VIRTUAL EXPLORATIONS > ARCHIVED EXPLORATIONS > ELYSIUM ARTISTS FOR THE ARCTIC
Part 15: Saturday Night with David Doubilet and Jen Hayes
Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2015
After too many days with too little movement, we finally got the chance to get our blood pumping again. We went on an afternoon hike on an island known for musk oxen and arctic hares, and we saw both, along with some stunning top-down views of the expanse of icebergs in the water below us. One iceberg in particular was extremely impressive. It was absolutely massive and shaped like an amphitheater made entirely of thick, luminous ice. When we drove a zodiac into the main, horseshoe-shaped opening in the center, there was an obvious change in temperature. We could feel the cold air pressing in on us as it escaped from the ice, reminding us just how much colder the temperature outside of the berg could have been.
Our hike this afternoon was extremely enjoyable as well. We saw several musk oxen, large, tough land mammals that resemble water buffalo covered in unimaginable amounts of heavy fur and dread locks. They are surprisingly nimble and fast on the slippery rocks and they didn’t spend much time in “shooting range” of our lenses. We also saw arctic hares, stark white rabbits that remain that color all year long despite the changing scenery.
This evening we were all treated to a great lecture by David Doubilet and Jen Hayes chronicling their experience documenting their travels from their home in upstate New York through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Newfoundland. Their ultimate goal was to tell the story of the harp seals that live and breed on the ice there and are regularly threatened by the shrinking ice cover induced by climate change. They shared some of the most incredible photos and stories of sturgeon, grey seals, belugas, and harp seals as they made their way north through this frigid water way.