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Sedna Epic Expedition

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“Sedna’s Repose” by Tim Pitsiulak from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, (2011) Etching, Aquatint, 25.25 x 23.5 inches, Edition 50

From Greenland to Alaska, according to Inuit legend, Sedna is the goddess of the sea. And, she's the mother of all marine mammals.

Sedna's father threw her out of the kayak and into the frigid arctic waters, determined once and for all to get rid of his troublesome teenage daugther. Sedna gripped the gunnels of the kayak, and pleaded for her very life. But, her father cut off her fingers and she slid beneath the waves. Sedna's fingers floated downwards, each one magically transforming into a different marine mammal...

Ten Sea Women and One Sea Goddess to Snorkel  the Northwest Passage for Climate Change

The Sedna Epic Expedition's 3,000-kilometre snorkel relay route of the Northwest Passage from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories

Hello and thank you for visiting my #GoFundMe page!

My name is Susan R. Eaton, and I'm a geologist, geophysicist, journalist, conservationist and polar snorkeler based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I'm also the leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, which is comprised of an incredibly talented team of female ocean scientists, explorers, movie-makers, photographers, artists, educators, and polar divers and snorkelers from five countries (Canada, the USA and Mexico). We affectionately call ourselves the "sea women."

During July 25 to August 4, 2016, Team Sedna will conduct an action-packed, 11-day expedition on Baffin Island,  Nunavut, to study the impacts of global warming in the Arctic. Our program is ambitious, and we intend to make full use of the 24/7 midnight sun in Canada's High Arctic!

Everyone knows something about climate change. But, few people are familiar with the term "ocean change."

In the Arctic,  ocean change involves melting glaciers, disappearing sea ice, warming waters and ocean acidification.

Bringing the ocean to eye level for the Inuit

Team Sedna will immerse itself (pun intended) in the issue of ocean change, snorkeling and diving in polar waters around Baffin Island. The sea women will scout, document and record changes in arctic waters. And, they'll also undertake a Greenland shark tagging and DNA program, contributing scientific data to these little-know and rarely-seen deep-water sharks which are second, in size, to great white sharks. 

Team Sedna will visit Iqaluit, a remote Inuit community on Baffin Island, where the sea women will "bring the ocean to eye level" for Inuit youth, girls, parents and Elders. 

Using mobile touch aquariums and underwater robots equipped with videocameras, the Sedna Epic Expedition will introduce the Inuit (who are largely non-swimmers) to the incredible biodiversity that lies below the waves in their back yards, so to speak. Equipping the Inuit with drysuits and masks, fins and snorkels, Team Sedna will also lead the Inuit on snorkel safaris, literally "bringing the ocean to eye level."

The sea women will mentor teenage Inuit girls during the expedition, involving them in all aspects of their ocean educational activities and introducing them to careers in ocean science and technology, conservation, fisheries management, and polar diving as a form of ecotourism.

A warm up, of sorts...

The summer of 2016 represents a warm up, of sorts, for the Sedna Epic Expedition's ultimate goal: In the summers of 2017 and 2018, Team Sedna plans to mount a snorkel relay of the Northwest Passage—all 3,000 kilometres of it—bringing  global attention to disappearing sea ice in the Arctic. En route, the sea women will visit ten Inuit and Inuvialuit communties situated along the Northwest Passage, delivering their innovative, hands-on ocean outreach program and empowering the next generation of indigenous female leaders to combat both societal and climate change.

With your support and generosity, I'm hoping to raise $12,000 CAD (or approximately fifty percent of my personal costs for the July 25 to August 4, 2016, expedition) via my #GoFundMe page.

Just as in Sir Ernest Shackleton's day, polar exploration is not for the faint of heart! Mounting a polar expedition is a daunting task that takes years of preparation and fundraising.

But, Sir Ernest didn't have crowdsourcing 100 years ago, did he?

My Story: Out of Adversity Comes Opportunity

Ten years ago, I suffered a serious scuba diving trauma that landed me in a hyperbaric chamber for three days, ending my 30-year diving career. Undaunted, my up-close-and-personal relationship with the ocean—which had included teaching scuba diving—didn’t end in the hyperbaric chamber…

Today, I explore the world’s oceans—from Antarctica to the Arctic—in the snorkel zone, a dynamic land-sea-ice-air interface where charismatic animals interact with snorkelers.

I've snorkeled with chatty belugas Hudson Bay, migrating salmon in Haida Gwaii, and with charging 1,400-pound leopard seals in Antarctica. During a snorkel expedition to witness the annual narwhal migration through the Northwest Passage, my co-explorers and I became trapped on a floating ice island, precipitating a 36-hour military air rescue off the northern coast of Baffin Island.

In the past five years, I've participated in two science-based expeditions to the Arctic and three science-based expeditions to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Readers followed me virtually, at the Bottom of the World, as I studied the interplay of plate tectonics, glaciers, ocean change, climate and life.

Above: I'm wearing a traditional amautik (jacket) and kamiks (caribou boots) made by the Inuit women of Arctic Bay, Baffin Island, Nunavut.

In 2015, I was was named one of Canada’s top 100 modern-day explorers by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. In 2016, I was named one of Canada's top female explorers, also by theRoyal Canadian Geographical Society. A member of the Explorers Club, I was named to the Explorers Club's (Canadian Chapter) 2014 and 2015 Honour Rolls.

An advocate of protecting Canada's wild spaces and the animals who call them home, I sit on the board of directors of Nature Canada.

The Sedna Epic's July 2014 proof-of-concept

In July 2014, I assembled and led the Sedna Epic's 10-woman proof-of-concept snorkel relay expedition to northern Labrador and Western Greenland.  Team Sedna snorkeled and dived in pack ice, berg bits, near icebergs and in the 9,000-foot-deep waters of the Davis Strait between Labrador and Greenland. Sponsored by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, we ran sea trials with the scooters, achieving distances of up to 36 kilometres in ten hours and proving that the Northwest Passage is within our grasp.

Above: Navigating around pack ice near Torngat Mountains National Park, Labrador, in July 2014. I'm flying here, at up to six kilometres per hour, with "Pinkie," the world's first pink Dive-Xtras Cuda 400 diver propulsion vehicle (aka "scooter").

Left to Right: I'm on the shores of Frobisher Bay, Nunavut, in May 2105, with the Sedna Epic's esteemed advisers, Mary Ellen Gucciardi of Toronto, Ontario, and Johnny Issaluk, of Iqaluit.

In closing, please take a look at the incentives below—I've designed a broad spectrum of incentives to capture your imaginations and to suit your budgets. 

Please feel free, however, to donate an amount of your choosing.

And, please feel free to share my GoFundMe campaign with your networks, enabling me to tell the Sedna story to a larger number of people.

We live in a world where we're barraged hourly with information and requests for support—so, thank you, in advance, for considering my request for support.

I'll be posting updates regularly, on preparations for the upcoming expedition, so please stay tuned...

Some additional links for you to peruse:


Susan R. Eaton
Calgary, AB

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