Seven weeks into my nine week Into The Arctic: The Last Chapter expedition and I found myself sitting on a desolate beach on Devon Island, along the famed Northwest Passage. I had covered over 16,000 kms so far through some of the most remote and spectacular corners of the Canadian North.
As an artist who came here to paint and film wild landscapes, I have been humbled and blown away at the same time. I relish my time up here one-on-one with nature, but a part of me is keenly aware that few will have ever this experience. That’s why I reached for my iPhone, scrolled through some photos I’d just taken, picked one, and posted it to Instagram, which in turn shared the image to my Facebook and Twitter pages. To those who were following this journey from afar, I’d created another small window through which they could peer into this incredible part of our planet. The response to these efforts is almost immediate, and rewarding.
For those of you who don’t know where Devon Island is, perhaps the magic of what took place isn’t quite resonating. Devon is remote. Land of Muskox, Polar Bears and Arctic Wolves kind of remote. My cell phone had stopped working way below the tree line almost two months ago. Fortunately, I had been traveling with an Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 since the beginning of this journey. It added a large margin of safety to my expedition, where help in time of emergency is often measured in days, not hours and minutes. It has also been a wonderful tool to keep in touch with loved ones while being away for so long.
To post my photos on my social media though, I’d brought along another piece of Inmarsat tech, the compact and revolutionary IsatHub. That photo I posted earlier? I’d sent it through a wireless network that I set up on the island. That’s right, wireless internet network in the middle of the Canadian High Arctic.
Technology has come a long way in the last number of years, some more useful than others. These latest innovations from Inmarsat made my journey not only safer, but more fulfilling, allowing me to take bits of my experiences and pass them along to others, and create greater awareness for the Arctic that I’ve been painting for almost a decade now.
I packed away the unit, and brought my gear closer to shore. My ride had arrived. Picking me up was a One Oceans Expedition vessel traveling across from Greenland, and I’d heard there was lots of food on board! Not a bad way to end the last two weeks of my Arctic journey.
About the author
Cory Trépanier is a Canadian artist whose passion is exploring, painting and filming in raw wilderness landscapes. He directs, edits, writes, hosts and shoots much of his films, which include A Painter’s Odyssey, Into The Arctic, and Canadian Screen Award-nominated Into The Arctic II. His work has led him to tackle challenges few encounter, including a knee-punishing trek on Ellesmere Island with a 120lb backpack filled with painting, filming, and camping gear; ravaging hordes of mosquitoes eating him while painting at the edge of the highest waterfall in the world above the Arctic Circle; canoeing up to an immense iceberg to paint it from the unique floating point of view; and painting Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain, from the Kluane ice fields 10,000 feet from the largest non-polar ice fields on earth – all for the sake of his art. Cory is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a member of the Explorer’s Club. Through his original and passionate vision, expressed through art, films, public speaking and online media, he hopes to inspire others with our planet’s natural wonders.