Packing for your Arctic Expedition Cruise

Packing for your Arctic Expedition Cruise

By Travel Nunavut


Our members, and expedition experts at Adventure Canada and One Ocean, have come together to create the ultimate packing guide for your next Arctic expedition cruise. Download a copy for yourself so you don’t forget a thing!

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Qaggiavuut: Strengthening The Nunavut Performing Arts With Training, Support And Space!

Qaggiavuut: Strengthening The Nunavut Performing Arts With Training, Support And Space!

By Ellen Hamilton


By Ellen Hamilton, Executive Director
Qaggiavuut, Nunavut Performing Arts Society
#letsbuildaqaggiq

The qulliq (Inuit stone lamp) is lit and its glow warms the room with a dancing flame not unlike the northern lights. Susan Avingaq begins to sing an ancient song about happy and prosperous times. It is chant-like, and the words move with the qulliq light and bring us closer to life on the Arctic land and sea. Susan grew up in a qammaq – a sod house – in a small camp near what is now Igloolik on the northwestern part of Baffin Island. The qulliq was the only source of heat and light and was fueled by seal and whale fat, it was – and still is – a symbol of survival and of home. Today she lights the qulliq to bring us back to the music, stories and values of Inuit culture.

Susan is here at the Qaggiavuut office in Iqaluit to open a theatre workshop for Inuit performing artists from all regions of Nunavut. They will collaborate over a three-month period to create a new work of theatre based in traditional Inuit storytelling. Elders, like Susan will be our guides and provide the script and the cultural dramaturgy for Kiviuq Returns, about a hero who, lost and paddling in his qajaq, encounters many strange, humorous and frightening creatures and animals. His spirit guides and the teachings of his elders support him through his long, lifetime journey home, but it is his resilience, calm and courage that ensure he survives; he never gives up.

This summer Kiviuq Returns became the first Inuit language work of theatre to tour in professional southern Canadian stages as well as Nunavut communities. In 2017 the interdisciplinary production featuring Inuit legends, contemporary and traditional music, dance and digital design performed in 11 Nunavut communities, 4 Canadian cities, to a total audience of 15,000. In 2018-19 the show will tour in Greenland, be performed at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and is being developed for a tour of theatres in China!

This is only one of the projects taken on by Qaggiavuut, a non profit society dedicated to strengthening the Inuit performing arts. Formed in 2010 to advocate for the needs of Nunavut’s performing artists, Qaggiavuut is working to build Qaggiq – a Nunavut performing arts and cultural learning hub – a space to create, train, teach and present the performing arts in Nunavut. To highlight the need for a performing arts space, the cast of Kiviuq Returns was forced south to rehearse and stage their show at performing arts centres in Kingston, Banff and Ottawa before returning to Nunavut to perform. Without space, artists simply cannot create professional new work necessary to building a cultural destination for the Nunavut community and its visitors.

Winner of the Arctic Inspiration Prize in 2016, Qaggiavuut has developed partnerships with the federal and territorial governments, Inuit organizations and the private sector to map Nunavut’s musicians, actors, writers, filmmakers, acrobats and cultural performers on its website database, and deliver training workshops to them. In 2017 alone, Qaggiavuut supported 300 Nunavut performing artists and delivered performing arts workshops to over 5000 Nunavut youth.

The performing arts are a key element to tourism, linking visitors to the culture through music, dance and storytelling.  Qaggiavuut is working to ensure Nunavut’s performing artists are given opportunities to train and collaborate, so they can present quality performances that bring both old and new Inuit culture alive.  When artists are strong, so is the culture and the voice of its people.

The chorus of the old song repeats and the young actors join to the beat of Pakak Innuksuk’s drum. “Aja ja ja …” These performers are part of a revitalization of the traditional music and stories of the Inuit , once banned during colonization and now reclaimed by a new generation learning from elders. Susan Avingaq taps down the qulliq flame, keeping it steadily dancing and moving, like the culture she so well represents and shares.

