Arctic Survival with Survivorman

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Survival should never be about fighting against nature.” — Les Stroud

Best known as the Canadian Screen Award winning producer, creator and star of the hit TV series Survivorman (OLN Canada, The Science Channel US, Discovery Channel International, City TV (Rogers) Canada), Les Stroud is the only producer in the history of television to produce an internationally broadcast series entirely written, videotaped, and hosted alone. With Les known as the original genre creator of ‘Survival TV’, Survivorman is one of the highest rated shows in the history of OLN Canada, the Science Channel US and Discovery Channel US and remains the highest rated repeat show on the Discovery Channel. Survivorman is licensed for broadcast worldwide, with ratings in the US hitting 2 million on individual episodes. He has been nominated for twenty-one Canadian Screen Awards (formerly the Geminis) and has won for Best Writer (twice) and Best Photography.

A proud member of the prestigious Explorers Club, Les received Fellow (highest rank) of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Les has received both the Distinguished Alumni award and was nominated for the Premieres award for excellence for work in his field. He contributes to dozens of charities and benefits, is an ambassador for Shelterbox, and is an advanced survival trainer for the Canadian Military Armed Forces as well as sits on the board of advisors for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Organization.

Adventure Canada recently caught up with Les to pick up on Arctic survival tips from the master!


Adventure Canada: What type of special considerations would one take into account in order to survive in an Arctic environment?

Les Stroud: Nothing about the Arctic in terms of survival can be taken casually, but twenty-four hours of total (or near-total) darkness is like nothing else on earth. Yet even when the sun is up for twenty-four hours a day, conditions can be some of the harshest on the planet. It pays to be your own survival shelter—which is to say that your clothing is the first most vital bit of shelter you should consider. The traditional Inuit clothing—caribou hide and sealskin—was and still is the perfect material to be your own kind of ‘walking shelter’.

AC: What’s the coldest place you’ve personally endured? How did you do it?

LS: I happened to be in a place called Wabakimi Provincial Park in northern Ontario when it hit -47°C during a solo survival expedition. A twenty-four-hour fire was the only way to survive such extreme temperatures, along with staying out of the wind.

AC: How does the presence and nature of Arctic wildlife factor into a survival strategy?

LS: There are two things to consider here for survival: danger and food—the most obvious danger being polar bears, for which carrying a rifle for protection is of the utmost importance. For food, everything depends on whether or not you are in a hunting scenario, a fishing scenario, or a ‘lost it all’ survival scenario. The addition of fishing tackle and a good rifle with ammunition and skill would make a huge difference. 

AC: What’s the single most essential piece of gear for an Arctic expedition? Why?

LS: There is not one single piece of essential gear as all situations differ, sometimes slightly and sometimes drastically. Shelter is vital, as is a way to create warmth, but then a rifle for both protection and hunting is indispensable.

AC: What kinds of Arctic vegetation would a survivalist take into account? Why?

LS: The most abundant are the small shrubs and root greens that, in many locations, can cover an entire hillside and keep you fed for weeks—at least in terms of greenery. 

AC: What are the most common mistakes you see people making in the wild—both with regards to their own safety, and the sanctity of the environment?

LS: In a survival situation, panic is the first big mistake. But the overriding mistake that can allow for things to turn ugly is not respecting the land, the wildlife, and the weather. Survival should never be about fighting against nature, or tackling the wilderness. It must always be about going with the flow of the land, being able to read the signs of the environment, and respecting the possibility of what may lay ahead.

AC: What are you most excited to bring to the Adventure Canada expedition this summer?

LS: I have a deep and profound love of nature, the land, our wilderness. My goal of life has always been to re-connect people to the earth. Places such as the Arctic make it easy to boast a powerfully beautiful landscape that can inspire and change someones life, just by seeing and visiting it. My passion for the land will be in full force on my Adventure Canada expedition!

AC: Thanks Les! See you this summer!


Les Stroud joins Adventure Canada’s Heart of the Arctic expedition this summer as a member of the onboard expedition team. Until March 31, save 15% on the berth cost of this extraordinary sailing, and join Les along with celebrated author Margaret Atwood in some of Canada’s most remote and wonderful communities.

Magic Happens

129-EpicHighArctic2012-PhotosByStephenGorman

A guest post by Stephen Gorman

“If you want to take better photographs,” I tell myself, “put yourself in front of better scenery.”

It sounds like a simple solution—a surefire way to jumpstart you photographic creativity—and it is. There’s nothing mysterious about it; it’s utterly practical. You just have to be there, camera in hand, eyes wide open. When you are there—wherever there is—when you are ready…magic happens.

So when I follow my own advice, I spend a lot of time in spectacular places. Places like the Canadian Arctic. I’m a better photographer when I’m in the presence of something magnificent like the Grand Canyon, like the Canadian Rockies, like the Ilulissat Icefjord. In places like these, opportunities to take great photographs are at once bountiful and ephemeral. The scenery changes with the light from one moment to the next, and each scene is more breathtaking than the one before. It’s magical.

This is the magic I know we discover with Adventure Canada as we explore the High Arctic. I want to be there—to photograph the serrated, ice-capped peaks of Ellesmere Island; to see the haunting beauty of Devon Island; to explore the towering ice fields of Greenland.

I want to be ready to seize the moment. Every moment. It’s where the magic is.

Stephen is a professional photographer. He lives in Norwich, Vermont.

