Arctic landscape photos north of Baffin island
June 10-17, 2014
The sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean is a vast natural highway that allows tourists to explore the polar regions with sledges or other means, among bizarre and spectacular scenery made of icebergs trapped in the ice, deep blue crevasses and drifting pack ice. These pictures are taken during an expedition in Nunavut along the northern coast of Baffin Island, not far from the Inuit community of Pond Inlet, at the beginning of the summer when polar landscape changes quickly under the pressure of rising temperatures and continuous daylight.
Pictures of sea ice taken in early June along the northern coast of Baffin Island, not to far from the Inuit hamlet of Pond Inlet. In such conditions, the ice floes becomes a natural highway where to travel by sledges, exploring this unique environment.
Pictures of ice floe edge. The ice floe edge, the limit where sea ice becomes actually the sea, looks like "the end of the world", but it's also referred as the "line of life" since most of the wildlife typical of the Arctic region, concentrates here. This includes narwhals, polar bears, seals, walruses and many species of birds.
Photos of Arctic Ocean. The Arctic is a highly changeable environment and is perhaps one of the most dynamic place in the world. Sometimes it can happen that a beautiful sunny day changes to stormy weather in a very short time, with wind carrying lot of pack ice. In these photos, the wind has quickly changed the landscape after having accumulated pack ice coming from the north, making the place unrecognizable in just a few hours.
Picture of an iceberg probably coming from Greenland and trapped into the sea ice since the beginning of the winter.
The edge of the sea ice has small blocks of ice piled-up by winds and tides.
The Arctic landscape made by an endless expanse of ice, illuminated by the sun for 24 hours per day.
Walking on the sea ice.
Ice blocks piled up during some storm.
Pictures of iceberg. During winter and into early summer, it is actually possible to hike to icebergs trapped into the sea ice.
A water channel hosting a colony of birds.
Pictures of pack ice. The pack ice is an intricate labyrinth of small ice floes and ice blocks. This condition poses some difficulties in moving, because the ice is not compact enough to support snowmobiles or sledges, while at the same time is too compact for kayaks or boats.
The icebergs trapped into sea ice are probably one of the most odd "geological" features of this environment, and it looks bizarre to get over an iceberg on foot.
By removing the thin layer of snow that covers an iceberg, some blue ice comes out. The intensity of the blue color indicates how compact and old the ice is.
Photo of an iceberg with a beautiful bluish pond at its base.
Pictures of icebergs. During the summer, when the sea ice will be completely fractured, this iceberg sail somewhere else depending on winds and currents, before being frozen and trapped again in the sea on the next autumn. An iceberg so big it can take decades (if not centuries) to melt completely and in the meantime it could travel thousands of miles.
A world made of ice
The crevasses in the sea ice are the result of an immense pressure generated between tides, and they work as a kind of movable joint. Along the crack it's easy to evaluate the thickness of the ice floe and have a look in the dark sea below.
Sea ice and snow covering Eclipse sound east of Pond Inlet.
In early summer, when the snow covering the sea ice begins to melt, the blue colors of the ice comes out, creating a fantastic landscape.
This crack has a brownish color because it is generated by fresh water coming from a river on the mainland, which carries lot of debris. Since the color is very dark, this will accelerate the ice breaking process, since it will capture more heat.
It may look dangerous to walk over ice with melted snow on top, but the thickness of the ice is still enormous and it can support the weight of a passenger aircraft.