North·Video

Watch 2 divers throat singing while snorkeling in the Arctic Ocean

The two women from Iqaluit were part of an expedition that held clinics in two Arctic communities to raise awareness about ocean science.

Alexia Galloway-Alainga and Kirsten Kownak took their first dives while on expedition in Arctic Ocean

Kristen Ungungai-Kownak, left, Mary Ellen Gucciardi and Alexia Galloway-Alainga on their recent Arctic expedition. Ungungai-Kownak and Galloway-Alainga recently earned their diving certificate and celebrated by throat singing in the ocean. (Submitted by Mary Ellen Gucciardi)

Alexia Galloway-Alainga and Kirsten Ungungai-Kownak recently celebrated becoming certified divers by throat singing while in the water.

The two women from Iqaluit were part of an expedition that held clinics in two Arctic communities in Greenland and Canada to raise awareness about ocean science. They stopped in Sisimiut, Greenland, and Pond Inlet, Nunavut, and dove in communities in between.

Watch Galloway-Alainga and Ungungai-Kownak as they try throat singing while snorkeling

Throat singing divers in the Arctic Ocean

4 years ago
Duration 0:23
Two divers celebrate getting their diving certification by throat singing in the Arctic Ocean

"They did great," said Mary Ellen Gucciardi, one of the leaders of Sedna Epic Expeditions, which sponsored the clinics and first exposed the pair to snorkeling two years ago. 

"It was lots of fun ... They were super keen and super pumped about it," she said. "I was told they had great trim, which means they could maintain their levels in the water really well. They're almost naturals."

Throat singing while treading water is no small feat. The art of throat singing requires controlled breathing.

And, even though the water was open where the team showed off their diving and snorkeling skills, they still needed to watch for icebergs.

Team members on the Sedna Sea Expedition are filmed snorkleing with icebergs in the Arctic Ocean. (Submitted by Mary Ellen Gucciardi )

"The water's pretty cold. But we got to see some really neat jellyfish," Gucciardi said. "With the ice, just to see how much is beneath and how much is above the surface, you really get a sense of perspective." 

Special dry suits make it possible to spend about 30 minutes diving and an hour snorkeling in the frigid water, Gucciardi explained.

"These dry suits are remarkable," she said. "It's amazing how warm you are. You wear a base layer and you wear a heated element that can heat you under the shell of the suit."

Katrina Godding teaches students about the underwater robots in Sisimiut, Greenland. Students assembled and launched them as part of learning about the ecology of the Arctic Ocean. (Amanda Cotton / Submitted by Mary Ellen Gucciardi )

During the clinics, dozens of children showed up near the beach to watch the divers and snorkelers. The children also launched and built underwater robots.

About 20 people in Pond Inlet and 40 in Sisimiut participated in the clinics, Gucciardi said.

With files from Lucy Burke

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