A Sense of Place

Nachvak Fjord, Torngats National Park

Guest post by Dennis Minty

“Where do you belong?” A common question in this province. Not unlike “Where are you from?” but with a big difference. Behind it, there is an expectation of a sense of place and being rooted in it. Most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel this in their bones. We don’t really have a choice about it. Nor would we want one. But move one of us to another place on the globe and we can look with wonder, work with vigour, laugh with glee, eat with relish, and mix with pleasure. Then there comes a time when we just have to get home.

We can’t be alone in having this sense of place. I know other people feel it too. I would expect to find it, and do, in New Zealand, in the Hebrides, in the Arctic. Is it something to do with remoteness, otherness, being on the fringe? A bit I suppose. It’s even a little bit tribal, but in a good way.

We don’t own the place; it owns us. Sure its family and heritage and familiarity but there is much more than that. There’s a kind of magical grip on the heart that is bigger than all these things. I don’t understand it fully and choose to leave it as one of life’s mysteries. 

Whatever it is and however it is explained, it exists, in spades. And it is this sense of place that travellers see in Newfoundlanders and Labradorians when they visit. It doesn’t matter if it’s in La Poile, a tiny community of a few hundred with no road access to anywhere, or in old St. John’s, our inspiring, port city, visitors find people who are open, enjoy life, are happy to share what they have, are quick to dance and who love, truly love where they live. 

Then there is the place itself. As a professional photographer, I have been making images of it all my life, and it still knocks my socks off. Give me a soft summer morning with the mists painting the headlands and the mewing of gulls in the background. Give me a breaching humpback exploding through the ocean’s blue surface, forty tonnes of life airborne from two or three flicks of the tail. Give me the majesty of Saglek Fjord in the Torngat Mountains of Labrador with ancient, giant, weathered peaks all around and underfoot, a cushion of brilliant colour. I hear the word “spiritual” in quiet, church-like murmurs. Give me a soaring gannet against a northern blue sky, its wings broader than a tall man’s height. Then the wings fold into the body as it plunges with force into the sea to snatch a silvery herring. Give me the steep roofed salt boxes and the shallow-slopped biscuit boxes, houses built by the hands of their owners a hundred years ago before “vinyl clapboard” and “bungalows” were ever part of the lexicon. Give me the small boats moored in quiet coves and the increasingly rare flakes and stages where fish was off-loaded, gutted, split and dried in the sun by families toiling together to make ends meet.

Travellers can’t help but absorb some of this sense of place. This enrichment can inspire them to think about their own lives and what’s important. Some will bring home a fine collection of images, but all will have a bank of new memories to lighten the spirits as their journeys continue.

Dennis Minty is a professional photographer with a long history of work alongside Adventure Canada. His photographs have been widely published, including recently in his companion books on Newfoundland and Labrador. You can find more of his work here.

Alex Trebek heads to the Arctic

Alex Trebek, widely known as the host of the hit TV series Jeopardy, has a keen interest in geography. Among his many accomplishments, Alex has hosted the National Geographic Bee for years. A winner of the prestigious RCGS Gold Medal for his contribution to geographic education and the popular study of geography, Trebek, who was born in Sudbury, Ontario, is also a noted philanthropist and conservationist.
We are delighted to welcome Alex Trebek aboard our Adventure Canada expedition, Arctic Explorer 2015, as a special guest of our partners at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Says Alex:“I’ve just finished reading John Geiger and Owen Beattie’s book on the Franklin expedition, “Frozen in Time“, and I’m looking forward to retracing some of their steps this summer.  I’m also looking for additional ammunition that I will use to confront global warming doubters”
Welcome aboard, Alex Trebek!

Remembering John Beedell

John Beedell

John Beedell, 1933 – 2014

The Adventure Canada community has lost a dear friend. The late John Beedell was a longtime traveller with Adventure Canada and the father of photographer Mike Beedell, A.C’s longest serving guide & resource person.

John Beedell & Joe Derochie

John Beedell & Joe Derochie

John had a storied life. He competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics for Canada as a sprint paddler and directed the Ontario Leadership Centre at Bark Lake for many years.

A passionate science teacher and outdoor educator, John taught at Ottawa’s Ashbury College from 1968 – 1988.

A tragic accident while he was building a home in 1988 ended his formal teaching career but John handled his disabilities with amazing tenacity and stoicism. He became an outstanding volunteer and patron of the arts, giving his time generously to many worthy causes.

John was fascinated by different cultures and he was an avid naturalist. He had a reverence and sense of wonder for all aspects of the natural world… from a tiny tundra wildflower or a sculpted glacial boulder to a breaching humpback whale.

His journeys took him to the Northwest Passage, Greenland, Spitsbergen, Russia, Mongolia, The Labrador Coast, Nahanni National Park, Haida Gwaii, the Scottish Isles, Antarctica, North Africa, Timbuktu & Guyana to name a few.

He is survived by Ann Beedell and their sons, Michael, Jeff and David and his five grandchildren.

Norway - Explorer 2006 (15)

John received fitting tributes from Maclean’s, as well as articles on CBC.ca, the Ottawa Citizen, and the Ottawa Sun.

Mike’s brother Jeff remembers their father this way:

Allow me to close with one of my own memories – really a picture in words about my Dad’s return to sailing this past summer after 25 years away from the sport. One of our sons, Leslie is a sailing instructor and last summer helped with a sailing program for persons with disabilities at the Pointe Claire Sailing Club. Leslie thought that his Grandpa might be interested in trying this out through a similar program at the Nepean Sailing Club called ABLE Sail. We contacted the program and Caroline the head instructor asked about my Dad’s age, the nature of his disabilities, and said she would have to assess his abilities first to see what level of instruction course he would require before being permitted to take the boats out with just a volunteer companion.