 

For upcoming performances and workshops in Nunavut, please refer to the Qaggiavuut Facebook and website and contact us to learn how you can support Nunavut’s performing artists.


Travellers Drink From Iceberg – Nature's Water Fountain!

Travellers Drink From Iceberg – Nature’s Water Fountain!

Icebergs are one of the most spectacular natural phenomena of the Arctic. Coming in a variety of artistic shapes, sizes, and colouration, icebergs create irresistible photography. Close-encounters with soaring icebergs are a dream of many adventures and travellers alike.

Travellers on our summer Arctic safari, Polar Bears & Glaciers of Baffin Island, love exploring the icebergs of Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut and Auyuittuq National Park by boat. Guests on this trip in August 2017 got a special treat – the chance to drink from a melting grounded iceberg!

Our Senior Expedition Leader, Dave Briggs captured this bucket list experience, below:

This area of Nunavut is affectionately nicknamed “iceberg alley”, as it is home to many incredible icebergs. Most of these icebergs have calved off the Greenland Ice Cap, but some originate from the glaciers on Ellesmere Island, Devon Island, and Baffin Island.

There are more than 10,000 icebergs afloat in the waters of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, making them amazing locations for iceberg watching.

The iceberg in this video is a massive tabular iceberg grounded off the coast of Baffin Island near Qikiqtarjuaq. It has been slowly melting since it grounded here almost 7 years ago. In the melting process, water flows over the berg and cascades off in a waterfall.

“This water is some of the purest water on the planet!”, says Briggs. “It is possible the water is derived from snow that fell during the last ice age 10,000 year ago. Taking a cup and drawing a fresh drink from the iceberg is both intriguing and magical.”

During the long days of Arctic summers, the expansive surface of large icebergs often melt and develop fast-flowing rivers on the surface. The amount of water flow will change daily depending on the daytime and nighttime temperatures.  On this particular day it was a beautiful sunny day in the height of summer, causing above-average flow – and allowing Arctic Kingdom travellers the experience of a lifetime!

Want to have an experience of a lifetime on a trip to the Arctic circle?

Get your chance to experience icebergs, as well as polar bears and bowhead whales in the Canadian High Arctic this August on Polar Bears & Glaciers of Baffin Island.

Contact us today to book!

Want to plan a private iceberg watching trip?

Contact us today to create a custom itinerary.

By: Liz Carino


10 Fun Facts About Narwhal: Are Narwhal Endangered?

10 Fun Facts About Narwhal: Are Narwhal Endangered?

Travellers often ask, ‘Are narwhals endangered?’ Known as the ‘unicorns of the sea’ it’s no wonder that voyagers often question this species. Narwhal watching is also one of the most sought-after experiences on trips to the Arctic Circle.

Narwhals have never been successfully kept in captivity – the only way to view them is in the wild. The few places to see narwhal include the floe edge of Lancaster Sound and the Baffin Bay in Canada’s High Arctic. Travellers on our Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari and Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage are always delighted to view narwhal while whale watching along the floe edge.

You can spot narwhal at the northern reaches of Baffin Island, Nunavut during the annual migration to their summer feeding grounds in May and June. It’s even more thrilling to see them in pods of up to 50 – 100! Plus, at this time of year, you can see them under the soft glow of the Midnight Sun.

To answer popular questions about these elusive Arctic whales, here are 10 fun facts about narwhal:

1. Are narwhals endangered?

In Canada, narwhal (monodon monoceros) are identified as “special concern” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). This indicates species that may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

2. 75% of narwhal are found in the Canadian Arctic

Narwhal populations are estimated at 80,000, with more than three-quarters spending their summers in the Canadian Arctic. There are two main populations of narwhal found in Canada: the Baffin Bay and Hudson Bay populations.

3. They spend their lives in Arctic waters

Unlike some whale species that migrate, narwhals spend their lives in the Arctic waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia.

4. Narwhal live up to 50 years

The average lifespan of the narwhal is 30-40 years but many have reportedly lived beyond that, up to 50 years old!

