than a few people falling overboard - we made it to Kimmirut, an outpost of a town built to defy the cold and keep a grip on Inuit tradition. It felt like the old west, and for us it was a kind of Shangri-la of hot showers and food that didn't involve peanut butter or jelly. Kuria and Mark fell right in with the locals, and Beth found an unexpected relative. All of us left feeling welcomed and broadened by the visit. Leaving Kimmirut, another flight took us to Resolute - Beth's hometown. Stepping off the plane we were hit with startling heat - record temperatures for Resolute (beating the record set last year on the same day.) This, of course was a jarring reminder of why we came here in the first place. After a night at Beth's father's hotel we visited with scientists who showed us their world, research and general efforts to decode what is happening to this stark and beautiful land.

It's been a breathtaking trip, and we are still heading north! Our destination is still a good 6 hour plane ride away. I think it's safe to say we are all looking forward to where that journey will take us...

July 13: Whales!!!

We are told that migrating Beluga wales have arrived in the area and Beth father, Ozzie, suggest we go see them (a 20 minutes Twin Otter flight from Resolute, in Cunningham Inlet).
for those interested: The beluga whale is a small, toothed whale that is white as an adult. The beluga's body is stout and has a small, blunt head with a small beak, tiny eyes, thick layers of blubber, and a rounded melon. They have one blowhole. Beluga means "white one" in Russian.
Beluga whales are very social animals and congregate in pods (social groups) of 2-25 whales, with an average pod size of 10 whales (consisting of both males and females or mothers and calves). A pod will hunt and migrate as a group. The bond between mothers and calves is the strongest. During migrations, several pods may join together, forming groups of 200-10,000 belugas.
Belugas live in frigid Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, but some populations migrate south to warmer water in the summer. Beluga's Arctic habitat overlaps with narwhal's habitat. (The narwhal is its closest relative.)
The gestation period of the beluga is about 14-15 months and the calf is born tail or head first and near the surface in warm, shallow waters. They breed in warm, shallow waters or estuaries (where rivers meet seas). The newborn instinctively swims to the surface within 10 seconds for its first breath; it is helped by its mother, using her flippers. The newborn calf is about 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) long and weighs over 100-140 lbs (45-64 kg). Single births are the norm; twins are very rare. Calves are not white like the adults; they are blue to brownish-red for the first year of life. During the second year they are gray to blue. Their pigment (melanin) fades slowly, and by 6 years old, they are white. The baby is nurtured with its mother's fat-laden milk (it is 28% fat) and is weaned in about 12-24 months.Beluga whales reach maturity at 7-9 years. (source:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 12-13: from Olympia's journal:

Olympia “Boogie” (9) reporting here:

July 12 2008 Resolute
Today we woke up at 7:30 to go have breafast. Breakfast in the South Camp Inn in Resolute is from 7:00 to 8:00. That night I slepped with Alexa so we came down together. After breakfast, we went to this place that was really, really big, and it had two rooms: one room was for food, and the other was for speeches. So when we went there, we had to be silent to hear the speeches, but we also heard Inuits throat sing. It was so cool, it sounds like instruments! We also saw Inuit dance. Tey danced so good, it seemed like they were practicing for a long time (which they probably did). Well when the science was spoken, I fell asleep. “And then water here is 1,000 feet deep blah, blah, blah!!! It was really boring! After that, we ( Alexa, Mommy, Mark Ainhoa, Flaam, Matty and me) had lunch. When me, Mark and Alexa went outside for lunch, a little boy came up to us and said: “Ask me about my weener!” And me Mark and Alexa laughed so hard!
After that, people over 15 can go on a boat called the Icebreaker. It was so unfair!! But then they managed to get Kuria, Ainhoa, Flaam, and all the grown ups, but Matty. Alexa, Mark, Matty and me went back to the hotel. When we got to the hotel, Alexa, Matty and me went to this store to get journals for Ainhoa and Flaam. Mark went with Beth on the ATV’s. We did not find journals. And then Matty told us that in an hour we were all going to go on a hike up a mountain that was really high. So when Alexa and me came to my room, we decided to take a nap because we did not want to go on the hike. Get it? Well if we sleep we would not go on the hike. So I had like a little apartment in the hotel, with stairs and we were waiting for my mom and we were practicing what we will do when she came. When we were practicing the 5th time, she came up the stairs and we were jumping on the bed when she came. But we did not go on the hike after that; two really nice girls came named Blinda and Sapora. We were laughing so hard. After that we had dinner and ice cream. Night night. Sleep tight. Mind the bugs don’t bite. And if they do, catch them tight, and they won’t bite another night!