Out we went to the Club on a Sunday afternoon in August – Caroline showed Dad the boats – they use a special Martin 16 sloop with a weighted centreboard, 2 low seats facing forward one behind the other like in the old bi-planes, the main and jib sheets all run to the hips of the skipper in the front seat with a vertical stick tiller for steering. There is a manual hoist on the dock to lift a disabled sailor in and out of the boat.

The short story that day was that my Dad said “well, let’s give it a go”, he waived off using the hoist, managed to roll down on to the dock, and slide himself into the front seat, Caroline taking the back seat, off they went onto the Ottawa River where it widens as Lac Deschenes, and by the time they came back 30 minutes later Caroline certified my Dad fit to sail anytime he wished with a volunteer companion, no sailing instruction course required. And so he did thru August and September.

But the picture I want to leave you with is this – not a photograph, just a memory – of my Dad, John Beedell underway in his Martin 16, low in the skipper seat with just his head and shoulders visible above the deck, the front brim of his Tilley hat cocked up like an old sea dog, a fresh warm breeze, sails trimmed, waves lapping at the bow, a big smile on his face ….. the master of his ship…

Our hearts go out to Mike and his family. John will be very much missed.

The Grand Seduction wins again

BarbaraDoranVeteran Newfoundland film director and producer Barbara Doran is beaming today, after Don McKellar took Best Direction in a Feature Film from the Director’s Guild of Canada forThe Grand Seduction‘.

The film, produced by Barbara Doran had already won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor (Gordon Pinsent) and the David Renton Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor (Mark Critch.)

We’re thrilled for Barbara, whose body of work includes the Newfoundland epic Random Passage, which many of our passengers have appreciated aboard Adventure Canada sailings.

Barbara will be aboard with us once again in the summer of 2015 on our Newfoundland Circumnavigation itinerary. Please join us in sending Barbara our heartiest congratulations!

Treasures abound at Inuit Art Auction

Kenojuak Ashevak - Hare Spirits

Kenojuak Ashevak – Hare Spirits

Join Adventure Canada for refreshments and viewing of this 2014 Waddington’s Inuit Art Auction! Culturalists Heidi Langille and Lynda Brown will be on hand to present throat-singing, along with members of the AC staff and expedition team.

Hop to see you on Sunday November 16 at 3:00 pm at Waddington’s location in Toronto, 275 King Street East, Second Floor. Read on to learn about the art on view.

This season, Waddington’s is offering over 300 works of classic Inuit Art featuring sculpture, graphics and textiles from important artists such as Osuitok Ipeelee, Kenojuak Ashevak, Pauta Saila, Karoo Ashevak, Jessie Oonark, George Tataniq, Judas Ullulaq and many more.

There is a wonderful selection of anonymous works from the earliest period of commercial Inuit art, and a marvelous group of drawings from 1959-62 consigned by the original collector who worked in Kingnait (Cape Dorset).

Elizabeth Nutaraluk -  Woman with braided hair

Elizabeth Nutaraluk – Woman with braided hair

You will discover pieces carved in the distinctive style of the Kivalliq region, such as Elizabeth Nutaraluk’s depiction of a woman with braids.  There is a significant grouping of pieces – perfect for your mantel or curio cabinet – presented in Waddington’s Small Wonders section of the catalogue.

Karoo Ashevak - Bird guarding next of eggs

Karoo Ashevak – Bird guarding nest of eggs

Works in this auction include some sure to be sought after gems like a subtly carved owl by Tudlik, and a laden hunter by Ennutsiak.  Also of note: an extraordinary piece by Davidialuk illustrating the invasion of a threatening spirit; one of the largest sculptures of a solitary man by John Kavik that has yet come to auction; and some graceful and stunning birds by Lukta Qiatsuq.

Osuitok Ipelee - Polar bear with cub and seal

Osuitok Ipelee – Polar bear with cub and seal

In short – there is something for every collector.

Exhibition/Preview:

November 15-17, 2014

Saturday the 15th & Sunday the16th from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Monday the 17th from 10:00 am to Noon

See you at Waddington’s!

 

Michael Crummey’s changing Newfoundland

MichaelCrummeyNoted author (and frequent AC staffer) Michael Crummey is a thoughtful, empathetic chronicler of the changing culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Like many passengers aboard our East Coast trips, Michael has been fascinated by the village of Francois (pronounced Fransway) on Newfoundland’s south coast, as well as other remote communities we visit.

Francois—whose population nearly triples when our ship pays a call— is one of a dwindling number of outports across the province.

Sweetland

Michael’s new book, Sweetland, is set in a fictional outport on the verge of resettlement.

Michael recently penned an article for the Globe and Mail, What it means to be a Newfoundlander is rapidly changing.

And in recent appearances on CTV’s Canada AM, and CBC Radio’s Sunday Morning, Michael mentions his connection to AC and the unique perspective our trips have provided on his native province.

Michael’s insights about the changing ways of life in Newfoundland and Labrador are a boon to our East Coast expeditions, and Sweetland promises to be a fascinating read.

Well done, Michael Crummey!

Michael Crummey will join our Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 24 to July 4 2015.

Dealing with the unexpected

Sea Adventurer off the coast of Greenland

At Adventure Canada, we specialize in dealing with the unknown. Unfortunately, sometimes the unknown gets the better of us—temporarily. We are in that situation now. Our ship, Sea Adventurer is currently sidelined with engine trouble in Nuuk, Greenland.

The problem was identified in late July, and after an unsuccessful attempt to make repairs, we received direction from FleetPro, Sea Adventurer’s management company, that the vessel was inoperable for passenger service. Operating in polar waters, in heavy ice conditions, we always place passenger safety first.