5. Narwhal change colour with age

Newborn narwhal are speckled blue-grey, teens are blue-black, adults are speckled grey and old narwhal are almost all white.

6. Their tusks are actually a tooth

Narwhal tusks are a sensory organ with millions of nerve endings. It is thought that the rubbing together of tusks is thought to be a way to communicate information, and discoveries also indicate that narwhals use their tusks for feeding.

7. Narwhal’s distinctive tusk are usually found on males

Majority of male narwhal develop the elongated tusk. On very rare occasions females have been spotted with them.

8. Tusks can grow as long as 10 ft

The elongated tooth grows into a long, spiralled tusk which can grow up to 10 ft long. It is most commonly recognized as the left protrusion but occasionally a right tusk develops too, giving some narwhal two tusks!

9. Narwhal are deep divers

This whale species are one of the deepest diving marine mammals. They can dive as deep as 1,500 m (4,500 ft) lasting around 25 minutes under water. Narwhal can spend more than three hours a day underwater below 800 m depths.

10. Narwhal lack a dorsal fin

Like other Arctic whales including bowhead and beluga, narwhals don’t have a dorsal fin. The absence of a dorsal fin allows narwhal, and other Arctic whales, to prevent heat loss, reducing surface area, and allows them to swim under ice sheets.

Want to see narwhal for yourself?

Explore the raw beauty of the Arctic and search for narwhal in May and June on our narwhal viewing trips:

Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari 

Explore the floe edge near Pond Inlet, Nunavut for opportunities to view narwhal, polar bears, thousands of seabirds and other Arctic wildlife under the Midnight Sun. Departures in May and June. Learn more here.

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

Experience 24-hours of sunshine in the region world-renowned as the most prolific wildlife area in the Arctic: the floe edge of Lancaster Sound. Get chances to see narwhal, beluga, polar bears, and more in June. Learn more here.

Want to build a custom itinerary to view narwhal in the Arctic?

Contact our Arctic Travel Advisors to start planning your Private Journey. We can build a fully-customized itinerary for opportunities to view narwhal and other unique wildlife and natural phenomena to bring your Arctic dreams to life.

By: Elise Zerafa


Things To Do While Visiting Iqaluit: the Capital City of Nunavut

Things To Do While Visiting Iqaluit: the Capital City of Nunavut

A trip to Iqaluit can be whatever you make of it! Getting here is easy with departures daily from Ottawa International Airport and tri-weekly flights departing from Montreal with First Air or Canadian North.  After arriving into Iqaluit’s impressive new airport that is eight times larger than the previous “yellow bubble” of a terminal, which was lovingly referred to as the “Yellow Submarine” by locals. Contact your hotel for shuttle services or call Tuktu Caribou Cabs at 867.979.4444, which travel anywhere in the city for $7 per person, keeping in mind that pick up of additional passengers while en route is common practice.   The shuttles or cab will take you to one of the three full service hotels: The Discovery Lodge, Frobisher Inn or Capital Suites or to one of Iqaluit’s well-equipped B&B’s, each with spectacular views.

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The Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre, located on the beach of Koojesse Inlet is a great location for a selfie with the 2400 pound marble drum dancer, which was airlifted into the building in 1991. Expert information counsellors will provide you with information on “what to do” in the territory and can also deliver an informative tour of the arctic wildlife dioramas and interactive displays on request. Make sure to grab a city guide or download the SikSik App to help navigate the Arctic capital! We also have an Iqaluit Audio Tour if you’re interested?

Unikkaarvik Visitors Centre

Down the road from the Visitor Centre, you’ll find the Grind and Brew Café, which offers something you won’t find anywhere else — their amazing Arctic Char Pizza! After lunch it’s a short walk to the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum which hosts rotating exhibits of northern artwork and a fantastic gift shop, boasting loads of unique Inuit arts and crafts.

Make your way out to Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, which is located about 20 minutes (walking) from the Discovery Lodge Hotel.