July 13 Resolute
Today I woke up at 10:30 with Ashley because she slept with me. We went to have breakfast and then took a nice bath. After that we met with Ashley, Amber and Alexa and went to an archeological site. At the archeological site we saw old whale bones and old Inuit homes. It was really cool!!! After that we went back to the hotel to have lunch. Then at 6:00 we had a plane to see the Beluga whales. People came to pick us up in ATV’s.
They had trailers in the back. The Beluga whales are so cool. At 8:00 PM we flew back. Now I am writing to you! Bye!!

July 11-12: Arriving Resolute...

Flaam reports:
"Yesterday July 11th, we left Kimmirut early in the morning to arrive in Iqaluit. There we repacked most of our belongings to get organized on our way to the north. Finally, we took a flight from Iqaluit to Resolute Bay (Beth's hometown) with Zepher, Matty's dog, by our side. Much to our suprise it was 19 degrees when we got to the aiport, a record temperature off the charts! (We had all brought extra sweaters, hats and gloves in our backpacks!). Aziz greeted us at the airport to bring us back to his popular hotel, South Camp Inn. The town, only a few minutes from the airport, overlooks the bay.
Today, after having slept very well, we went to the Polar Continental Shelf Project where we met many scientists working in the region who were all brought together for this presentation (PCSP’s 50th year anniversary). Scientists gave presentations about Arctic birds, archaeology in the region, wetlands.... A few of us got to go visit the ship in the bay, the Louis St. Laurent. This ship has been traveling around taking ocean samples (water, mud, etc). We went to the ship by helicopter and the ride, though short, was a lot of fun. We were able to meet and ask questions to the scientists working on board the ship. On Monday (if the weather is OK), we will fly to northern Ellesmere to continue our adventure!"

July 11 - arriving Kimmirut

We've just arrived in Kimmirut, village of 425 sols where we will spend the rest of the day and night. We are welcomed by Pascale, a local high school teacher. Everybody stays in local homes ('chez l'habitant') for a bit of immersion with the local population. There is still ice in the bay, hundreds of srangely shaped icebergs, big and small. Strange views of locals draped in mosquito nets!

Tropical Kuujjuaq sweats past hottest May ever

As we wrap up the first "team building" part of our trip, we read the local news in the plane going from Iqaluit to Resolute. Actually there is a full page on Climate Change in the Nunatsiaq News of June 27, 2008:
Last month Kuujjuaq (northern Quebec) experienced its warmest month of May since community weather records were first taken in 1947...
On June 17 the high temperature reached 27.9ºC making Kujjuaq the warmest place in Quebec... the normal temperature is between 2ºC and 12ºC... :(((

July 9 - Mosquitoes

As we go down the river, we see more and more of them.
We are not sure if it's a normal year or not but it sure looks like there are zillions of them. Maybe they are more insects in general because of the local climate change?
Ask Nicole on the picture!

Searching for minerals...

Our group stops at a mica and lapis lazuli site. We are surprised to see these here. Brian, our cameraman, remarks that when he was recently filming a documentary in Afghanistan, there was a lot of lapis lazuli there too.

July 8 - Lots of lemmings this year?

Looks like there are quite a few lemmings where we camp along the Soper river.
This little guy came by our tent in the morning. We see several more running into their burrows... A lemming year? (As you may know, lemmings population evolves in cycles)

July 8 - en route to Kimmirut

July 8:
we've just left the Soper river/Livingston river confluent and are en route to Kimmirut, where we will meet the local community in a few days.
Not before crossing a few rapids :))
more later...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 10: A seal!