After being given an initial estimate of two weeks for repairs, we have now been advised Sea Adventurer will be back online, in full working order, in time to complete our Greenland and Wild Labrador itinerary in September.

In the meantime, we have had to cut our Arctic Safari trip short, and cancel Arctic Explorer, Northwest Passage East to West, and Northwest Passage West to East. This was obviously disheartening news for our passengers, as it has been for Adventure Canada.

But we’re in the business of dealing with the unexpected. We were able to quickly arrange replacement Arctic Explorer and Northwest Passage trips, and attractive make-up offers for next season to all affected travellers.

Expedition travellers are a special breed. The positive way our passengers are dealing with these changes to their plans inspires and motivates us.

Our customer service team is working overtime to ensure all our passengers are satisfied with their alternate arrangements. And the entire AC team —expedition and office staff alike—has risen to meet the challenge with cheerful resolve.

Ultimately, our clients will be the best judges of how we’ve handled this situation. We hope they will agree we’ve done our very best.

catalyst-swan00sr1

Cedar Swan
Vice President
Adventure Canada
1-800-363-7566

The allure of the Arctic

We’re delighted to be welcoming Dr. Stephen Cumbaa—vertebrate paleontologist, veteran Arctic researcher, Canadian Museum of Nature rep, and children’s author—aboard our 2014 Northwest Passage: West to East voyage this summer. We asked Steve to tell us what excites him about a return to the Far North aboard an expedition cruise.

SC fording river

Fording an Arctic river

You’ve spent lots of time up in the Arctic over the years. What’s the allure?
As a former museum scientist, I’m one of those lucky people who feel as if I had one of the best jobs in the world: being paid to explore remote places and to share my fossil discoveries with other paleontologists and with the public through exhibits, articles, talks and interviews.

My expeditions to the Arctic were particularly memorable; each trip north an absolute adventure. Over and above the excitement of discovering more evidence of ancient life, the clean, clear air, the amazing quality of light, and the remote, pristine wilderness of the Arctic still captivate me.

Undeniably, a big part of the allure is the promise of discovery; the secrets of Earth’s past accessible to those who look a little closer, or walk a little farther. Little is truly hidden in the Arctic. At times the landscape itself can seem almost aware; for example, the feeling of being among the first to set foot in a particular spot is heady, but even those footprints sometimes seem intrusive. The Arctic is vast; the potential for significant discoveries immense, and the number of scientists working there is pitifully small.

What sites/sights are you looking forward to seeing on this particular journey?
I’ve spent several months doing fieldwork and camping in the Arctic islands, ferried about by Twin Otter airplanes and helicopters, but I’ve never seen the High Arctic from the unique vantage point of a ship, and its Zodiacs for shore excursions.

The opportunity for wildlife sightings is amazing with this kind of travel. Years ago I worked with archaeologists from Parks Canada, examining bones and other food refuse relating to Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition and the subsequent search parties, but other than Beechey Island, this will be my first opportunity to see some of those storied localities first hand.

Dialipina

Fossil fish found in the Far North

All along our route there are paleontological localities, such as near Kugluktuk, where Ice-Age fossil fishes have been found; the eastern coast of Somerset Island with its 400+ million year-old fish fossils; Beechey Island with its beach composed largely of fossil corals and other tropical invertebrates; and Bylot Island, opposite the community of Pond Inlet, where the fossil remains of dinosaurs, birds and marine reptiles have been discovered.

In terms of your own work, what are you most looking forward to sharing while aboard?
I’d really like to help give my fellow passengers a sense of the time depth of life in the Arctic, and the way the islands have moved about the globe as a result of what geologists term continental drift.

Today, we think of the Arctic as defined by glaciers, icebergs, seals and polar bears. But four hundred million years ago, most of the Arctic was a shallow tropical sea near the equator; its iconic animals were primitive fish, trilobites, and shelled, squid-like creatures. No animals existed on land.

Between then and now, the Arctic islands gradually moved toward their present location, over time populated sequentially by dinosaurs and birds with teeth, forests with 100 foot-tall trees, rhinoceroses and lemur-like primates, camels, and yes, even primitive beavers. I look forward to sharing these and more stories through presentations and informal chats on board and on our shore excursions.

SC & stumps

Steve with the petrified remains of an Arctic forest

You’ll be representing the Canadian Museum of Nature aboard. How does this trip relate to the work of the CMN?
One of the museum’s great strengths is its Arctic expertise. Our exhibits and collections contain plant, animal, fossil and mineral specimens brought back by researchers over the last 150 years or more, and are still growing.

These are hugely valuable collections for researchers all over the world. Under an agreement with the government of Nunavut, the museum also houses and curates Nunavut’s collections. The museum currently has a big Arctic science initiative, with active field programs focusing on biodiversity and response to climate change in vascular plants, marine and freshwater diatoms, and in my area of expertise, vertebrate paleontology.

Finally, what do you hope our visitors to the Arctic come away with, after their journey?
I think we will all return from the voyage with a sense that we’ve experienced extraordinary places, and learned a great deal about the special nature of the Arctic, its history, its plants and animals through time, and its people.

My own appreciation for and admiration of the Inuit people and their predecessors as well as the early European Arctic explorers grows with each visit to this often-harsh environment.

It’s impossible to see the evidence of rapidly melting glaciers and the tenuous hold that plants and animals have on life there without becoming aware of the fragility of the Arctic ecosystem, the human impact on it, and worrying about its future. However, I also hope our visitors will come back with a renewed appreciation of long-term ecosystem evolution and change over the last few hundred million years. The Arctic, whether tropical or polar in nature, has always been a special place, a resilient place.

