Have you heard of the Sedna Epic Expedition? Seriously, "epic" is the right word for what these ladies are doing! Ten women are on an epic adventure between 2014 and 2018. This summer and next they will embark on an amazing, three-month journey, snorkelling through 3,000 kilometres of freezing Arctic seas. They will scout and document the impacts of global warming both on the ecosystem and on the aboriginal peoples' traditional ways of life.
The Northwest Passage has been previously explored by Vikings, as well as European, American and Canadian explorers. The "sea women" will be using state-of-the-art imaging technology to map the ocean floor; will they find long-sunk Viking ships? In 1834 Captain Sir John Franklin led an expedition through these waters which ended in disaster; their two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were beset by ice and sank, killing Franklin and his 128 men. Will the sea women find these ships?
This is not a treasure finding expedition though. Team Sedna are looking at the issue of disappearing sea ice, and their findings will be made into educational programmes. The plan is that the expedition should serve as a call to action for people all over the world; after all, everyone is affected by this. As well as this, as an all-women team they hope to inspire other women and girls to think "big" and to follow their dreams, now matter how crazy they seem.
The ten women will be supported by a team of accomplished advisers including photographers, Inuit leaders and educators, biologists, experts and explorers. Still, it'll be bitterly cold and extremely challenging.
The women will face -2 degree water as well as changing sea ice conditions, icebergs, gale force winds, jellyfish, tusked walrus, polar bears, orcas and even Greenland sharks. We can't do much against jellyfish and sharks, but we think below-freezing water and gale force winds are just the sort of thing the dryrobe was developed for, and we're really proud to have provided the team with dryrobes for this expedition.
What we love about this expedition is that the organisers advertised for participants using a similar ad to the one Sir Ernest Shackleton famously placed in a London newspaper in 1914. Founder and leader Susan R Eaton posted an ad that said:
Women wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete sunlight, constant danger, safe return hopeful, honor and recognition in case of success.
Who would be bonkers enough to answer an ad like that? Well, actually ten female ocean explorers aged between 26 and 56 answered. They are from Canada, the US, Mexico and New Zealand and will be attempting this snorkey relay of the Northwest Passage. Not only will this be a world record, they are genuinely going where no human has gone before.