The view of the frozen landscape from the platform is something you must see! Look out for the infographic plaques which narrate the history of the original town settlement, including Martin Frobisher’s journey to Frobisher Bay. Make your way through the snow and down to the river to see the frozen rapids then enjoy a hike through the park loop and keep your eyes open for Arctic Fox, Hares and other wildlife that may cross your path.

Looking for a night on the town? Check out a local favourite — Wing-Night — and be sure to get there early there might be a lineup. For real — we take our wing nights very seriously up here! The Storehouse Bar & Grill at the Frobisher Inn and the Legion feature wings on Wednesday nights!

Frobisher Inn

Feeling something a bit more traditional? Try the Gallery Dining Room also located in the Frobisher Inn, the Granite Room in the Discovery Lodge Hotel. The restaurants often feature local fare or “county food” as Nunavummiut call it; char being very popular, and seasonally they have musk-ox and caribou dishes. Iqaluit restaurants often double as a sit-down shopping experience, as local artisans might visit your table with their latest creations for sale.

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Start off your day by grabbing a quick bite and a coffee at the Caribrew Café (Also in the Frobisher Inn). After getting fueled for a day of discovery make your way down to the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. Free tours are available throughout the year by appointment. You can call 975-5000 to book it!

Have you ever been dogsledding? Even if you have, I’ll bet you’ve never been dogsledding on the Sea Ice! Venture out on a Qamutik (traditional Inuit sled, pronounced kah-mo-tick) pulled by a team of spirited Inuit Sled Dogs in fan formation; witness the ever-changing ice walls created by our massive tides (second in Canada only next to the Bay of Fundy) and admire the freedom of Canada’s Arctic as you ingest the sights. When you return home to the dog lot with one of our qualified and welcoming outfitters make sure to reward your new furry friends with some yummy treats and a few doggy kisses.

Dog Sledding Outside of Iqaluit

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Go with the “floe” and take an adventure out to the Iqaluit Floe Edge! This is a full day expedition of a lifetime; make sure to dress warm (arctic clothing can be supplied by the outfitter on request).

Whale Watching

Transportation will take the form of driving or riding as a passenger on a snowmobile or potentially in a Qamutik pulled by the snowmobile, snuggled under some cozy seal skins and/or caribou hides.

You’ll have lunch at the polynya; an area of open water surrounded by sea ice and home to thousands of migratory birds. Lunch could consist of some fresh Arctic Char and piping hot tea made from virgin melted snow! On sunny days when the tide is low, giant ice walls reflect a thousand different shades of blue into the icy open water.  If you’re up for it, there’s time for a quick paddle with a portable kayak in the polynya!

Upon arrival at the floe edge, where the frozen ocean meets the open water, the epic views will make your jaw drop to the snow.  This is a very special sight that few people have had the opportunity to experience; it evokes feelings of being at the edge of the earth. If you’re lucky you might even see walrus, seals, polar bears, narwhals, bowhead and beluga whales, and a variety of migratory birds.

When you get back to town why not some tasty ribs or pulled pork at Big Racks Barbecue. Then possibly a visit to Carvings Nunavut, Rannva Designs, or Northern Collectables and take a piece of Nunavut home with you!


Majestic Fjords and More: Pangnirtung

Majestic Fjords and More: Pangnirtung

First Air, and Canadian North, provide air service into Pangnirtung (pronounced Pang-ner-toung, or Pang as most Nunavummiut call it) daily with an 18-seater turbo prop plane. The approach into Pang, depending on which direction the wind is blowing, can be rather thrilling and the airport is located in the middle of town! The moment you step off the plane you will know that you are in a particularly exceptional place – the view down the Pangnirtung Fiord is extraordinary!

Be sure to arrange your accommodations ahead of time, at the Auyuittuq Lodge (Inns North) or Pangnirtung Fjordview Bed and Breakfast. If you’re planning to hike and have the gear, Piskutinu Tunngavik Territorial Campground is an excellent alternative. The campground is nestled at the edge of town beneath the mountains and features tent platforms, picnic facilities, outhouses and campfire rings.