This resiliency – the ability of life to bounce back from the severe stressors of environmental change – is clearly demonstrable in the Arctic, and is cause for hope.

Photos courtesy Steve Cumbaa – Canadian Museum of Nature.

Coolest Places on Earth features Adventure Canada

This amazing clip of footage from Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador itineraries is featured prominently in the travel show The Coolest Places On Earth, now playing on TV stations throughout the US.

Part of a half-hour episode devoted to Eastern and Central Canada, the clip highlights some of the amazing experiences passengers can look forward to aboard Adventure Canada’s East Coast itineraries.

We’re particularly pleased to be included at this time, as 2014 marks our 20th anniversary of operations in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a place we believe really is one of the coolest places on Earth!

Coolest Places Logo

 

 

Visit Newfoundland and Labrador with Adventure Canada on our “Greenland and Wild Labrador” trip, September 11-24, 2014.

9 things you didn’t know about Newfoundland and Labrador

Battle Harbour, Labrador - Photo by John Chambers

Battle Harbour, Labrador – Photo by John Chambers

As of the 2014 season, Adventure Canada has been operating in Newfoundland and Labrador for twenty years. Over that time, we’ve learned to appreciate some of the unique, and lesser-known features of Canada’s easternmost province. Here are a few.

1. The Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River, Newfoundland, is one of the most economically successful First Nations in Canada. This Mi’kmaw community places a high value on traditional values, including canoe-building and handicrafts.

2. Gros Morne National Park helped change our understanding of the world. The park’s outstanding geology includes visible protrusions of the Earth’s mantle, and crust, which led to insights into tectonic plate theory and continental drift.

3. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland is the site of the only authenticated Norse settlement on the North American mainland. Now a National Historic Site, the location was discovered by closely studying the text of ancient Viking sagas.

4. Red Bay, Labrador, is Canada’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site. For several decades in the 1500s Red Bay was home to a thriving whaling station, seasonally run by Basques whalers. Multiple shipwrecks from the era lie in the harbour.

5. Battle Harbour, Labrador preserves a classic cod fishing station, with superbly kept wharves, warehouses, ‘flakes’ (drying racks), a working general store, church and houses. Battle Harbour is a living museum of the traditional salt cod industry.

6. Ever wonder what the Wonderstrands were? Two pristine sandy stretches of 20km and 25km along the eastern shore of Labrador are the leading contenders for the phenomenal beaches mentioned by Norse explorers.

7. Rigolet, on the Labrador coast, has a unique place in literature: a fictional, future version of the hamlet (called Rigo), appears in the novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. In our time, the area is a haven for minke and humpback whales.

8. The ghost settlement of Okak, Labrador straddles the tree line – and two cultures as well. The site was home to a Moravian mission from 1776 to 1919, and at its heyday was the centre of a large Labrador Inuit presence in the area.

9. Torngat Mountains National Park in Nunatsiavut, the semi-autonomous Inuit region of northern Labrador, contains Canada’s highest peaks east of the Rockies, framing dramatic fiords. The Torngats teem with wildlife, including polar bears and caribou.

Visit Newfoundland and Labrador on these Adventure Canada trips:

Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12, 2014
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24, 2014

View Churchill polar bears with Google streetview

GoogleBear

Last fall, the Google streetview camera headed north to one of our favourite destinations: Churchill, Manitoba.

The streets, of course, are not the main attraction in Churchill, even for Google. After all, the town on the edge of Hudson Bay is known as the polar bear capital of the world. And the team arrived at the height of polar bear season, October-November.

Mounted on a tundra buggy—just like the ones our guests ride in during Adventure Canada’s Bears of Churchill trips—the streetview camera captured not only the barren wilderness of the tundra, but some of its celebrity residents as well.

Which means you, too can navigate your way around Churchill and the nearby tundra, searching for bears online. It’s the next best thing to planning your trip.

Adventure Canada wins 2014 Cruise Vision Award

CruiseVision

L to R: Shawna Strickland, port of Port aux Basques/Cruise Association of NL; Vanessa George, Marketing Manager for Cruise the Edge; Cedar Swan, VP, Adventure Canada.

On the heels of our twenty-fifth anniversary last year, 2014 marks another milestone for Adventure Canada: twenty years of operating in Newfoundland and Labrador.

And there’s no better way to kick off this season than with the 2014 Cruise Vision Award, “presented to leaders who demonstrate a meaningful commitment to the provincial cruise industry”.

As our VP, Cedar Swan said:

“Each year, we strive to launch new initiatives and itineraries that promote Newfoundland and Labrador as a premier cruise and travel destination and we’re thrilled to be recognized for our dedication, passion and creativity in the region. Newfoundland and Labrador is a guest favourite. We appreciate every opportunity to be a part of the community and are honoured to receive this award.”

2014CruiseVisionAwardThe Tourism Excellence Awards, held recently in Gander, Newfoundland, celebrates achievements and commitments to the region’s booming tourism industry.

Fully half of Adventure Canada’s guests visit Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are proud to have taken a leadership role in bringing travellers to remote outports and hamlets across the province. We’ve helped develp Nunatsiavut, the Inuit homeland of Labrador, as an expedition cruise destination, and shared the stunning beauty of Torngat Mountains National Park.

We’re grateful to some of the region’s finest artists, culturalists, authors and musicians, who have travelled with us and helped us promote Newfoundland and Labrador’s incredible array of cultural offerings. The award is a reflection of the joy we’ve shared.

