Manitoba

Arctic sailor sees melting sea ice first-hand

Manitoban Cameron Dueck has just sailed the Northwest Passage to draw attention to climate change in the Arctic.

Manitoban Cameron Dueck has just sailed the Northwest Passage to draw attention to climate change in the Arctic.

Dueck and his crew left Victoria, B.C. on June 6 aboard the 40-foot fiberglass sailboat, named Silent Sound.

They took the Inside Passage to Prince Rupert then cut across the Gulf of Alaska, sailed the Bering Sea and entered the Arctic in mid-July.

Since then, they have been sailing east, stopping in communities such as Sachs Harbour, Cambridge Bay and Gjoa Haven along the famous Northwest Passage.

Along the way, they have been talking to Inuit communities about how climate change is affecting them first-hand.

"They say, 'We see changes,' and that makes us very afraid," Dueck said in an interview via satellite phone from Frobisher Bay on Friday. "Several people referred to the land as 'our grocery store. That's where we get our food, that's where we get our caribou, our seals, our bear, where we go fishing.'"

The icy voyage would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, but climate change is melting sea ice and changing northern life forever, Dueck said.

"The sea ice is melting faster than ever. In the last three years, we've seen the worst melting on record," he said.

Dueck, a journalist by trade, is shooting a documentary film of the voyage and is using a website called openpassageexpedition.com to pass on the stories of the Inuit. Viewers can follow a live tracking of Silent Sound's location on the website.

Dueck grew up in Riverton, Man., near Gimli. He lives now in Hong Kong.

The trip has taken him 13,000 kilometres. Silent Sound's final port will be Halifax in early October.