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Don’t miss the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts (pronounced oo-koo-me-oot), where Pangnirtung’s Inuit artists showcase their extraordinary talents in this unique and enchanting facility. View ornate tapestries woven by skilled weavers in the circular “weave shop”; observe prints celebrating the land and traditional ways come alive through stencils, lithographs, etchings, drawings and more in the adjacent workshop. Browse or buy from the archived print collection concealed in the loft or invest in a famous crocheted ‘Pang Hat’ or woven scarf.

Uqqurmiut Centre

Across the road is the Angmarlik Visitor Centre which features displays depicting the lifestyle of Thule and modern Inuit. Ask the friendly staff to show you how to write your name in Inuktitut, the Inuit language — or enjoy an impromptu tour of the centre.

Next door is the Parks Canada Office and Visitor Centre where you will participate in a mandatory three hour orientation and registration session (Parks Canada recommends you book this 2-3 hour session two weeks in advance. Phone 867-473-2500 or email nunavut.info@pc.gc.ca.) Learn more about Auyuittuq National Park here.

Investigate the historic Hudson’s Bay buildings and the story behind the canon perched on the rock cliff; keys for the buildings generally rest with the Angmarlik Visitor Centre, if you want to peek inside before heading to the Arctic Co-op store or the Northern Store to stock up on supplies for your next day’s adventure.

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Sweeping glaciers and polar sea ice meet jagged granite mountains in Auyuittuq National Park. Established in 1976, Auyuittuq — an Inuktitut word meaning “land that never melts” — comprises the highest peaks of the Canadian Shield, the Penny Ice Cap, marine shorelines along coastal fiords, and Akshayuk Pass, a traditional travel corridor used by the Inuit for thousands of years.

Meet your outfitter at the boat harbour; Peter-owner/operator of Peter’s Expediting and Outfitting or Joavie owner/operator of Alivaktuk Outfitting. The journey to Mount Overlord, at the southern entrance of the park will take about an hour by boat, through the stunning Pangnirtung Fiord (the boat trip to Overlord is offered as a half day sightseeing tour as well).

Arctic Circle Sign

Travel and hike above the Arctic Circle — hikes in the Akshayuk Pass can be day trips or multi-day trips with wilderness camping. Aksayuk Pass is the place to view towering mountains and glaciers. The sharp mountain ridges and peaks lining the pass were created by small mountain glaciers called cirque or alpine glaciers. One such mountain is the majestic peak of Overlord. Another spectacular mountain is Mount Thor where the peak soars 1500 metres up out of the valley floor. At the summit of the pass is Mount Asgard which stands amongst surrounding glaciers like a scene out of Norse mythology and has been the goal of climbing expeditions from around the world. You can also view Crater Lake which is a beautiful, circular blue lake that got its features from the latest advance of glaciers over just over 100 years ago! Travel from the North or South side of the pass to witness the breathtaking scenery of the land and animals in a place where the sun does not set during the summer months.

Take a moment along the way to leave or read a note from past hikers in the guest books located in the cabins. Be sure to take a picture with Parks Canada’s Red Chair at the first cabin, Ulu cabin — and send it to Parks when you arrive back home.

Crossing The River

Hike back to your drop off location to meet with your outfitter at the predetermined time, which you would have arranged prior to departure.

A boat ride to the historical whaling station in the Kekerten Territorial Park will let you immerse yourself in the history of the area and the ride is offered by both outfitters, ask about details during the planning stages of your trip. The park is about 3 hours away from Pang by boat. While there you can explore the historical remains of this bygone era, which is detailed with signage along an interpretive trail in the park. Keep an eye out for whales in the Arctic waters; Bowhead, Beluga and Narwhal.

The chef and manager of the Auyuittuq Lodge feature a tasty and diverse set menu that can include Arctic char from the Pangnirtung Fishery which is located just down the road. Notify the lodge early in the day if you would like to attend the supper hour. The Lodge also offers showers for a small fee, if you plan to make your way back to the campground for the night.

