Friday, September 16, 2016

Prince Regent Inlet
89°05’W
-3°C /26°F
14 knot winds

A 06:30 wake up call announced that a polar bear was spotted on an ice floe off the starboard side!

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We all trooped up on deck, cameras and binoculars slung around our necks. The ship slowly came alongside the ice floe where it stopped so we could watch the large male bear. He was lying down, but got up after a while and wandered down the floe.

In a ridge, he pawed up a round nest of snow and curled up in it. Later, he got up, sauntered back along the floe, and leaped over a couple of water leads on the ice. The ship held her position for about 45 minutes while we photographed him. alongside it was an incredible opportunity to see a bear at a relatively close range. It was quite curious about us too and watched the great beast in the water alongside it’s ice floe.sept-16-9After the bear excitement subsided, Milbry gave a presentation on Women Polar Explorers, which was a refreshing change from the usual stories about  Peary, Franklin, and all the testosterone that wandered around the Arctic. Edna talked about the pre division of the Northwest Territories leading to the creation of Nunavut. After lunch as a pre-Beechey Island landing briefing, I talked about the artifacts type things we’d see on Beechey, and the things we wouldn’t see. For many history buffs on  board, Beechey Island is a highlight as the site of the Franklin expedition’s first overwintering and the base camp for subsequent search parties.

We continued northward through Prince Regent Inlet to Beechey Island. When we arrived at Erebus and Terror Bay, it was so foggy, we couldn’t see the shore. Ice was reported moving down Wellington Channel, so an afternoon landing was out of the question. We would spend the night outside the bay in Barrow Strait.

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The quiet cozy corner on the fifth deck where I like to hang out, read or write.

There was no shortage of things to do though. We were treated to a country food tasting with Lois, Robert and Edna. It was the first time many of the guests tried raw caribou, arctic char, seal or muktuk (whale blubber). Carolyn Mallory offered a water colour workshop, and Julia Szucs and Steve Smith showed their film Abandoned in the Arctic.

After supper, we were entertained in the Nautilus Lounge by Barney Bentall, with special guests Holly Hogan and David Newland. Their music was the perfect wind up to a truly fabulous day at sea.

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About Season Osborne

I am a writer with a passion for Arctic history. After finding a photo of Capt. Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, who claimed the Arctic for Canada in 1909, I was inspired to write my master’s thesis on Bernier’s contribution to Arctic sovereignty. This ultimately led to extensive research into Canadian and ‘foreign’ expeditions to the North, which morphed into my recent book, In the Shadow of the Pole: An Early History of Arctic Expeditions, 1871-1912.
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