Our Northwest Passage Project expedition will commence this week on August 23rd. Ironing out the original concept for the project with my Co-Principal Investigators, David Clark, Dwight Coleman, and Brice Loose took several months. Then we had to write the grant proposal for the project’s funding to the National Science Foundation and wait six months for the news of our proposal’s fate. With only 6-8 of our types of proposals funded each year out of hundreds submitted, the odds were not good. However, miracles happen every day, and we were selected for funding. The ship that was originally scheduled to take our group to the Northwest Passage in summer 2017, pulled out without warning six weeks before departure. This was devastating, but with the help of a second grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation, the increased costs to use a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker were covered. Then that ship lost the function of an engine and would no longer be available. With the help of One Ocean Expeditions, we were able to secure space for 35 of our project’s staff, scientists, and students on their expedition aboard the Akademik Ioffe into the Northwest Passage that begins this week. Our project staff along with our collaborators across the U.S. have worked very hard to plan the research, education, broadcast, and film activities that will take place over the next three weeks. The project has truly taken a village. Many miracles have contributed to the onset of this journey into the pristine Arctic, a critical region of the planet. What is happening in the Arctic is affecting all of Earth’s citizens, and this message needs to be heard. The scientific research is intended to contribute important pieces of the puzzle related to the current climate change scenario. The participating students will have the journey of a lifetime and will hopefully be inspired to continue making contributions to science and society. The documentary being produced and the live broadcasts from sea will provide a bird’s eye view into a world that most of us never get to see. We now pray for safe travels and calm seas!
Part of the Northwest Passage. Map from the Atlas of Canada, Northern Wall Map. https://doi.org/10.4095/289594