Before catching your flight back to Iqaluit, call on the Pangnirtung Fish Plant for a quick tour and pick up a few fillets of Arctic Char or Turbot to take home and share with your friends and family. On your way to the plant stop by the giant Turbot carving on the pier of the harbour.

Hiking in Auyuittuq National Park requires proper planning and preparation. Please educate yourself by visiting their website here.


Maud Returns Home: Summer 2017

Maud Returns Home: Summer 2017

*Blog Post Re-Posted With Permission. Written by Jan Wanggaard – mrh.

ARRIVAL CAMBRIDGE BAY – Maud crew Stig was the first to arrive in CB again this year – spending his first weeks waking our tug Tandberg Polar up from its 3rd winter hibernation here in CB. All windows are blinded and we insulate her as best we can to withstand the severe winter cold, averaging in the low minus 30 degrees Celsius. Engines are tested and serviced, and all looks good. Well done to Stig and Terje who has all our engines as one of their major responsibilities.

This week Stig and I have had some wonderful early summer days looking over Maud and starting over where we finished last autumn preparing Maud and barge Jensen for the long trip home to Norway, hopefully starting before the end of this summer, probably around the last part of August, when the ice situation allows us to sail throughout the Northwest Passage direction Greenland, that will probably be our next winter stop. Ideally we will arrive Greenland mid September if all goes well.

Our main tasks in the weeks and months to come is to prepare Maud and Jensen as well as our tug for the long journey home. These days Stig and I have cleaned all the straps and ropes around Maud that was used for the lifting operation and Maud looks even better ( if possible) after being stripped. Inside we are still working to empty loose pieces of wood and mud in the front section of Maud around the main windlass. The one that was also on board famous polarship Fram. Still some tons to dig out will keep us busy for another couple of weeks.

Maud seem to have enjoyed her first winter above the ice since 1930. She has rested on top Jensen through the whole winter and has had good conditions for starting her slow drying process. Experts suggest temperatures in the far low minus as ideal for drying and it was not very difficult for us to arrange for that. Specially the surface of the wood can benefit from this freeze drying process to secure as much as possible of the original surface structure of the wood.

I must say it was a warm welcoming feeling to enter Maud again these last days. The temperatures has raised above 0 degrees Celsius and when the sun comes through it feels like the perfect place to be. We can smell the warm wood of the old lady and every day we find new details that makes this recovery story ever more gratifying for all of us.

In a couple of weeks our team will be complete for the summer when Terje and Bjørn arrives. and as July arrives the ice will open around Maud and we can continue our preparations with Tandberg Polar long side. We are looking forwards to another eventful summer with Maud in the high arctic. Many thanks to Travel Nunavut for helping us out to get promotional tickets for our flight up north this time.

As you well know Tandberg Eiendom of Norway stands alone financing this whole project of bringing Maud back home to Norway.

 

Maud can experience the spring melting in CB from above the ice this year.

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Photo: Jan W

Clearing the floor for the big dance.maud-deck17juni17-790x526
Photo: Jan W

And there was light.

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Photo: Jan W

Heavenly ladder close to Maud
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Photo: Jan W

Stig deals with some tight old knots from last years lifting operation.

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Photo: Jan W

The original post and more information can be found here.


Filming Worlds Apart

Filming Worlds Apart

Jason van Bruggen is a self taught photographer and filmmaker based in Canada. His lens has previously captured an incredible Adventure Canada Journey through the Northwest Passage. We are thrilled to share Jason’s latest cinematic poem featuring AC staffer and author-explorer James Raffan, and caught up with him to ask some questions about his craft.

Adventure Canada: Jason, what draws you to the wilderness as a filmmaker?