Newfoundlandlighthouse

Photo: Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador

Visit Newfoundland and Labrador on one of these Adventure Canada 2014 expedition cruises:

Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 2-12
Sable Island, June 12-20
Sable Island, June 20-28
Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24

Visit our trips page to see our full suite of Newfoundland and Labrador trips, including land-based small group tours perfect in combination with our seagoing adventures.

Inspired by wilderness: Scott Forsyth

Scott Forsyth

Inspired by wilderness – including scenes glimpsed aboard his trips with Adventure Canada – photographic artist Scott Forsyth is turning heads with his stunning images.

Scott was named Alberta’s 2014 Photographic Artist of the Year at the recent Professional Photographer’s Association Awards Gala. He also won Best in Class award for both Fine Art and Pictorial photographic work.

Ken Murphy of Calgary, Alberta is Scott’s newest fan. Ken bought raffle tickets in support of the Arctic Eider Society at our Calgary screening of People of a Feather, and went home with a beautiful framed print, generously donated by Scott. The image was taken on an Adventure Canada trip to Labrador.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of Scott’s prints will go to Royal Canadian Geographic Society and to Nature Conservancy of Canada.

If you’re heading to NYC you can catch Scott’s work in the upcoming exhibit Sensorial Perspectives at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea – or click through to view gorgeous full-colour images on the gallery’s website. Congratulations Scott!

Nature's Spectacle Giclee Print 24" x 34

Nature’s Spectacle
Giclee Print
24″ x 34

Dr. Bill speaks for nature

Ecologist Dr. Bill Freedman of Dalhousie University joined his first Adventure Canada excursion in 2007, and sailed again with us Into the Northwest Passage in the summer of 2013. His vast knowledge of the natural world and his fun-loving manner made Dr. Bill a hit among both passengers and staff.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Bill has found time to devote himself to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, with whom Adventure Canada proudly partners. Dr. Bill literally wrote the book on the Nature Conservancy’s fifty-year history.

Dr. Bill’s passion for nature and his clear-eyed, scientific approach are both equally evident in this Global News interview about the NCC’s effort to preserve Fishing Lake, Nova Scotia.

Dr_Bill_FreedmanJoin Dr. Bill on Adventure Canada’s trips to Sable Island (June 12-20 and June 20-28.)

Tamblyn takes up Residency

This just in from Ian Tamblyn, pioneering musician and AC expedition team member:

IanTambltnI have been appointed as artist in residence at Carleton University‘s Faculty of Music for the academic year 2014- 15. This appointment will include a songwriting course during the academic year as well as concerts, production and recording seminars and sessions on music for film and drama. The appointment begins July 1, 2014.

I am currently working on the last album of the four coast project, The Labrador. Many of the songs for this album have been written on Adventure Canada trips. The release date for this CD is set for April 6th with a CD release concert at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec. Other concerts will follow.

Please look at the tour section of my website www.tamblyn.com. A four CD box set will be offered in May.

I will be artist in residence at Torngat Mountains National Park this summer from July 26 to August 3. I will be working with youth who are participating in the camp, conducting several creative writing and songwriting projects.

I have recently released a CD called Connected, a collection of Inuit student songs. These songs were written by the students while on the Students on Ice expedition last summer. You may hear some of these songs soon on CBC radio.

In late December I attended the premier of a wonderful film set on Cape Hope Island on the eastern shore of James Bay. The film is called Nunaaluk: A forgotten story, directed by Louise Abbott and produced by the Cree Outfitting and Tourist Association. I wrote the music for the film. For those who have seen People of the Feather, it is a wonderful companion piece.

(Fellow AC musician) Daniel Payne will be coming to Chelsea Quebec to work on my album. For those interested in seeing Daniel he will be doing a concert January 30th at Paddy Bolland’s in the Bytown Market, Ottawa, January 30, at 7:30 p.m.

Join Ian on the following adventures in 2014:
Northwest Passage, East to West Aug. 12, 2014 – Aug. 28, 2014
Antarctica Oct. 17, 2014 – Nov. 6, 2014

Gros Morne Magic

This year marks a special milestone for Adventure Canada: twenty years of running expedition cruise trips in Newfoundland and Labrador. While we’re often associated with the Arctic (and we do love the North!), Canada’s Wild East Coast is a favourite destination.

The unique combination of nature, culture, history and geography that is Canada’s easternmost province inspires and amazes our passengers time and time again.

Newfoundland and Labrador is also home to some of the most spectacular geology in the world, perhaps most famously at Gros Morne National Park, where the Earth’s mantle—normally found far below the surface—is upthrust to form the spectacular Tablelands.

A highlight of many excursions, the hike up to the Tablelands provides a window into the formation of the planet itself, not to mention a decent workout, and an incredible view!

Visit Gros Morne on these amazing adventures:

Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 2, 2014 – June 12, 2014

Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29, 2014 – July 12, 2014

Follow the bear… to great adventures

BrochureThere’s so much to look forward to when the snow is all around! After all, the light is already returning on the horizon, and that means before long, the summer will be upon us, and we’ll be travelling north once more.

Just in time to inspire your summertime dreams, our new Expeditions 2014 brochure has hit the mail. Many AC travellers tell us they look forward to receiving their new catalogue, poring over the destinations and planning their future trips.

We feel this year’s new brochure is our very best yet, both in appearance, and in the trips it covers: Newfoundland Circumnavigation, Sable Island I, Sable Island II, Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, Arctic Safari, Arctic Explorer, Northwest Passage East to West, Northwest Passage West to East, Greenland and Wild Labrador, and Antarctica.

We’ve got so much to be proud of in 2014. We’re celebrating twenty years of operating in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s wild east coast. We’re visiting Antarctica on the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary 1914 Endurance expedition. And for the first time ever, we’ll visit remote and mystical Sable Island, Nova Scotia, home of the world-famous herd of wild horses, and the world’s largest grey seal colony.

