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Sedna Expedition

Subject to vessel availability and funding, Team Sedna plans to embark on a historic snorkel relay the Northwest Passage—all 3,000 kilometres of it—during the summer of 2020, navigating frigid arctic seas from Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik), Nunavut, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Supported by an expedition vessel equipped with rigid hull inflatable boats, the snorkelers will scout, document and record the impacts of global warming on this fragile arctic ecosystem and on the Indigenous peoples’ traditional ways of life. En route, Sedna’s sea women will deliver their ocean knowledge mobilization program in Inuit communities, with a special focus on empowering and inspiring Inuit girls and young women, the future leaders of Canada’s Arctic.

Immersing themselves in the issue of disappearing sea ice, the sea women will translate their findings into educational and awareness programs on climate change and its effects on the arctic ecosystem. The Sedna Epic Expedition will serve as a ‘call to action’ for citizens of the world, including youth, providing Indigenous and scientific knowledge in support of science-based policy that governments can implement to mitigate global warming. The Sedna Epic will also serve to inspire women and girls to think ‘big’ and to follow their dreams, no matter how out-of-the-box they may seem…

From Greenland to Alaska, according to Inuit legend, Sedna is the Inuit goddess of the sea, and she’s the mother of all marine mammals. Also known as the sea woman, Sedna will snorkel daily with the sea women during their epic journey through the Northwest Passage. One day, Sedna will take the form of a double-tusked narwhal or a beluga; the next day, she’ll be a ringed seal or a 200-year-old bowhead whale that swam by the HMS Endeavour and HMS Terror, in 1846, during Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Northwest Passage expedition.

But, before tackling this epic Northwest Passage snorkel relay, Team Sedna has been gaining experience in the High Arctic, building relationships and partnerships with Inuit communities and testing scuba diving equipment in harsh and unforgiving arctic waters. In July-August, 2016, the sea women explored Frobisher Bay and delivered their innovative ocean knowledge sharing program—using mobile touch aquariums and underwater robots equipped with video-cameras—to Inuit youth, girls and Elders in Iqaluit. They also conducted Greenland shark research.

In July 2014, Team Sedna mounted a 15-day, action-packed proof-of-concept expedition, which included delivering the mobile touch aquarium and underwater robot program in Nain, Labrador. Traveling aboard the 116-foot MV Cape Race, up the northern Labrador coast and across the gnarly open waters of the Davis Strait to Western Greenland, the sea women demonstrated that snorkelers—using diver propulsion vehicles or “scooters”—can successfully ‘go the distance’ in a snorkel relay through ice-infested arctic waters.