Jason Van Bruggen: Our wilderness is an endlessly fascinating subject to me. Not only for its beauty, but also for the opportunities it provides us in terms of learning and reflection. As we enter an age of scarcity and climate change, these opportunities become more precarious. As a visual artist, I have a role to play in conserving wild places and encouraging an appreciation for them in others. Not only for their visual interest but for their profound importance. My passion for wilderness locations is decades old and predates my current role as a filmmaker and photographer. My current career choice was informed by a passion for wild places rather than the other way around. A fascination with intrepid travel has spanned my whole life. Growing up, I spent my summers on unsupported canoe trips in the Canadian backcountry, which is probably at the root of it. I have worked in the most remote and austere locations on the planet ranging from the Tibetan Himalaya to the deserts of Iraq, and spent time wandering around in well over a hundred countries. Wilderness travel and exploration have been profoundly formative and continue to provide me with boundless inspiration.

AC: What extra considerations does a filmmaker have to make when shooting in remote locations like the Arctic? How did you prepare? What is the hardest part about shooting in cold weather?

JVB: There are many, many additional considerations that go into shooting in remote locations, especially when travelling with a sophisticated equipment package. Preparation involves fastidious attention to detail, starting with the planning stages. You need to be ready for contingency, for equipment failure (total or partial) and have backups of all the essentials. The hardest parts about shooting in cold weather are pretty obvious — keeping yourself warm, keeping your batteries warm, and keeping your equipment running is always crucial.

AC: Is there anything in particular that makes a shooting location special? What do you look for when gathering footage?

JVB: The light. The fleeting point of confluence at which light, topography, and activity all meet is what yields magic.

AC: Wildlife is notoriously hard to shoot. Is there anything you take into consideration to help get the perfect shot?

JVB: First off, I don’t think I have gotten the perfect shot. In my view, the best way to capture wildlife is to research where you might find the fauna you are looking for, identify a target location, and then spend time there. I prefer to wait in one place and get to know it intimately; this allows me to develop an understanding of where the best opportunities exist. This enables me to find the best light and, hopefully, understand the habits and interests of the animals I am shooting. Observing animals candidly, without disturbing them, is always the most rewarding. That being said, you can do everything right and walk away without a single shot. It’s a crap-shoot like that, especially in landscapes as vast and changeable as the Arctic.

AC: What was the most challenging shot in this most recent project?

JVB: Many individual shots had their challenges, but I think the most delicate part of this project was trying to strike a balance between a number of competing priorities. At the end of the day, this is a piece to promote Arctic travel on behalf of Adventure Canada. It is also a portrait of a friend of mine, and one that I wanted to make candid without being overly revealing. Like many of the stories that I imagine and film, I wanted this to be honest and to steer away from a clichéed interpretation of the North, exploration, and wilderness travel.

AC: Part of what makes your northern films and images so striking is the haunting, subdued palate. Can you comment on how you achieve such a vivid representation of local colour?

JVB: I try and represent on film what I feel when I am in the North. The Arctic, as it lives in my memory, is not an overtly colourful place. It is an eerily beautiful place, though. I see a great deal of photography which feels like it stretches the boundaries of credible human experience in the Arctic. While there are flashes of brilliant colour on many of my Arctic voyages, my emotional memory of the Arctic on most days is reflected in my colour treatment of both still and moving images.

AC: How would you describe the experience of working with Adventure Canada?

JVB: I love these guys. It’s a family-run business with tremendous purchase in the communities we visit and huge respect for the part of the world in which they travel. Those relationships have taken decades to build, and aren’t something that can be bought. The resource staff aboard the AC vessels keep coming back, year after year, for the same reasons that I do — we get to work with great people in amazing places.

AC: What is your dream shoot? Somewhere you haven’t been, and always wanted to?

JVB: Tough question. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to a lot, and get to a lot of ‘bucket list’ destinations. I want to continue to explore the most compelling and hard to get to pieces of wilderness in Canada, and around the world. If I had to narrow it down, I would say all of National Parks in Canada that I haven’t been to yet.

AC: Thanks very much, Jason!

JVB: Thank you!