Whatever inspires your travel fantasies, we hope to see you on an adventure in this amazing year to come!

Click here to request a copy, or to view or download a PDF version of “Expeditions 2014”.

For the love of Labrador

DavePaddonDave Paddon, who will travel with us to Newfoundland and Wild Labrador in 2014, has a love of Labrador that goes back generations. His dad, William Anthony Paddon, was the first Labrador-born Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Dave’s parents, and his grandparents, worked with the legendary International Grenfell Association. We asked Dave, the ‘poet-pilot‘ and recitationist about his family history in Labrador.

 

Dave, you come from a pretty illustrious background, but the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. What do you do?

I’m a pilot. I’ve been flying since 1976 and I started out flying Twin Otters and helicopters in Labrador. It’s quite a treat for me to be included in ACs Labrador trips as I get to see my old stomping grounds. Right now I am an Airbus Captain at Air Canada.

Tell us a bit about your family history in Labrador.

My grandparents were engaged by the Grenfell Mission, a charitable organization that provided health care and educational services to the residents of northern Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Dave’s dad on the hospital vessel “Maravel” in 1949, getting ready to go ashore to see patients in Port Manvers Run, north of Nain.

Dad was born in Labrador and, after naval service in World War II he followed in his parents’ footsteps. My Mother came to Labrador after nursing wounded servicemen in London during the war.

Her hospital suffered a direct hit from a flying bomb one night and Dad’s ship was torpedoed so travelling around by dogteam and hospital vessel for many years was fairly mundane for them—although there were lots of adventures.

How did your background and upbringing influence you?

At one time I thought I would follow in Dad’s footsteps but eventually the Grenfell Mission was absorbed into the provincial health service and that kind of life disappeared.

I guess my upbringing instilled in me a strong love of Labrador which I still feel, even though I don’t live there any more.

How do you convey your own roots in the work you do?

DavePaddonsDad

Dave’s dad, Dr. Tony Paddon, with Kirkina Makko.

In terms of my recitations: they are all rooted in my life in Newfoundland and Labrador. I grew up listening to wonderful stories and funny anecdotes while spending time in trapper’s cabins.

Seems like everyone was a “character” in those days and they provided me with a wealth of material.

For example, Kirkina Mukko. She was an Inuit lady and her story is fascinating if harrowing.

As a young girl her legs froze when the fire in her house went out when her father went to try and find food. As a result he (the father) amputated both legs with an axe!

Did a good job I guess as grandfather was able to complete the “surgery” and Kirkina subsequently got married and raised a family.

 

What do you bring of particular interest to AC passengers aboard ship?

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Dave’s grandfather, (Dr. Harry Paddon) feeding his dogs.

As well as my recitations I always look forward to telling people about the people and culture of Labrador and Newfoundland.

When on the coast of Labrador I particularly like to tell people that dad and grandfather covered the same area by dogteam and then to fill in some of the history of my ancestors I find that passengers are genuinely interested.

Finally, it’s Christmas time. Any fond memories?

I have wonderful Christmas memories of the Inuit who lived in Northwest River. They would go around the town stopping at houses and singing carols in Inuktitut. What a wonderful sound!

Click here and scroll down to hear Dave Paddon’s recitation ‘The Christmas Turr’.

 

 

Sable Island, Canada’s 43rd national park

It’s official: Sable Island, Nova Scotia, is Canada’s 43rd national park. We’ve been anticipating this moment of course; our two trips to Sable Island this coming spring have been filling up for months.

Still, it’s nice to see the legendary island with its beloved wild horses, seals, rare birds and plants make The National, CBC TV’s nightly news program. Sable Island is truly a place worth protecting, and we hope people across Canada are celebrating its new status with us.

As the above video report by Tom Murphy notes, Parks Canada and research scientist Zoe Lucas—who has worked on the island for years—are optimistic about the prospect of curious travellers visiting Sable Island under Parks Canada’s strict regulations.

While we didn’t get a personal mention from Peter Mansbridge, we’re delighted that Adventure Canada’s staff, Zodiacs and ship (the Sea Adventurer) appear briefly in this clip from The National on CBC TV. And we look forward to our inaugural voyages to Sable Island next spring!

Click the links for more information or to book your trip.

Sable Island, June 12-20
Sable Island, June 20-28

We’re big in China!

Passengers aboard our trip Into the Northwest Passage this past summer enjoyed the company of an 8-person crew filming a TV show, ‘You Can Be A Star in Canada‘. Stars Charlie and Lydia were as talented as they were charming: Charlie, a professional photographer, did a slide show of his amazing photographs, and Lydia, a singer, contributed a song to the Variety Show on the last evening.

Four episodes of You Can Be A Star in Canada aired in China this past October. Even if you don’t speak Chinese, it’s worth viewing these episodes here: lots of the fun is self-explanatory, and the landscapes need no words.

Episode 1 features footage of the spectacular glaciers, icebergs and ice formations off the coast of Greenland. Glaciologist Greg Coyes is a central character in this one.

Episode 2 features culturalist Lynda Brown and archeologist Lisa Rankin, along with film maker and Arctic expert John Houston. All appear at Qilaqitsok, Greenland, where the famous Greenland mummies were found. Additional scenes show naturalist Ree Brennin, and there are some shots of the back deck BBQ and Hawaiian party hijinks aboard the Sea Adventurer.

