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-1.8 Degrees C Waters and Icebergs Travelling the Nain Coast

Ruby1168lAfter an evening acclimatising to the MV Cape Race, our 116-foot Canadian-built expedition vessel, we awoke on Day Two to a calm bay north of Nain, which was perfect for practicing and testing our diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) or our snazzy underwater scooters. Hot pink, rich red, glossy grey, broken black and bright blue, each has a unique personality and mind of her own.

We weighted each scooter—to render them neutrally buoyant— and we learned how to connect the batteries, which were not the easiest. Team Sedna’s ten sea women performed as a team, focusing on the task at hand—to mount snorkel relays using DPVs in unforgiving arctic waters, which can reach -1.8 degrees C. For some of us, this was the first time travelling on scooters; for others, it was the first time using this brand of scooters in arctic waters that can approach -1.8 C degrees. But by mid-afternoon, we were all driving these little bullets of joy through the water column, and even trying new tricks like towing each other along.

Then it was time to pull up the anchor and head north along the Labrador coast. The pack ice that had previously prohibited us from landing ashore had dispersed slightly, and we motored for the Torngat Mountains and Hebron, an abandoned German Moravian settlement with millennia of aboriginal occupation. We toured the settlement with two archaeologists and an Inuit guide, marvelling at how these people had survived in such a harsh environment.

Becky1175lWe departed Hebron, continuing north along the Labrador coast— the vessel rocked and rolled during our transit, and we awoke, the next morning, to the sighting of our first iceberg. Not just any iceberg: My first iceberg. Hopefully the first of many! The contrast of a white half pipe shaped ramp of ice in the foreground, set against the grainy barren rock outcrops on the landward side, ancient brown limestone with an iron-rich stripe sandwiched through the middle, was just spectacular.

It’s so remote here that it feels like we’re in another time and place. There are no more trees—just rocks and some lichen and snow. It’s hard to believe that this majestic place lies covered in ice and seeped in darkness for most of the year, and I’m honoured to witness northern Labrador during its finest months. What energy all these little plants must feel right now and what opportunities the animals must be making of this almost 24/7 sunlight. They seem to be making the most of their short time here, and I’m inspired to do the same.

We approached Hebron, just before lunch, and I was drawn to a white pencil line along the horizon that seemed to underline the mountains, separating them from the sea. From my initial viewpoint, the thin pencil line seemed to be another trick of the horizon on the mind. Ice. A sea of ice lay before us. I couldn’t help but wonder, what does it hold?

Where Was Team Sedna?

Coordinates: +58° 29′ 26.7714″,-62° 40′ 6.456″

Posted By:

Emily Dowding-Smith
Assistant Expedition Leader
2014-2016 Sedna Epic Expedition

Date: July 15-16, 2014

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