Commencing in August 2018, the Northwest Passage Project will embark on a 22-day expedition into the Passage aboard the state-of-art, ice-class research vessel Akademik Ioffe. Departing from Resolute Bay then traveling south and west to Cambridge Bay via Bellot Strait, the Akademik Ioffe will return to Lancaster Sound and Pond Inlet before traveling down the east side of Baffin Island, with several stops along the way.
Finding a northwest passage, a northern water route shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific, has long been the obsessive quest of explorers and navies. For over 400 years, more than one hundred ships carrying thousands of mariners sailed into the Arctic to probe its waters and trek its shores. A warming climate and subsequent ice melting has opened up the Northwest Passage during the summer months, and it is profoundly changing the Arctic. There is unprecedented global interest in this once impenetrable region and its pristine environment.
The Northwest Passage Project is a collaborative effort between the University of Rhode Island (URI), Inner Space Center (ISC), and the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), the film company, David Clark, Inc., and several other collaborators, including five U.S. universities that are classified as Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Along with the ship’s crew, there will be scientists, education professionals, and students sailing through the Northwest Passage. During the expedition, there will be 15 undergraduate students aboard. The students will receive science instruction as the ship is underway, participate in live broadcasts from sea, and work alongside ocean scientists as they conduct Arctic research.
Onboard participants will also include the ship’s crew, ISC education and operations staff, scientists, historians, journalists, and members of the David Clark Inc. film production team.