British Columbia

Underwater livestream from Arctic Ocean to be Canadian 1st

The "live dive," organized by two uVic grads, will be streamed from the north dock in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Organizers say it took more than a year to bring the show together

Divers will be able to take questions live from under the Arctic Ocean in Cambridge Bay, Nunvut in a Facebook livestream on Sunday. The project was organized by two University of Victoria graduates. (OceanWise)

For the first time in Canadian history, a group of divers will broadcast live across the country from the Arctic Ocean.

The "live dive," organized by two University of Victoria graduates in partnership with the Canada C3 expedition, will be streaming from the north dock in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut on Sunday. (The English broadcast is at 11 a.m. PT and the French is two hours later.)

The Canada C3 project, part of Canada 150 festivities, is a 150-day expedition from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage to connect people to the country's northern coast.

Divers, who will be wearing two-way intercom masks into the water, will answer viewer questions as they swim around searching for marine life. Biologists will also be available to answer questions from the surface.

The divers will be wearing intercoms designed by Ocean Technology Systems that allow them to communicate to the surface and vice versa. (Jeff Reynolds Photography)

Grads Mike Irvine and Maeva Gauthier, who are also co-founders of the educational Fish Eye Project, organized the underwater show to give people a chance to connect with "the Arctic environment, Inuit culture and cutting-edge research."

"We're going to give people an opportunity to see the unseen, as it were," Irvine said of the underwater aspect. "If you've ever wanted to see the northern coastline of Canada, this is that opportunity to see what it looks like, especially in the area of Cambridge Bay."

He said it took more than a year to put the production together.

"Our whole thing is, 'How can we educate people about the world's oceans?' ... The more people understand their interconnected relationship with these environments, the better informed they can be when they make decisions that potentially impact it."

Irvine, who famously defended his Master's thesis underwater in 2015, said the team will also be meeting with First Nations elders to learn about the community's legacy and pass that knowledge to viewers.

Temperatures in the Arctic Ocean hover around 0 C, although Irvine said it's currently on the warmer side.

He won't be part of the dive team this year, instead hosting from the surface, but he said he's excited nonetheless.

"I love being able to share these different experiences, especially diving, and to be having that conversation. I'm inspired by the environment itself, the exploration and the challenge."

The biggest concern, he said, is making sure the team doesn't forget any equipment.

"There's no electronic store you can just roll into and pick up what you need [in Cambridge Bay]," he said from Victoria before flying north. "It's checklist, checklist, checklist." 

Anyone who wants to tune in to the underwater livestream can watch on Canada C3's Facebook page.