Jason’s work is focussed on depicting North American wilderness, including the Far North in a manner that is authentic and narrative — building new interpretations of these landscapes. Favouring travel that brings him in direct contact with the frontier and those who inhabit it, Jason’s immersive work seeks to explore these emerging landscapes and capture the vulnerability of the ecosystems and the people who live within them, illuminating a tension between the strength and fragility of the region; the age-old resolve to survive, and the current intention to thrive in places where scarcity fosters incredible ingenuity, resilience, and hospitality. Visit his portfolio online for more information.

All photos courtesy of Jason Van Bruggen.

Blog Post Courtesty of Adventure Canada


On the Land in Cambridge Bay: 3 Days of Adventure!

On the Land in Cambridge Bay: 3 Days of Adventure!

The community of Cambridge Bay is located on the southeast coast of Victoria Island at the western end of Queen Maud Gulf where it narrows into Dease Strait. In Inuinnaqtun “Cam Bay” is called ‘Iqaluktuuttiaq’ because it is a ‘good fishing place’. The hamlet is located close to the Ekaluk River, which is famous for giant Arctic Char.  Cam Bay is the principal stop for passenger and research vessels traversing the Northwest Passage.

Getting to know this region and its people could take weeks, but if you only have a few days…

day1

Soar into Cambridge Bay from Yellowknife with one of our hospitable Northern Airlines – First Air or Canadian North. You won’t arrive hungry; our airlines still feature complimentary in-flight full-service meals! After collecting your two free checked bags, book into one of the Cambridge Bay’s welcoming hotels (Arctic Island Lodge, Green Row Executive Suites, Enokhok Inn & Suites or The Umingmak Lodge Bed & Breakfast).

Stop in at the Arctic Coast Visitor Centre to experience the interactive displays, resource materials and meet the friendly staff, in addition to perusing some Nunavut merchandise.

acvc

Enjoy a leisurely bike ride (the Visitor Centre offers bike rentals) to the east side of the Bay where the Loran Navigational Beacon formerly stood. It is here you will find the remains of Old Town, which was once a small Inuit camp.  From there pedal to the Stone Church which first opened in 1954; the mortar is made from clay and seal oil.

church

 

Try your hand at constructing an Inuksuk on the beach beside the Maud Cairn which was a gift of friendship and unity from the Norwegians, who are currently working to bring the Maud back to Norway on a custom-made barge that towed her home. Don’t forget to stop in at Kitikmeot Arctic Foods for a tour and to purchase some Muskox, Caribou or Arctic Char; what we Nunavummiut call “country food”.

Explore the community by foot under the midnight sun, meeting local characters and carvers working outside on their latest stone creations.

day2

Rent a “Honda” (AKA four wheeler) from Go Cargo Taxi, load up your pack and head out to Ovayok Territorial Park, about 16 km east of town.

The central feature of the park is the mountain called Ovayok (Mount Pelly).The legend surrounding the mountain tells the story of Ovayok, a giant who died and overtime morphed into the mountain. The park offers over 20 km of interpretive trails that showcase the legend of Ovayok, human history, plant life and wildlife. While on route keep an eye out for Muskox, Arctic Foxe and flocks of Migratory Birds.

Ovayok/Mount Pelly

Pitch your tent, enjoy some of your country food and marvel, as you watch the sun circle around the horizon and you capture that famous “it’s still bright out at midnight” shot!

day3

Meet up with a local outfitter Hakongak Outfitting or Ekaluktutiak Sport Hunts, Ltd. for an interpretive tour of the Dorset, Tuniit and Thule archaeological sites just north of town.

Continue by ATV to the Japanese Monuments and gravel pit area for some tea and bannock at a cabin with a local elder for some traditional storytelling.

elder

Now it is time to head down to the shore to catch the freshest Arctic Char in the world or make your way over to “Many Pebbles Municipal Golf Course”, where an ATV is the preferred golf cart, only a pitching wedge is needed and the green fee or “tundra fee” is FREE!

golf