Episode #3 is shot mostly in Pond Inlet, including Arctic Games, shopping, and a cultural presentation. Lamech Kadloo, the Inuit culturalist who joined our trip in pond, features prominently. There are also scenes from the Northwest Passage, including Bellot Strait, Dundas Harbour, a Thule house. Both David Newland’s on-board ukulele workshop and Ree’s fish printing workshop also make it in.

Episode #4 features Linda & Lamech drum dancing and throat singing, and there are also plenty of scenes with expedition leader Chris Dolder. There’s some discussion of the explorers and various locations they visited: Dundas Harbour, Fort Ross, Port Leopold, and Beechey Island, among others. And of course no AC program would be complete without Zodiacking, and the polar dip!

Happy Birthday, Margaret Atwood

AtwoodShe’s Canada’s foremost writer and one of the most decorated authors of our time. She’s won far too many awards to list. She’s an inventor, a founder, a visionary, an advocate, and a keen commentator on the foibles of our time. She embraces technology while maintaining an old-fashioned sense of dignity and decorum. And today is her birthday!

Margaret Atwood has travelled with Adventure Canada on no fewer than seven trips. This coming July, Margaret and her partner Graeme Gibson join us for their eighth voyage, on board our sailing to Newfoundland and Wild Labrador.

As Honorary Co-Chairs of BirdLife International’s Rare Bird Club, they’ll be scanning the horizon for the spectacular viewings of wild seabirds that are one of the highlights of the Labrador coast in the early summer.

Meanwhile, we wish Margaret many happy returns, endless flights of fancy, and a glass of fine wine as she celebrates another trip around the sun.

Picturesque Newfoundland

One passenger aboard our recent Newfoundland Circumnavigation had an amazing story to tell. Keen photographer John Chambers had earned his passage with a picture.

That’s right: John was the winner of the 2012 edition of Photolife‘s annual photo contest, “The World We Live In” in the Amateur category. You may have seen his extraordinary Arctic wolf portrait on the cover of the contest issue of the magazine – it’s sublime.

John was an enthusiastic traveller, leaping at every opportunity to grab great shots. He was kind enough to share some of his favourites with us here.

St. John's is a beautiful and fascinating city, one of North America's oldest.

St. John’s is a beautiful and fascinating city, one of North America’s oldest.

Rock formations south of St. John's near Bay Bulls are spectacular.

Rock formations south of St. John’s near Bay Bulls are spectacular.

Fogo Island was once considered one of the four corners of the Earth.

Fogo Island was once considered one of the four corners of the Earth.

The restored fish station at Battle Harbour is a national treasure.

The restored fish station at Battle Harbour is a national treasure.

Reconstructed Viking sod house, circa 1000 A.D.

Reconstructed Viking sod house, c. 1000 A.D. at L’Anse Aux Meadows.

Castle Island off the Labrador coast is famed for its columnar basalt.

Castle Island off the Labrador coast is famed for its columnar basalt.

Saddle Island, at Red Bay, once housed a Basque whaling station.

Saddle Island, at Red Bay, once housed a Basque whaling station.

Spruce stacked to dry in traditional fashion.

Spruce stacked to dry in traditional fashion in Red Bay, Labrador.

Gros Morne National Park is considered 'The Galapagos of Geology'

Gros Morne National Park is considered ‘The Galapagos of Geology’

The tiny outport of Francois is only accessible by boat.

The tiny outport of Francois is only accessible by boat.

The Sea Adventurer proudly flies the AC flag.

The Sea Adventurer proudly flies the AC flag.

Tiny St. Pierre preserves the culture and heritage of France.

Tiny St. Pierre preserves the culture and heritage of France.

The easternmost point in Canada.

The easternmost point in Canada, Cape Spear.

St. John's features one of the world's great ocean harbours.

St. John’s features one of the world’s great ocean harbours.

Enter this year’s edition of The World We Live In, sponsored by Adventure Canada, and you too could win one of many spectacular prizes.

Adventure Canada supports the Century Project

John Carrick was Matthew and Bill Swan's Grand Uncle, killed at age 23, April 9, 1917, most likely at Vimy Ridge.

John Carrick was Matthew and Bill Swan’s great uncle, killed at age 23, April 9, 1917, most likely at Vimy Ridge.

In 2004 Adventure Canada’s founding Directors, Bill and Matthew Swan toured Normandy during the 60th commemorative of the D-Day Landings. It was a personal family journey and a powerful event that led to a return to France the next year with a group of Adventure Canada travellers.

The experience left Bill with a desire to extend the opportunity to include Canadian youth. Ten years later, the century mark of the start of the First World war presents such an opportunity. Bill conceived and proposed the Century Project and Adventure Canada quickly jumped onboard as a primary supporter.

The Century Project is the design of a group of teachers, citizens and passionate community leaders from the Columbia Valley, British Columbia, who have joined together to structure a program that honours the transformative period of World War I. The vision is to use the magnitude of the cultural shift of the early 1900’s to help today’s youth examine their values and appreciate the issues they may face in their lifetime. The project also aims to inspire our community to look at the profound questions of today.

The Century Project currently entails a yearlong commemorative action plan in collaboration with community groups and David Thompson Secondary School. Grade 12 students will be immersed in historical and literary curricula that emphasize personal narrative, community involvement, project-based activities and applied learning opportunities.

Proposed events include hosting a notable speaker series; participating in Remembrance Day observances; touring local and regional museums; working with military resources to offer an interpretive simulation of the experience of soldiers; creating an anthology of local stories, biographies and responses to the war; and travelling to Europe in 2014 to visit war monuments, battlefields and meet with European youth.

Adventure Canada invites your support as we in turn support the aims of the Century Project as it seeks to affect the interests, skills, values and aspirations of Canadians—and more importantly the young citizens of the future.