From Flaam's journal - July 10th:
We woke up to find our entire tent covered in mosquitoes. That was quite impressive. Last minute (in Greenwich) I bought mosquitoe nets with my mom, so I am really thankful for that. I had never seen so many mosquitoes in my life. Today I was a little “down”, kind of out of energy and missing home. No choice though, you have to keep paddling. When we arrived in Kimmirut, Pascale, the high school teacher, let us have lunch at her house which was really nice. In the afternoon, while many were showering and taking baths, I went with Boogie, Nicole, my dad (Luc), and Sebastian on a boat to ride around the bay. Though we did not see any polar bears, we had a great time. We saw seals and the icebergs were incredible!
For dinner, I had caribou. Finally everyone went to sleep in a family home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 5-7: from Ashley

Ashley (12)

Ottawa July 5th
Dear Journal, I had a great day today. I got to meet all the kids! We got to hang out and learn a lot about everyone. We had a great meal cooked by a nice gracious family. The meal was delicious. One of the kids we met was named Kuria, and was from South Africa! He was really nice, and helpful! Kuria is 15. We also met someone name Mark. He is from Italy. I can’t believe he stayed up till 10:30 when it was like 5 AM for him. He was really nice! My sister Alexa left her journal at the family’s house, and she left. He got it for her, and gave it to her. It was soooo nice! I can’t wait until tomorrow!!

July 7th
We woke up and went for breakfast at Matty’s house. After we went to the science museum and learned a lot about cool things (plants and ice). We went back and talked about the center and then we went there. We watched a movie about sfety in the Arctic. We went back to Matty’s house where we spent a long time packing. Then Ainhoa and Flaam helped weigh the luggage to see if we were 2900 pounds. Fortunately we were close (3180). We went to the beach and got stuck in quicksand a lot. Flaam saved us. On our way back we saw dead whale blubber. We all got on the roof and jumped. Flaam and Kuria took pictures of me jumping off the roof. Mark made us crack up on the porch. Then Matty told us that we were leaving. At the airport we played hang games. Then my mom and Mary bought homemade pizzas. Mark was hilarious during the games. Then we heard that we might no make it because there wasn’t enough room in the plane. Then Sebastian and Luc arranged it so we could go. The girl pilot was really mean and rude. We landed safely by the river and went on to bring the luggage really far away, and it was heavy especially the rafts were 95 pounds. Then Matty set up our tent as demonstration. Then we snacked and went to bed.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nunavut Research Institute

Today we met with Rick Armstrong, head of the Nunavut Research Institute, Iqaluit, Nunavut. Discussion on all the programs he is running out of Iqaluit. Great facts: minerals so rich in iron (70+) that you can melt them, oil minerals that burn when you light them... very intersting for all ages. Consequences on the future of the region?
We also visited the lab of Dr. Allison Rutter who explained to us the analyses of contaminated soil samples she is conducting around here. Very interesting for all of us... much much more to come on the science side...

We are Explorers now!

Great news: our expedition has been approved as a flag expedition of the Explorers Club of New York.
As you may know, The Explorers Club flag has been flown in many extraordinary places on Earth, under the sea and on the moon. It is a revered symbol of outstanding achievement...
We'll make sure children and adults alike in our group live up to our promise to the Club.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

from Kenya to the Arctic...

Today we landed Iqualuit in this morning and met both Beth and Matty at the same time. We are now at Matty’s house for the day and had a fantastic lunch and now about to have dinner. Matty took us to the town museum and after took us to feed her huskies. It’s my first time in this low temperature which is about 7 degrees ºC but the fun and excitement kind of ignores the cold. What a way to start an expedition. Everybody here is so nice I see them as my family.

"fun trip..."

July 6, 2008
[Alexa] Today was one long day, but it sure was a fun-filled one too. Boogie (Olympia), Nicole (her mom), and me where all sitting next to each other on the plane ride from Ottowa to Iqualuit. Boogie and I had such a blast on the plane ride, we practically giggled the whole 3 ½ hours. When we finally landed we had four hours until our next flight, but that never happend because of the terrible weather. Instead we went to Matty’s wonderful home and spent most of the day there. While we were at her house Brian (our cameraman) interviewed me and I think I did a very good job, and I have noticed that I am not “scared” of being in front of a TV camera, which is very good. The reason why I am not being afraid of talking in front of a camera is because I have a dream about being in movies and now I know I am not worried. YES!!!!! All of us kids laughed and played all day long. I feel as if all of us are brothers and sisters. We have all became a big family and it is so much fun. This trip has started out to being a trip of a lifetime and I am thrilled about everything that has happened and that is going to happen. This is such a great beginning of a wonderful trip!!!


