Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Arctic Explorer

It seems like only yesterday Morgan was enjoying the British summer sunshine at a BBQ with WhaleFest friends. But it has been almost a month! In the meanwhile Morgan has been on an adventure of a lifetime up into the high Canadian Arctic with one of the stalwarts of WhaleFest Judith Scott and the company One Ocean. An experienced naturalist, whale watch guide and researcher, not to mention super photographer, Judith has worked in Massachusetts, Canada, Norway, Iceland and Australia. Now she and Morgan headed north into the Arctic Circle on an ice strengthened expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe, to Baffin Island, part of the state on Nunavut, in search of some of Morgan’s most northerly cousins! This year the ice in the Northwest Passage was particularly thick, the most in some areas for 23 years. For this reason Morgan and her expedition mates flew into Iqaluit in the south of Baffin Island instead of Resolute Bay which was full of ice.

Morgan amongst the ice of the Arctic

With the ice firmly in charge, Morgan explored the freezing waters around the island and came across some of the amazing creatures that call this place home including Walrus and Polar Bear. In Isabela Bay she saw Bowhead Whale, the longest living species of whale. It is thought that these incredible animals can live for over 200 years! It is amazing to think that some of these individuals Morgan saw may have been alive when Charles Darwin was writing his book ‘The Origin of Species’!

Around the north east tip of Baffin Island Morgan and her compatriots had the most amazing encounter with 150 Narwhal. These whales are unique in that the males have a long tooth that looks like a tusk, erupting out of their lower jaw which can reach 3 m in length! What a wonderful experience for Morgan and her friends with one of the strangest and most wonderful creatures of the marine world.

Young male Narwhal

Amongst the water and ice, in this unforgiving, harsh but wildly beautiful environment Morgan learned that the marine creatures that live here, seemingly so far from human habitation, still face threats from man’s activity. Pollution, drilling for oil and gas, climate change, hunting and whaling to name but a few.

For Morgan though her trip to the Arctic was inspiring, and by telling her friends about it she hopes that it will inspire more people to care and protect this wonderful, fragile and beautiful environment and her very special cousins that live there…

With the Canadian flag

No comments:

Post a Comment