They didn't go together, but two men from Sudbury, Ont., now share a life-changing experience: they both spent part of the summer touring and working on ships in the Arctic. 

Musician Kevin Closs worked on a ship that travelled out of Svalbard, Norway. He was the ship's musician, but said he also had a "day job" driving zodiac boats for tourists and acting as polar bear patrol. 

"We did go to Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay [Nunavut], and those were the highlights for me," he said.

"Meeting the people in these northern communities. They are so happy to see visitors, and they put on these amazing presentations their community centres with dancing and singing and country food — that [was the] highlight for me." 

Former Science North staff scientist Franco Mariotti spent August working as a presenter and guide on a ship that sailed through the famed northwest passage to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. 

"Our focus was on wildlife, Franklin stories and the landscape that we travelled through," he said. 

Recalling the breathtaking view of one fiord, "The walls are over 200 ft high, capped with glaciers, " he said. "It was like sailing into a Lawren Harris [Group of Seven] painting." 

"It's kind of the dream-of-a-lifetime experience for a lot of people."

Listen to the complete interview with Kevin Closs and Franco Mariotti here