July 6 – 2008:

On the plane from Ottawa to Iqaluit, I met a man named Jack that lives in Northern Baffin. He taught me a few words of Inuktitut. I’m not sure of the exact spelling but here are the phonetics:
oolakut- goodmorning
qanaweepee- how are you
qanalingee- I’m fine
quannamit (silent ‘t’) – thank you


Hey it's Olympia!

Hey its Olympia!!!! Today we were supposed to go to the Arctic Circle, but the bad weather blocked us from going, so instead we are in Iqualuit. Today we also met Beth. She is an Inuit. We had a lot of fun today. And I hope you did too…

Kuria welcomes Beth to the team!

Just arrived at Iqaluit airport (from Ottawa). An hour later, Beth arrives from Resolute. our group of children is now complete.
Unfortunately, the weather is very poor, so probably no departure for the Soper River today. That's the Arctic, you never know, and the bush planes (Twin Otter) we fly with need relatively good weather to take off...
So, stuck in Iqaluit overnight... [Luc]

July 5 - Ottawa

There is energy on this expedition, nine young adults from different parts of the world coming together to witness. I ask myself what exactly does the word witness mean – to observe something with your own eyes and to meld what is seen to the personal experience of the individual? Is this why we can all see the same thing yet describe the experience with unique points of view? Nine young adults with nine sets of eyes, all here to witness the Arctic and bring back to their communities personal versions of what we’ve seen. This is the wonder that I see in Pax Arctica 2008! [Mary]

July 5: Ottawa – a beautiful capital. Big buildings that were built to last are made of thick stone walls. Their spiraling turrets lighten the structure as they reach toward the sky. The oxidized copper roofs create an organic green contrast against the blue sky. The weather is perfect. The air is the temperature as our skin. We drive from the airport along a beautiful canal that creates a meandering lifeline through the city. Bicycles and runners and strollers move along the sidewalks share by walkers intoxicated with the peaceful mood. We toured the city with John Coo, our host from GreenCross Canada, as he drove us from the airport to the hotel and appointed out those ‘not to miss spots’ like only a local can do.
At the hotel our group begins to take shape as members of the expedition arrive through out the day. The tasks are delegated as we rush to take advantage of our last opportunity to gather supplies. Nicole coordinates the arrivals of Mark and the Zangrillos; Luc, Sebastian and Mary shop for food; Flaam and Ainhoa manage the fitting of gear from Napa Pijri and distribution of sunglasses from Oakley; Olympia is our meet greet master (since she has already met all of the young explorers) she handles introductions wth ease while Brian interviews the explorers about their expectations of the adventure that is about to unfold.
Meanwhile the Coo family has spent the day preparing a feast. At 8 pm, we sit together at a long narrow candle lit table decorated with flags representing our many nationalities brought together at a long narrow candle lit table decorated with flags representing our many nationalities brought together by GreenCross and Pax Arctica. Sebastian leads our toast – to our hosts and the beautiful Arctic we are about to encounter! [Mary]

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Welcome from Green Cross Canada!

Many thanks to John Coo, his wife Alex and children Malcolm and Victoria. All disappointed they cannot come with us to the Arctic... but they were fantastic hosts for our only evening in Ottawa. John is president of Green Cross Canada and has been very supportive of our effort as part of the GC organization.
Pictured here, the children team at John & Alex's house. Missing is Beth, our Inuit friend, whom we'll meet tomorrow in Iqaluit. but beofre that, lots of packing tonight, organizing the food we spend the day purchasing in Ottawa's surburbs...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pax Arctica kick-off

That's it, we are about to leave for the Arctic!
Tomorrow morning, off to Ottawa, where the rest of the group has already arrived.
From there, we'll leave for Iqaluit the next day, at the southern tip of Baffin island.
More to come soon, from me (Luc) but also the rest of the group (that's 15 of us!).
So you'll hear different voices, emotions, opinions...
Stay tuned!

Pax Arctica kick-off